For a safe chemotherapy: Pharma in silica starts up
QUÉBEC City, August 30, 2019 – Pharma in silica inc. announces today the closing of a start-up funding of 1,4 M $, mainly from four individual investors from Québec City, New Jersey et Gaspésie, in order to improve chemotherapy drugs for solid tumors, beginning with the most deadly of lung cancers.
The young company, established in the Technology Park of Québec City, develops a novel drug nanocarrier : « Our hypothesis is that these minuscule silica spheres will reduce the toxicity and increase the efficacy of anticancer drugs », said Dr. Rima Chouikrat, scientific coordinator at Pharma in silica.
The in silica™ technology was first developed for cosmetic applications by the fine chemistry company SiliCycle.
The new endeavor, driven by Mr. François Arcand, a seasoned life science entrepreneur, was created to realize the therapeutic capacities of the silica carrier. « Our craft is a little bit like trucking: to improve the patient outcomes, one must secure a potent poison, carry it to the tumor without touching healthy organs and then unload it to kill the cancer cells. »
The technical demonstrations have begun this summer: the chemists at SiliCycle are responsible for the silica chemistry and the Université Laval laboratories of professor Nicolas Bertrand and professor Marc-André Fortin, specialists in nanomedicine and imagery, conduct the in vivo assays. « This will be 10 months of beautiful science for the chemists … and the mice! Preclinical studies will follow, end of 2020 », concludes mr. Arcand.