Calgary biotech moving to Vancouver, going public

A new Calgary-based biotech focused on diabetes and hypertension will go public later this month in a reverse takeover with a local junior mining company ...
Xortx founder Allen Davidoff

A new Calgary-based biotech focused on diabetes and hypertension will go public later this month in a reverse takeover with a local junior mining company and relocate to Vancouver.

Xortx Pharma Corp. – a biotech startup whose management team has ties with Vancouver’s Cardiome Pharma Corp. (TSX:COM) – is focused on treating hypertension, insulin resistance and diabetes-related kidney disease with a reformulated drug – Xorlo – a variation of which has been used to successfully treat gout.

The company hopes to raise $6 million to $9 million through a reverse takeover involving African Queen Mines Ltd. (TSX-V: AQ) in late June or early July. The money is to help pay for clinical trials.

Xortx founder Allen Davidoff said he plans to relocate the company to Vancouver, in part because that is where African Queen is located, although Davidoff also has ties here.

“Vancouver has a wealth of life science professionals, capital market folks who understand the life sciences theme and a biotech research infrastructure that’s very attractive,” Davidoff said.

Davidoff was a senior scientist with Cardiome before he moved to Calgary and founded his own company, Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp. – now Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (TSX: SSS).

Co-founder Alan Moore is also a former Cardiome scientist, as are two other members of the Xortx management team.

Xorlo is a reformulated drug based on the primary chemistry of a drug that is already approved for gout.

One of the things gout has in common with hypertension, insulin resistance and diabetes-related kidney disease is high levels of serum uric acid, Davidoff said. It is believed that Xorlo can be used to lower those levels to treat three types of diseases. However, the company will focus first on hypertension.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv

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