TVM Life Science Ventures VII Announces Investment in Esperas Pharma Inc.

MONTRÉAL, April 13, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - TVM Life Science Ventures VII today announced the fund's seventh investment, a co-investment with the Fonds de solidarité FTQ (the "Fonds") – establishing Esperas Pharma Inc., a company based in Montréal, Québec. Esperas Pharma Inc. plans to develop, to proof-of-concept, a compound originally discovered through one of Eli Lilly and Company's (Lilly) research and development programs, with the potential to treat certain types of cancers including triple negative breast cancer.  

"The management team of Esperas Pharma Inc. is delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with the TVM Capital Life Science team to develop a biopharmaceutical asset to clinical proof-of-concept," said Caroline Fortier, CEO of Esperas Pharma Inc.

"This direct investment by the Fonds de solidarité FTQ shows our desire to bring to Québec the economic benefits of new partnering models between funds, large pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies," said Alain Denis, Senior Vice-President, New Economy of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

Esperas will be initiating the first human dose study in multiple types of cancers. Cohort expansions are planned in several different tumors, including triple negative breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) refers to a tumor type that is negative for the receptors for progesterone and estrogen as well as being negative for Her2/Neu making this type of tumor particularly difficult to treat. TNBC constitutes about 10-20% of all breast cancers which, in the U.S., is the most common cancer amongst women. According to breastcancer.org (March 2015), one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer with more than 232,000 new cases per year. In addition to TNBC, Esperas Pharma will explore the development of this anti-cancer agent in other solid tumor types that continue to be poorly served by currently approved treatments.

"TVM Capital Life Science is proud to have enabled the creation of Esperas Pharma Inc., and to have secured the rights to a compound that specifically inhibits cancer cell division or unchecked proliferation. This transaction is a testament to the benefits of our investment model," said Dr. Luc Marengere, Managing Partner with TVM Capital Life Science. "Furthermore, we are pleased to collaborate with Caroline Fortier and Mark Cipriano, who will act as CEO and CFO respectively for Esperas Pharma Inc. Caroline has had a longstanding career in the life science industry; Mark is a well-known CFO in the industry."

This is the seventh investment for TVM Life Science Ventures VII, a venture capital fund domiciled in Montréal, Québec, which follows a new, capital-efficient investment approach to developing pharmaceutical assets to human proof-of-concept in single-asset companies. TVM Life Science Ventures VII is a unique collaboration between TVM Capital Life Science and Lilly to finance and access innovation beyond Lilly's walls and as a way to manage risk and share reward.

Esperas Pharma Inc. will leverage its extensive product development expertise to potentially bring its asset to human proof-of-concept. If and when proof-of-concept is reached, Lilly will have an opportunity to acquire the molecule.

"TVM Life Science Ventures VII is an important part of our strategy as we strive to identify, access, and shape innovation in areas of unmet medical need, like oncology," said Darren Carroll, Lilly's senior vice president of corporate business development. "Lilly's alternative risk-sharing approach has allowed us, together with other investors, to support the creation of project-focused companies, speeding the delivery of timely valued medicines to patients who are waiting."

"Beyond its investment in the fund, Lilly's relationship with TVM Capital Life Science makes its clinical-development expertise available to the resulting project-focused companies, including Esperas Pharma Inc., which will support these companies' efficiency and cost-effectiveness in reaching clinical proof-of-concept," said Dr Luc Marengere.

References

About TVM Capital Life Science
TVM Capital Life Science is providing venture capital to the international pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries with more than 25-years of transatlantic investment track record and in excess of US$1.1bn under management. The life science team boasts more than 120 investments and almost 90 exits in the last 25 years, including more than 40 initial public offerings on all major U.S. and European stock exchanges, and combines long-standing international investment and company building experience with their track record of dedicated board work, extensive global networks in the world of life science research and product development and a direct knowledge of the local markets. TVM Capital Life Science currently invests from its 7th fund generation, TVM Life Science Ventures VII, with an integrated team of investment professionals. Fund generations III to VI are managed by Managing Partners, Dr. Helmut M. Schühsler and Dr. Hubert Birner out of the Munich office. The new fund TVM LSV VII is advised by Dr. Hubert Birner and Dr. Luc Marengere out of Montreal.
www.tvm-capital.com or www.tvm-lifescience.com

About TVM Capital
TVM Capital is a group of globally acting venture capital and private equity firms with an operating track record of 30 years. Investment teams have financed more than 250 emerging companies across several industries since 1984. During the last 15 years the firm has become increasingly specialized in the most attractive and high-growth verticals in the broader healthcare markets, with focus areas in financing innovative products and technologies in the European and U.S. biopharmaceutical and medical device markets, as well as healthcare services in the Middle East and India. TVM Capital funds operate globally with dedicated Life Science venture capital funds advised by group members TVM Life Science Management in Montréal and TVM Capital in Munich, and its healthcare private equity fund managed by TVM Capital MENA out of Dubai.
www.tvm-capital.com

About the Fonds de solidarité FTQ
With net assets of $10.5 billion as at November 30, 2014, Fonds de solidarité FTQ (www.fondsftq.com) is a development capital fund that calls on the savings of Quebecers to help drive economic growth in the province. It partners with over 2,450 businesses, either directly or through members of its network, and its investments in all spheres of activity serve to create and safeguard over 172,000 private sector jobs. Over 600,000 shareholders are invested in the fund

About Esperas Pharma Inc.
Esperas Pharma Inc. is a special purpose company created to develop one compound to proof-of-concept. The project is fully financed by TVM Life Science Ventures VII and Fonds de solidarité FTQ (the "Fonds"). To date, the biopharmaceutical asset has completed GLP toxicology studies. Esperas Pharma Inc. plans to begin clinical development as early as Q1-2016. Once cleared for clinical development by regulatory authorities, the Esperas Pharma Inc. compound will be tested directly alone and in combination with gemcitabine in women with triple-negative breast cancer. Later on, the compound may be tested in one of a number of additional cancer indications with the goal of providing a clinical proof-of-concept of efficacy for cancer patients. Esperas Pharma Inc. is funded by TVM Life Science Ventures VII and the Fonds, and is led by an experienced management team.

This press release contains forward-looking statements about TVM Life Science Ventures VII and Lilly's investment in a pre-clinical stage compound for the treatment of certain types of cancers that is being developed by Esperas Pharma Inc. It reflects Lilly's and TVM's current beliefs; however, as with any such undertaking, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in the process of drug development. There is no guarantee Lilly will realize the expected benefits of the transaction, that the product will receive regulatory approval, or if approved, would be commercially successful. For further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, please see Lilly's latest Forms 10-Q and 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies undertake no duty to update forward-looking statements.

General Partner
TVM Life Science Ventures VII (GP) Ltd.
11-15 Seaton Place,
St Helier, Jersey
JE4 0QH, Channel Islands

Investment Advisor
TVM Life Science Management Inc.
2 Place Alexis Nihon, Suite 902
3500 Blvd De Maisonneuve West, Westmount,
Montréal, QC H3Z 1X5 Canada

 

SOURCE Fonds de solidarité FTQ

For further information: Dr. Luc Marengere, Managing Partner, TVM Capital Life Science: marengere@tvm-capital.com, Phone: 514-931-4111; Dr. Hubert Birner, Managing Partner, TVM Capital Life Science: birner@tvm-capital.com, Phone: 514-931-4111; Caroline Fortier, CEO, Esperas Pharma Inc.: mailto:caroline.fortier@esperasinc.com; Patrick McQuilken, Senior Advisor, Media Relations and Communications, Fonds de solidarité FTQ: pmcquilken@fondsftq.com, Phone: 514-850-4835


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