Closing of Third Technology Company Seed Fund - Over $41 Milliion in Venture Capital Ready for Investment in Life Science Companies in Québec
Montréal, February 18, 2011 - Clément Gignac, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, announced today that financing of the AmorChem Seed Fund is closed and the fund is now ready to invest in companies specializing in life sciences. Joining the Minister were Louis Lacasse, fund manager, Janie C. Béïque, Senior Vice-President, New Economy, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Sylvie Pinsonnault, Vice-President, Subsidiaries, Investissement Québec, and Bruno Strigini, President, Merck Global Human Health, Europe & Canada. AmorChem is the third and last technology company seed fund announced by the Québec government in its budget.
"The AmorChem Seed Fund will give Québec a new model for product and technology development in life sciences. This model will aim to validate and commercialize therapeutic, diagnostic and medical instrumentation products developed in universities, companies and research centres in Québec. In a context of major restructuring in the biopharmaceutical industry, the AmorChem Seed Fund will enable Québec to enhance its offerings in venture capital for start-ups in the life sciences sector," explained Clément Gignac.
The fund will be managed by a team experienced in venture capital: Dr. Élizabeth Douville and Dr. Inès Holzbaur, supported by Louis Lacasse, Dr. Martial Lacroix, Dr. Nicola Urbani and Maxime Pesant. The team will work closely with special partner Merck and with expert committees from the scientific community and pharmaceutical industry.
Prospecting for projects will be done mainly in universities, research centres, commercialization companies and the Québec entrepreneurial community. Projects must deal with research or development work taking place in Québec and must be related to life sciences. The work must be strictly at the start-up stage.
Financing of the AmorChem Seed Fund is provided by various partners, including the Québec government through Investissement Québec ($16.5 million), the Fonds de solidarité FTQ ($10.9 million) and FIER Partners ($5.6 million), for a total of $33 million. An additional $8.25 million in funding comes from private-sector partners. The capitalization of the fund will therefore be at least $41.25 million, which will be invested in Québec companies.
"The creation of the AmorChem Seed Fund will meet a significant need in Québec with regard to financing the development of innovative life science products. Our business model will be in line with a new trend aimed at creating value by funding product development at lower cost. We hope that the fund will serve as a catalyst and revitalize the life sciences industry in Québec," declared fund manager Louis Lacasse.
"For years, the Fonds de solidarité has been supporting the development of life science products and technologies. Québec is now recognized for the quality of its researchers and infrastructure. With this new injection of capital, targeted at projects in the incubation stage, we're encouraging innovation and promoting Québec-based research. In this way, we'll be contributing to the commercialization of products resulting from the most promising projects, for the benefit of society as a whole," asserted Janie C. Béïque.
About Technology Company Seed Funds
The Québec government has undertaken to establish technology company seed funds awarded by calls for proposals. The government's objectives are to increase the funds available for start-up financing of technology companies based in Québec, recruit experienced teams to manage these new funds, secure the flow of funding throughout the financing chain, and broaden the sectoral scope of seed financing in Québec.
The selection process for these funds was led by an independent committee made up of industry experts and chaired by Martin Godbout, former President and CEO of Genome Canada.
Seed funds come into play during the initial stage of a company's development. The company may be in the creation phase or just starting up operations, but must not yet have put its business model to the test.
About Investissement Québec
Investissement Québec's mission is to foster the growth of investment in Québec, thereby contributing to economic development and job creation in every region. Since its founding, the Corporation has supported the implementation of investment projects totalling more than $58 billion and helped create close to 179,000 jobs.
About Fonds de solidarité FTQ
With net assets of $7.7 billion as at November 30, 2010, the Fonds is a development capital fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into investments in all sectors of the economy to help create and maintain jobs and further Québec's economic growth.
The Fonds is a partner, either directly or through its network members, in 2,052 companies. With its 577,511 owner-shareholders, it has helped, on its own or with other financial partners, to create, maintain and protect 150,133 jobs. For more information, visit www.fondsftq.com.
About the Ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation (MDEIE)
The MDEIE supports economic development, innovation, export trade and research by encouraging coordinated and concerted action among the various players in the scientific, economic, social and cultural sectors in an effort to promote job creation, economic prosperity, scientific development and sustainability.
For more information about MDEIE programs and services, visit www.mdeie.gouv.qc.ca/programmes.
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