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  • Esperas Pharma Inc. will begin clinical development of a new anti-cancer product at major Montreal hospitals

    April 14, 2016

In partnership with the Q-CROC, Esperas will invest up to $7M in a clinical trial that aims to provide first access to promising new treatment for Quebec cancer patients

Montréal, Québec, April 11 2016 – Esperas Pharma Inc. (“Esperas”) today announced the initiation of a project to develop a new oral anticancer agent called ESP-01, in partnership with Quebec Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC). Esperas will develop ESP-01 in the province of Québec for the next three and a half years, in patients with advanced or metastatic cancer including metastatic triple-negative breast, colorectal or ovarian cancer. This project will support 20 employments including resources within Q-CROC. The project 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, 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”) to which other Quebec centers may be added.

“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 Inc. 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.

“The management team of Esperas Pharma Inc. is delighted to initiate the development of this anticancer medicine in Québec and to provide Quebec cancer patients with first access to this promising development candidate. Furthermore, the company is proud to collaborate with the Q-CROC network and renowned centers such as the CHUM the JGH and the MUHC,” said Caroline Fortier, CEO of Esperas Pharma Inc.

“TVM Capital Life Science is proud to have secured the rights to ESP-01 and thereby founded Esperas right here in Quebec. We believe our investment model fosters partnerships that bring significant benefits to patients afflicted with diseases such as cancer,” said Dr. Marc Riviere, General Partner with TVM Capital Life Science and Board member of Esperas Pharma.

“In North America, Montréal is among the cities with the highest concentration of jobs in the life sciences and health technologies sector. We’re proud of the reputation Quebec’s largest city has earned in this field, and today’s announcement serves to further consolidate that position,” said Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre.

“The Fonds de solidarité FTQ congratulates Dr. Batist and his extended team at Q-CROC. By leveraging on its key three pillars, talent, R&D and service infrastructure, and access to capital, Québec develops and attracts new drug development programs such as the one announced today”, said Gaétan Morin, president and CEO of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

About TVM Capital Life Science

TVM Capital Life Science is providing venture capital to the international pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries with more than 30-years of transatlantic investment track record and in excess of US$1.3bn under management. TVM Capital Life Science currently invests from its 7th fund generation, TVM Life Science Ventures VII, with an integrated team of investment professionals from Munich and Montreal.

About TVM Capital Group

TVM Capital is a group of globally acting venture capital and private equity firms with an operating track record of 30 years. Investment teams have financed more than 250 emerging companies across several industries since 1984. During the last 15 years the firm has become increasingly specialized in the most attractive and high-growth verticals in the broader healthcare markets, with focus areas in financing innovative products and technologies in the European and U.S. biopharmaceutical and medical device markets, as well as healthcare services in Emerging Markets. TVM Capital funds operate globally with dedicated life science venture capital funds advised by group members TVM Life Science Management in Montréal and in Munich, TVM Capital China in Hong Kong, and its healthcare private equity fund managed by TVM Capital Healthcare Partners out of Dubai.

About the Fonds de solidarité FTQ

The Fonds de solidarité FTQ helps drive our economy. With net assets of $11.2 billion as of November 30, 2015, 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 development. The Fonds is a partner, either directly or through its network members, in more than 2,550 companies. With more than 600,000 shareholder-savers, the Fonds helps create, maintain and protect more than 176,000 jobs. For more information, visit

About Esperas Pharma Inc.

Esperas Pharma Inc. is a special purpose company created to develop ESP-01 to proof-of-concept in man. ESP-01 is an oral investigational medicine which specifically inhibits cancer cell division or unchecked proliferation. To date, this biopharmaceutical asset has completed GLP toxicology studies. The project is fully financed by TVM Life Science Ventures VII and Fonds de solidarité FTQ (the “Fonds”). Esperas Pharma Inc. is funded by TVM Life Science Ventures VII and the Fonds. Esperas is led by an experienced management team.

About the Quebec – Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC)

As the foremost organization for clinical oncology research in the province, the Quebec Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC) is dedicated to the collaborative development of cancer therapeutics. Building on a national network of clinicians, scientists and key opinion leaders from over 15 hospitals, Q-CROC leverages the wide-ranging expertise of its members to offer innovative and effective clinical research solutions. With an in-house team of seasoned experts from industry and academia, Q-CROC offers tailored trial development, consulting expertise, and trial management services for clinical and translational research.

This press release contains forward-looking statements about TVM Life Science Ventures VII and Lilly’s investment in a pre-clinical stage compound for the treatment of certain types of cancers that is being developed by Esperas Pharma Inc. It reflects Lilly’s and TVM Capital Life Science’s current beliefs; however, as with any such undertaking, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in the process of drug development. There is no guarantee Lilly will realize the expected benefits of the transaction, that the product will receive regulatory approval, or if approved, would be commercially successful. For further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, please see Lilly’s latest Forms 10-Q and 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies undertake no duty to update forward-looking statements.

General Partner

TVM Life Science Ventures VII (GP) Ltd. 11-15 Seaton Place,
St Helier, Jersey , JE4 0QH, Channel Islands

Investment Advisor

TVM Life Science Management Inc.
2 Place Alexis Nihon, Suite 902
3500 Blvd De Maisonneuve West, Westmount,
Montréal, QC H3Z 1X5 Canada

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Luc Marengere, Managing Partner, TVM Capital Life Science:
Phone: 514-931-4111
Caroline Fortier, CEO, Esperas Pharma Inc.:
Patrick McQuilken, Senior Advisor, Media Relations and Communications, Fonds de solidarité FTQ:, Phone : 514-850-4835
Martin Gagnon, CEO of Q-CROC:, Phone: 514-282-4523


Marie-Christine Garon
NATIONAL Public Relations  

Alex-Sandra Thibault                                   
NATIONAL Public Relations