The Short Report - Feb. 16, 2022: Congruence Therapeutics raises $63M for rare disease drug discovery, a multi-billion dollar Euro tech fund, a Conservative cryptoasset bill, and more

Cindy Graham
February 16, 2022


Vancouver-based pharmaceutical company SaNOtize Research & Development has received approval from India’s drug regulator for the treatment of adult patients with COVID-19 who have a risk of progression of the disease. The announcement follows a successful Phase 3 clinical trial which confirmed SaNOtize’s treatment is 99 per cent effective. Businesswire

The University of Manitoba's Centre on Aging has opened applications for research fellowships for 2022–2023. The fellowship supports aging-related research in any discipline and is open to all full-time University of Manitoba faculty members. An $11,000 stipend is available and applications are due March 28, 2022. U of M


Dr. Clarissa Desjardins, PhD, secured $63 million in Series A financing for her fourth company, Congruence Therapeutics, which uses its platform to design novel small molecules to speed up drug discovery for rare diseases. The financing was led by Amplitude Ventures and Fonds de solidarité FTQ, with participation from Lumira Ventures, Investissement Quebec, OrbiMed Advisors, Driehaus Capital Management and others. Dr. Kenneth Valenzano, PhD, has joined the company as its chief scientific officer. Congruence Therapeutics

Robotic solutions developer Kinova (Montreal) has raised $60 million in new financing, with $40 million led by Graham Partners (with the participation of Export Development Canada) and $20 million closed through an agreement with the Government of Canada under its Strategic Innovation Fund. Kinova plans to use the funds to augment engineering resources to meet the demands of global customers and accelerate the development and commercialization of its solutions. Kinova

Oncology solutions provider Canexia (Vancouver) and AI-powered healthcare solution provider Imagia Cybernetics (Montreal) are merging to form a new company, Imagia Canexia Health, that will be led by Imagia CEO Geralyn Ochab. The deal comes after a $20-million equity investment from the Business Development Bank of Canada Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund, Desjardins Capital and PacBridge Capital. Betakit

Sherbrooke-based quantum computing technology startup Nord Quantique has secured $9.5 million in seed funding which will be used to develop quantum processors and attract world-class scientists to Québec. The investment was co-led by Business Development Bank of Canada Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund and Paris-based Quantonation VC fund. Real Ventures from Montréal also participated in the seed round. Nord Quantique is a partner of the Sherbrooke Quantum Innovation Zone, which is dedicated to advancing quantum computing innovation in Québec. Nord Quantique


The European Union is launching a multi-billion dollar Euro fund to boost investment in Europe's tech sector, bolster Europe's competitiveness with the U.S. and Asia, and reduce its dependence on foreign tech giants. France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, stated the target is to have ten technology companies worth more than 100 billion euros each by 2030. Reuters

The Government of Quebec has updated its aerospace strategy and plans to provide $334 million in financial support between now and 2024 as part of the Quebec Aerospace Strategy Horizon 2026. The strategy is the result of a collaboration between the Québec government and stakeholders in the Québec aerospace industry. It includes self-financed measures and additional credits of $95 million that will support total public and private investments estimated at nearly $2.8 billion for the next two years. Aéro Montreal

The Government of Canada is contributing more than $4.6 million towards zero-emission vehicle awareness projects. The funding will support 22 organizations on projects, including $300,000 to Eco-West Canada (Winnipeg) to deliver a series of webinars and workshops to increase electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the Prairies, nearly $239,000 to the New Brunswick Lung Association to promote the benefits of low-carbon commuting, build capacity across Atlantic Canada and increase EV adoption, and more than $100,000 to McMaster University to develop educational tools and promote best practices to support zero-emission vehicle fleet adoption. GOC

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is issuing an announcement of opportunity of up to $8 million to specifically support the Canadian space sector with funds to demonstrate new technologies in space before December 2026. The AO will award non-repayable contributions of up to $2 million per R&D project and is open to for-profit organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and universities, all established and operating in Canada. CSA

Meanwhile, lunar rover technology supplier Canadensys Aerospace (Toronto) has received an additional $270,000 in funding after it received a $1.6 million Phase A contract last fall to design a lunar rover concept for Canada's first lunar rover mission, which is planning for a 2026 moon landing. Canadensys is in competition with Brampton-based MDA, who received a $1.76-million contract. CSA is expected to select one rover design later this year. SpaceQ

Citing the growth of the Canadian economy and pressure from rising inflation, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne will not increase the transaction-size threshold for the advance notification of mergers for 2022, opting to keep it at its 2021 level of $93 million. The government says the decision gives the Competition Bureau a greater field of view in its efforts to detect potentially harmful transactions, ensure they are properly reviewed before taking hold in the marketplace, and protect Canadian consumers and businesses. GOC

White House aides and outside research experts are concerned a workplace abuse scandal will delay or undercut several of the Biden administration's key scientific priorities after lead science adviser Dr. Eric Lander resigned last week, citing "hurt to past and present colleagues for the way in which I have spoken to them" in his resignation letter. Key scientific priorities for the administration include appointing a new biomedical research chief, relaunching the “Cancer Moonshot,” retooling federal pandemic preparedness, and creating a new agency geared toward biomedical breakthroughs. Stat

Hamilton-based technology company Enedym received a non-repayable contribution of $2.4 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada to commercialize and advance its wind pitch motor technology, which increases the reliability and efficiency of wind turbines. Enedym

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner has tabled a private member’s bill that would create a mechanism to engage cryptoasset experts in policy development. Bill C-249, the Encouraging Growth of the Cryptoasset Sector Act, would require the Minister of Finance to formally ensure that cryptoasset experts "are leading voices in policy development" and would develop a framework to ensure Canada attracts and retains investment and talent while protecting people who work in the space, according to the Conservative Party of Canada. CPC


Health Canada has released an assessment report of the effects of climate change on health. Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action evaluates the latest research on climate-related hazards and how they are affecting well-being. It includes new information on Indigenous health impacts, mental health, health equity and health system resilience, which has not been the focus of past assessment reports. Health Canada

The Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND), one of six Ontario Brain Institute integrated discovery programs, has made a dataset of its depression study accessible to the global research community. This is the fourth clinical data release from CAN-BIND since launching its neuroinformatics platform in early 2021. The first three sets focused on neurodegenerative conditions, neurodevelopmental disorders and concussions. Cision

The Government of Canada has released a report on the results of public consultations undertaken last year to inform and shape the National Quantum Strategy that was proposed in Budget 2021.The report's overarching message from stakeholders is that "actions need to be actively pursued across all fronts, including on research, talent, commercialization, security and on the global stage." Among the key findings are the necessity of domestic and international collaboration, the importance of improved communications and engagement, the need to recruit and retain top talent, and the urgency to lay the groundwork for quantum security. GOC

The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) and Canadian Business have released a ranking of 50 Canadian companies and organizations that are driving innovation in their sector. The New Innovators list 2022 recognizes an overall Top 10 New Innovators, plus an additional 40 companies that excel in the categories of environment, innovation, people and impact intentionality. Among the top 10 companies are Shopify, Chandos Construction, Iris R&D Group, and Kinova. BII+E


Montreal's artificial intelligence research institute Mila is partnering with Sweden's national centre for applied artificial intelligence, AI Sweden, to connect organizations and companies in Sweden with Montreal's AI hub and to foster R&D, knowledge transfer and talent exchanges in their respective communities. Mila


Dr. Steven Smith has been appointed Queen's University's inaugural deputy vice-principal (research) for health research. In his new role, Smith will be working closely with the research community, faculties and affiliated hospitals (Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care) to provide leadership for the coordination and attraction of resources and partnerships to expand and amplify Queen’s health research strategy and profile. Queen's Gazette

Meanwhile, an advisory search committee to provide advice on the future vice-dean (research) for Queen’s University Health Sciences following Smith’s recent appointment has been established. Search committee members include Dr. Jane Philpott, dean of Queen's Health Sciences, Dr. Marcia Finlayson, vice-dean (Health Sciences) and Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, chief of staff & executive vice-president medical and academic affairs at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre. Queen's Gazette


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