MONTREAL, QC– Venture capital fund AmorChem has launched its second spin-off company, SemaThera.
The new Montreal-based biotech company is focused on developing novel SEMA 3A TRAP inhibitors for the treatment of various retinopathies, including diabetic macular edema (DMA). The company is currently testing different SEMA 3A biological TRAPs for intravitreal administration. Development of these TRAPS could result in either stand-alone therapy or as adjunct to current therapeutic strategies to more effectively counter diabetic retinopathies.
AmorChem has transferred all rights to the SEMA 3A technology to SemaThera, along with a first seed investment of $1 million. SemaThera also signed an exclusive, worldwide, license with Univalor on a series of SEMA 3A TRAP inhibitors to be developed and used in various retinopathies and other non-ocular inflammatory diseases.
SemaThera says they will use the capital to select its lead candidate.
The SEMA 3A technology emerged from the laboratory of Dr. Przemyslaw Sapieha, at the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR, CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal), who identified SEMA 3A as a novel target for ocular diseases. He discovered that SEMA 3A promotes vascular leakage and contributes to diabetes-related macular edema. His work also identified increased levels of SEMA 3A in the early stages of DME in a mouse model, while VEGF levels remained as low as levels observed in non-diabetic controls.
Dr. Saphiea has been named chief scientific officer of the company, while Dr. Maxime Ranger will step in as CEO.