Ontario Investment in Biotech Pays Off

Toronto-based Affinium sold to Swiss Biopharmaceutical Company

TORONTO, April 7, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario's investment in new medicines to fight dangerous infections has paid off, the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC) announced today.

The corporation is receiving $19 million -- more than three times its initial investment in Affinium Pharmaceuticals. The firm, which has developed innovative anti-infective medicines, has been acquired by Debiopharm International, a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical company.   

OCGC is an agency of the Ministry of Research and Innovation. It manages Ontario's interests in the province's venture capital initiatives, including the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund. The fund made its initial investment into Affinium in 2011, alongside other investors including: Genesys Capital Management (Canada), SV Life Science Advisors LLP (UK), and, Forward Ventures Partners (US).

"As Canada's most active early stage life sciences venture investor, one of the biggest challenges we face is getting capital together to make investments like these," said Damian Lamb, Managing Director at Genesys. "As the lead investor, Genesys worked with OCGC and our international partners to provide the financial resources necessary for Affinium's success."

"OCGC's investment played a crucial role in moving the project forward from early clinical trials to phase two proof-of-concept," said Affinium's Chief Financial Officer, Owen Roberts. "That's when we were able to get the attention of major pharmaceutical companies like Debiopharm."

Senior Affinium management, including Roberts and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Nachum Kaplan, have launched Nobelex Biotech Inc. Focused on the development of anti-infection drugs with its partners, including Debiopharm, Nobelex is based in the Toronto MaRS Discovery District. The company has already begun research and is quickly expanding its employee base.

"This new partnership is a great example of the success of Ontario's venture capital initiatives. We are seeing a return on our investment, jobs created, and are incredibly proud to have attracted an international player such as Debiopharm International to the innovation ecosystem in our province." said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation. 

"OCGC is proud to play a key role in furthering the province's venture capital public policy goals.  We are delighted with the impacts of financing high potential technology companies and working to build an innovative economy in Ontario", noted Jeff Kehoe, Chair of the Board of OCGC. 

About Nobelex Biotech Inc.
Based in Toronto, Ontario, Nobelex is a leader in the discovery and development of antibiotics to fight serious human infections.

About Genesys Capital Management 
Genesys is one of the largest Canadian-based venture capital firms exclusively focused on the life sciences industry.  For more information:  www.genesyscapital.com.

About the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC):
OCGC manages the interest of the Government of Ontario in the $205 million Ontario Venture Capital Fund and the Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, currently at $234 million.  OCGC also manages and operates the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund (OETF), a portfolio of 24 high-potential Ontario companies.  For more information:  www.ontario.ca/ocgc.

SOURCE Ontario Capital Growth Corporation

For further information: Ontario Capital Growth Corporation, Jeff Kehoe, Chair of the Board, 647- 200-7627, jeff.kehoe@ontario.ca; Nobelex Biotech Inc., Owen Roberts, Chief Executive Officer, 416-645-6613, oroberts@nobelex.com; Genesys Capital, Damian Lamb, Manager Director, 416-598-4900, damian@genesyscapital.com; Ministry of Research and Innovation, Terry Chemij, Minister's Office, 416-326-9492; Brigitte Marleau, Communications Branch, 416-325-2479

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