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Northern Biologics
Northern Biologics was the first modern UHN spin-off backed by venture capital. (Image: UHN StRIDe Team)

Northern Biologics Inc., a UHN spin-off and developer of antibody-based therapeutics, was acquired Thursday by Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), the world's largest private pharmaceutical company.

Northern Biologics was the first modern UHN spin-off backed by venture capital. Its acquisition follows in the footsteps of a string of similar successes for UHN spin-offs created by UHN's Technology Development and Commercialization office, including AVROBIO and BlueRock Therapeutics.

Northern Biologics was founded in 2014 through the biggest biotech deal in Canada at the time. It was created based on licenses for intellectual property developed by Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Senior Scientists Drs. Benjamin Neel (currently at the Perlmutter Cancer Center), Brad Wouters and Robert Rottapel, and University of Toronto researchers Drs. Sachdev Sidhu and Jason Moffat.

Northern Biologics has pursued the development of new drugs and a platform for antibody generation. These efforts are advancing antibody-based treatments for cancer and fibrosis, with a focus on the emerging field of the tumor microenvironment – an important area of focus at UHN.

As with Bluerock Therapeutics, Northern Biologics operations have been located at the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower in the MaRS Discovery District since its founding. This enables close collaboration between the company and UHN's research community. Through this work, Northern Biologics has discovered and developed two programs acquired by Boehringer Ingelheim, and these assets are now progressing toward human clinical trials at UHN hospital sites, which will benefit local patients first.

Both BlueRock and Northern Biologics were founded through record-setting investments by global venture capital firm Versant Ventures. The success of these investments confirm the tremendous value of collaboration between industry and UHN researchers.

For more information, read the press release.

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