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Wednesday, June 7 2023
Press release

Neomabs Biotechnologies, a company dedicated to developing new immunotherapies for cancer treatment launches in Montreal

MONTRÉAL, June 7, 2023 - Developing new generations of immunotherapies to treat currently incurable pediatric leukemia is the mission of Neomabs Biotechnologies, a new Montreal-based biotechnology company specializing in the discovery and development of innovative oncology therapies.

The creation of Neomabs, the result of a strategic and innovative partnership between key players in the life sciences ecosystem, was made possible thanks to a $2M pre-seed funding led by Theodorus, with the participation of the Fonds d’investissement Eurêka. Neomabs also has partnerships with CQDM, Immune Biosolutions and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre.

Neomabs Biotechnologies is developing therapeutic antibodies against novel targets, called neoantigens, for acute pediatric leukemia. The mortality rate for children affected by pediatric leukemia is currently twenty to thirty percent. The discovery of these neoantigens was made possible thanks to the expertise of researcher Étienne Caron, his associate Isabelle Sirois, and hematologist and clinician-researcher Dr. Sonia Cellot, at CHU Sainte-Justine. Étienne Caron who is also an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at Université de Montréal, uses high-performance proteomics, immunopeptidomics and computational mass spectrometry methods coupled with a unique biobank of leukemia specimens, patient-derived xenografts and artificial human leukemia models piloted by Dr. Cellot. This combined expertise provided the basis for the antibody development by Neomabs.

Neomabs Biotechnologies has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for the neoantigens identified at the CHU Saint-Justine Research Centre with Axelys, the CHU Sainte-Justine's partner in managing and commercializing its intellectual property assets.

"We are very excited about launching this new company in Montreal," said Patricia Escoffier, Principal at Theodorus. "This is the culmination of a unique partnership between Theodorus and CQDM, launched in 2021 with the objective of identifying innovative research programs in the development of new therapies and accelerating their commercialization by creating new life sciences companies in Quebec. We are proud to lead this round of funding and to have a role in a unique partnership that will create a real business opportunity for this promising technology." 

“The Fonds Eurêka was created to support the development of innovative technology companies like Neomabs at the pre-startup stage. We are proud to support promising startups in the life sciences and other key economic sectors that are developing new technologies through close collaboration with industry partners” said Benoit Leroux, President of the Fonds d’investissement Eurêka.

“The Fonds Eurêka is a driver for young and innovative tech companies such as Neomabs Biotechnologies that are working to improve Quebecers’ well-being. By supporting the creation of companies like these, we are facilitating the emergence of new therapies stemming from our public research facilities, which will have a real impact on people’s health,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister Responsible for Montreal and the Metropolitan Region.

Dr. Jacques L. Michaud, Research Director at CHU Sainte-Justine, stated: "The CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre is happy to contribute actively, through its academic and clinical excellence, to the emergence of this new partnership model dedicated to transforming the course of treatment of children with cancer."

"We are proud to join this unique group of partners to support the growth of Neomabs and to accelerate the development of new therapies to combat pediatric cancers," said Jesse Paterson, Senior Director, Business Development at CQDM. This is an excellent example of how CQDM supports the development of a strong Quebec life sciences ecosystem by bringing together the right partners and the most promising innovations.

"This strategic partnership with Neomabs will identify the next generation of therapeutic antibodies to treat pediatric leukemias. With our shared passion and resources, we believe we can improve the quality of life for young patients and their families," said Luc Paquet, President and CEO of Immune Biosolutions and Chair of the Board of Directors of Neomabs.

"Neomabs is an excellent example of the quality of the Quebec biotechnology ecosystem whose creation, growth and maturation Axelys wants to support, in order to create leaders offering therapies for patients suffering from serious diseases who are often without therapeutic alternatives," said Catherine Gagnon, Vice President, Business Development and Investments of Axelys.

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About Theodorus
Theodorus is a venture capital fund dedicated to early-stage investments in the life sciences. The fund invests primarily in biotechnology, medical technology and healthcare technology companies that have developed disruptive innovations. In addition to its financial role, Theodorus is actively involved in developing its portfolio companies and seeing them through to success. Today, Theodorus manages over $100 million in assets that have supported more than 40 businesses. Theodorus has offices in Montreal and Brussels.

About the Fonds d’investissement Eurêka
The Fonds d’investissement Eurêka is funded by the Government of Québec, through the Fonds du Développement Économique du Québec, and is managed and administered by Investissement Québec.

About the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre 
The CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre is a leading mother-child research institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. The Centre is focused on the discovery of innovative prevention methods, less intrusive and more effective treatments and promising avenues for personalized medicine. It brings together some 280 researchers, of which more than 140 are clinical researchers, as well as over 550 graduate and post-doctoral students. The Centre is an integral part of CHU Sainte-Justine, the largest mother-child centre in Canada. recherche.chusj.org 

About CQDM
CQDM is a biopharmaceutical research consortium whose mission is to fund the development of innovative technologies and tools that accelerate the discovery and development of safer and more effective drugs. We bring together world-class pharmaceutical organizations, Canadian biotech companies, the best researchers from the public and private sectors, as well as the governments of Canada and Quebec. CQDM's collaborative approach closes the gap in the funding needed to drive innovation in the academic and private sectors, particularly in early-stage research. For more information, please visit https://cqdm.org/ and the CQDM pages on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Immune Biosolutions
Immune Biosolutions is a company that uses the unique properties of the avian immune system to generate novel antibodies for the development of new immunotherapies, especially for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Building external partnerships is integral to Immune Biosolutions' strategic development. The company is located in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. immunebiosolutions.com

About Axelys
Axelys is an organization that focuses on the development and transfer of innovations stemming from public research in Quebec. It contributes to the economic and social prosperity of Quebec by accelerating the maturation and deployment of inventions, expertise and high-potential processes into innovations that will have the capacity to improve the world we live in. Axelys also contributes to the creation of scientific companies spun off from public research. For more information: www.axelys.ca

For information

Media Contact:

Patricia Escoffier
514 243-6164

Justine Mondoux-Turcotte 
Advisor - Media Relations and External Relations 
CHU Sainte-Justine 
514 345-7707

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Updated on 6/6/2023
Created on 6/6/2023
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