Even though iNovia Capital doesn’t do Life Sciences investments anymore (since 2009), we still have two amazing bio-pharma portfolio companies under management, and we are excited to share with you some recent developments only made possible because of the entrepreneurial team that forms this company – Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals.
Launched in 2005, Mimetogen was founded and is still operated by Dr. Garth Cumberlidge and Prof. H. Uri Saragovi, and joined a few years later by an experienced operator and CFO M. Francois Mongrain. Like many of our IT portfolio companies, the talent differentiates the company from any other player in the market. And in the case of Mimetogen, another unique differentiator is its distributed team. The company is managed by a small team of only five people, based in five different buildings across three different cities (Montreal, Boston and Lexington). While still operating in part form iNovia offices in Montreal, this team engages with another 20 professionals across even more cities. Mimetogen pioneered and proved the efficacy of “Virtual Project Management”. No small feat for a company that built its development program based on intellectual property from McGill University and is in the development of small molecule drugs that mimic the effects of neurotrophins, proteins that help maintain the health and growth of many cells and tissues found in the eye.
So when Bausch + Lomb came knocking at the door, and then acquired an option to license Mimetogen’s core new compound to treat dry eye syndrome (DES), celebration was in order. This startup had proven, that the development of a product that can treat tens of millions of patients, could be successfully achieved by the right team in a virtual setting. By moving the bio-pharmaceutical industry out of a mentality of spending millions of dollars on buildings and wasting money attracting talent to a physical area, Mimetogen today proved that the era of a more entrepreneurial and mobile task force can build new product virtually, the same way software is built. Check out the press release here.
iNovia wasn’t the only VC providing unwavering support to the company and the team’s vision, we had strong allies such as MSBiV, McGill University, VIMAC Ventures, Medwell Capital and obviously an amazing scientific advisory board to help make this happen. Our then iNovia Life Sciences Partner Cedric Bisson, continued to support and guide the Company even after leaving iNovia.
We are proud of this outcome and have already applied many of our learnings to our tech investments. Congrats Garth, Francois, Uri and the team. This is excellent news for the Company, for our MSBi Fund, and for the industry.