The challenge: The World Bank ranks Canada the second easiest place in the world to start a business. But a chronic lack of capital and seasoned managers has made it difficult for many young firms to scale into globally competitive companies. As a result, too many promising tech companies, particularly those with long product cycles, have failed or been sold to foreign interests—often resulting in both the intellectual property and jobs leaving Canada.
The response: Accel-Rx has partnered with the Business Development Bank of Canada to help young companies bring new pharmaceuticals, diagnostic treatments and medical devices to market. It provides flexible investment options at the seed stage to create investment-ready ventures equipped to become the next generation of anchor companies. To date, Accel-Rx has invested in six companies, including Zucara Therapeutics Inc., which is developing the first once-daily therapeutic to prevent low blood sugar in patients with diabetes. Zucara is seeking Series A funding with the expectation of starting clinical trials in 2018.