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New anti-cancer agent to be commercialized in Quebec partnership


Montreal, QC – Esperas Pharma is partnering with Quebec Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC) in a project to develop a new oral anticancer agent called ESP-01. The agent will be developed by Esperas for the next three and a half years, in patients with advanced or metastatic cancer including metastatic triple-negative breast, colorectal or ovarian cancer.

The project will support 20 staffers, including resources within Q-CROC, and will begin with a first-in-man clinical trial, to determine the safety and efficacy of ESP-01, followed by Phase II clinical trials, to be conducted at major Montreal hospitals, including the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), the Segal Cancer Center at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) and the McGill University Hospital Center (MUHC).

“We are pleased to collaborate with Esperas on this important clinical study,” said Dr. Gerald Batist, scientific director and co-founder of Q-CROC. “Through this partnership, we will realize our mission, which is to significantly improve the anti-cancer drug development ecosystem, to multiply patient treatment options, and to reduce the financial burden on the health care system through, in part, improvement of the clinical research infrastructure in Quebec.”

Esperas Pharma was founded in April 2015 by a US$16.5M financing led by TVM Life Science Ventures VII, a venture capital fund domiciled in Montréal, and co-investor Fonds de solidarité FTQ. Esperas acquired the worldwide rights to develop and commercialize ESP-01 from Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly). ESP-01 is an oral investigational medicine which specifically inhibits cancer cell division or unchecked proliferation.