Amplitude VC
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Amplitude VC

Giiant Pharma — building the next precision GI medicine company

Source — https://giiant.com/

Last week, Giiant Pharma announced the close of a US $11M (CAD $13.5M) seed round. We’re excited to co-lead this financing with Genesys Capital to build a precision GI medicine delivery company.

This company is a fantastic example of Amplitude’s investment strategy of creating, building and growing world-leading, innovative precision medicine companies. We’re thrilled to help the founding entrepreneurial team at Giiant advance their technology platform to deliver orally administered, gut-restricted, tissue-specific prodrugs to patients.

The company was founded in 2016 based on the work of former Merck Frost Scientists who developed an early example of this precision GI-targeted platform. We were interested in the early science and worked with the founding team to build a foundation to address a much larger opportunity. Based on this plan and our early commitment, we attracted an exceptional management team, led by Maxime Ranger and Patrick Colin, the CEO and chief clinical officer respectfully, who have extensive experience in the GI therapeutic space. We are looking forward to working with Maxime and the rest of his team to expand their platform and build one of the leading precision GI companies.

Why is precision medicine needed in the GI space:

In the last decade, there has been renewed interest in the gut microbiome and how bacteria in our GI system can influence our entire body.

Role of gut microbiota in health and disease. Source — https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2179

Researchers are discovering that our gut microbiome plays a role in many diseases, including mental health conditions, metabolic conditions, and GI diseases. Numerous studies have cited alterations in the gut microbiome to be associated with atopic asthma, cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and autoimmune conditions.

These alterations in the gut microbiome are also associated with several GI diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, which affects at least 6.8 million people globally. Patients are typically treated with a variety of anti-inflammatory medications such as steroids and biological therapies. Because these treatments work on many different areas in the body outside of the gut, they can have a variety of negative long-term side effects. This negatively impacts the patient’s quality of life and increases the cost to hospitals and healthcare systems.

How is Giiant solving this problem?

Giiant is creating a new form of precision-activated therapeutics to enable site-specific release of a prodrug.

These prodrugs are designed to be activated by the gut microbiome, with the ability to specifically deliver the active PDE4 inhibitor at the site of inflammation. This leads to limited systemic exposure and a safer drug profile with maximal local action.

The idea behind this site-specific release is to create a pill that patients can take which is only activated by the gut at the site of inflammation. This solves several safety and side effect concerns as the drug won’t be activated at other sites in the body. The approach is extremely exciting because if you’re able to activate GI-specific drugs only at the site of inflammation and not in other organ systems, you’re able to create a safer, cheaper, and more effective drug for patients. This opens a variety of possibilities in other GI diseases where selectivity to the diseased site is critical.

The program will focus initially on the treatment of moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis, while the team actively works on expanding the pipeline with a preference for GI-focused assets using precision delivery.

Why we’re excited:

Giiant Pharma is a perfect fit with Amplitude’s vision of creating, building, and growing world-class Canadian precision medicine companies. With an exceptional leadership team that has extensive experience in the GI space, fantastic medical chemistry experience led by 2 leading scientists and the potential to expand the pipeline to other GI-focused diseases, we’re excited to build Giiant into becoming a global GI franchise that provides ground-breaking precision delivery technologies to patients.

-Amplitude team

About Amplitude Ventures

Amplitude Ventures deploys a growth model that has successfully been used to build Canadian companies with world-class management teams and scale companies to breakout potential. Amplitude, with offices in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, launched its first private capital fund in November 2019, a $200-million fund that applies a proven, evidence-based approach to investing in leading Canadian precision medicine companies.

About Giiant Pharma

Giiant is a preclinical-stage biotech company, with its proprietary Precision Delivery technology platform, designs gut-restricted, tissue-specific, small molecule, drug therapeutics with various biological targets in gastroenterology. Its lead program GT-2108 is a microbiota-activated PDE4 inhibitor prodrugs, with improved drug tolerability and enhanced therapeutic effect.

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