B.C. biotech Primary Peptides has signed a $40-million development agreement for a new stroke treatment with a Chinese pharmaceutical giant, but co-founder Max Cynader says it may be just the first of a dozen such agreements.
The new compound is intended to block the “toxic cascade” of reactions that lead to cell death in the hours immediately after a stroke and is the first candidate drug for commercialization produced by the fledgling firm.
Just 18 months after launching the company with Yu Tian Wang and William Jia — both fellow professors at the University of B.C. — Primary Peptides has a contractually guaranteed source of income in the form of progress payments from its deal with Beijing’s Yabao Pharmaceutical.
“With young companies, you are always hanging on by your fingernails, but this is a pretty special moment for us,” said Cynader, who recently retired from his administrative duties as director of the Brain Research Centre to join Primary Peptides and another start-up, Wavemakers Research.
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