Orthopaedics start-up wins support from adMare BioInnovations

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Published: 22Mar2021

Trepso Therapeutics, based on more than twenty years of scientific research led by Dr. John Antoniou and Dr. Fackson Mwale was among six Québec start-ups selected by adMare BioInnovations, Canada’s global life sciences venture, to join its new acceleration program supporting the scale-up and growth of promising life sciences companies. Trepso is developing a best-in-class novel therapeutic, named short Link N (sLN), to reverse the structural deterioration associated with degenerative disc and articular joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis, and to reduce the associated pain and inflammation. Drs. Antoniou and Mwale run the Orthopaedics Research Laboratory at the LDI.

Chronic back pain remains an under-served, highly prevalent condition and a leading cause of functional disability world- wide, consistently ranking among the top five reasons for doctor visits, surgery and hospitalization. Chronic lower back pain caused by degenerating discs is a significant contributor to today’s opioid epidemic.

Most current pharmacologic treatments address the associated pain and inflammation, rather than the underlying patho- physiology. The benefits of such treatments are generally short in duration, have limited effect as the disease worsens, and patients often end up resorting to surgical intervention.

sLN is the bioactive portion of an endogenous peptide that acts as a growth factor and key regulator of normal spinal disc and cartilage extracellular matrix turnover. It not only blocks inflammatory pain signaling and possibly the ingrowth of pain-sensing fibers but may preserve and restore the integrity of the degenerating tissue. The potential for sLN

to truly be disease-modifying would be of tremendous value to the millions of patients suffering from disc disease and articular cartilage diseases, reducing the number of costly and risky surgeries.

Thanks to contributions from the Government of Québec, through Start-Up Québec funding from the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation and the City of Montréal, Trepso will benefit from $150,000 in customized access to adMare resources, such as laboratories and offices, scientific and business support, and training. With the support of BIOQuébec and Montréal InVivo, it will also access unique networking and mentoring opportunities to increase their visibility in Quebéc’s life sciences community.

“These promising companies will thus be able to better structure themselves, become more mature, and even more attractive to investors. Ultimately, the entire life sciences and health technology sector will benefit from the scientific break- throughs advanced by this program," said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation, in making the announcement

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