KisoJi Biotechnology completed a significant Series A round to advance its program to create best-in-class drugs based on its novel nanobody platform. SoundBite Medical Solutions, named 2018 Company of the Year by Anges Québec, raised an important Series A financing to further develop its novel shockwave technology to treat coronary and peripheral arterial disease. Zucara Therapeutics, a diabetes life sciences company developing a once-daily therapeutic to prevent hypoglycemia, raised funds from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, among others.
Investing in life sciences can be high-risk, so Accel-Rx’s proprietary screening and investment model aims to ‘de-risk’ young companies that have better-than-average prospects for success. It provides funding and knowledge to help direct them down the right path from being a privately funded seed stage company to an investor-ready one that will attract public and venture capital.
“These three companies have overcome one of the greatest survival challenges facing early stage start-ups: securing follow-on funding that will allow them to grow further and commercialize,” says Accel-Rx president and CEO Natalie Dakers. “It is a testament to the promise of their technologies – and of the investor confidence they’ve built.”
She adds, “Accel-Rx is one of the few organizations with a national mandate to help companies break through from seed stage to become ‘investor-ready’. Without this kind of support, there’s no telling how many medical breakthroughs are lost simply because a promising company didn’t have the resources to go on. It is critical that we continue to support these young companies, to ensure they have a place to grow and thrive here at home and to bolster Canada’s ability to succeed in highly competitive global health sciences markets.”
Since its inception in 2014, Accel-Rx has screened over 200 early-stage companies across Canada, selecting nine for investment. Accel-Rx’s has attracted $38.25 million in co-investment, leveraging its initial investments by 8.5X. Further, the average seed round size for Accel-Rx portfolio companies is over $4.7 million, nearly double the average size of Canadian seed-stage financings in health sciences.
“We are proud of the fact that we have been able to build strong syndicates for our companies and increase the size of the seed round,” says Ms. Dakers. “It provides companies with a proper runway and higher level of focus on deliverables that will get them to the next real inflection point investors are looking for in a Series A raise.”
Accel-Rx goes above and beyond just financing companies. They regularly hold top-tier investment forums and networking/educational events as well as CEO roundtables. They also launched the Accel-Rx Mentor Program (AMP) in 2018, which is a national mentor program that matches a team of seasoned industry executives with early-stage startups. The initiatives are all part of the company’s Growth Platform, which adopts a customized approach for each portfolio company to ensure investor-readiness.