Pre-Amp: The studio that wants to transform patients’ lives.

October 2023

Amplitude Ventures is a specialized venture capital fund in precision medicine based in Montreal. Its primary mission is to ensure that exceptional scientific discoveries originating from academic and commercial institutions have a significant impact on both the national and international stage.

The latest addition to Amplitude Ventures’ portfolio is Pre-Amp Studio. Even though it is a new player, the studio has formed a partnership with a leading company in the healthcare field in Evotec. Hence, Pre-Amp integrates Amplitude’s venture creation expertise and Evotec’s industrialised drug discovery platforms. This collaboration involves a range of support, including laboratory access, a network of subject matter experts, and the potential for financial partnership opportunities. The synergies between both organizations will enable Pre-Amp to rapidly identify and validate leading-edge science and accelerating the formation of new companies to bring first-in-class therapies to patients.

Pre-Amp employs a hybrid approach to patent strategy, combining the use of existing patents while emphasizing the creation of its own. This approach ensures that innovation, the idea generation process, and validation stage are entirely internalized within the studio. Despite its recent inception, the studio boasts a highly experienced in-house team consisting of experts in drug development and venture studios. Pre-Amp becomes the only venture studio in Canada dedicated to health sciences.

Amplitude’s fund will provide financial backing to startups emerging from the studio, and it intends to continue offering financial support to Pre-Amp’s startups until their exit. Under the partnership, Evotec also has co-investment rights in new companies originating from Pre-Amp.

 

Entrevue avec Michael Mee, Directeur général du Studio Pre-Amp

Hailing from Montreal, Michael brings a wealth of experience from his five-year role as an associate at Flagship Pioneering. He also holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering research, earned from George Church’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School. Throughout his career, he played a pivotal role in the development of two companies, Indigo and Kaleido. Moreover, he co-founded and launched a therapy delivery platform. His unwavering ambition has been to bring the knowledge he gained in Boston back to enrich the Canadian biotechnology ecosystem, which recently led to his relocation to Montreal.

 

1. Why did you choose the venture studio model?

Pre-Amp represents a brand-new, independent entity that integrates into Amplitude Ventures’ venture capital platform. Pre-Amp has a dual mission: on one hand, it aims to create startups utilizing both patented and non-patented existing research, and on the other, it provides our resident researchers with the opportunity to pursue their own investigations. When an idea emerges from research and shows promising potential, successfully passing through the studio’s validation process, our Amplitude fund steps in to support and further develop that idea. The studio boasts a dedicated team of four researchers and leverages all of Amplitude’s resources to generate intellectual property. These two entities operate synergistically, opening the door to opportunities we might not have considered conventionally. We are very excited about this new addition to our structure.

 

2.What sets you apart from other players (VCs, studios, accelerators, etc.)?

Pre-Amp specializes in the healthcare sector, an area where research and development (R&D) play a vital role in the development of new startups. We have launched an internship program to encourage innovative researchers, whether located in Canada or abroad, to collaborate with us and turn their startup ideas into reality. They gain from our extensive experience, vast network, and financial support, providing startups with a strong foundation to take off. We take pride in being the sole provider of such a program in Canada, positioning Pre-Amp as a true pioneer in this field.

 

3. What are the advantages of this concept for you?

From our perspective, the Venture Studio model enables us to engage at an earlier stage in the development process, providing more effective mentoring and support for startups right from their inception. Furthermore, the studio provides different investment terms compared to “traditional” Amplitude investments. As Pre-Amp is the creator of the startups it generates, Amplitude holds a significant position on the startups’ cap table.

 

4. When you decided  to create Pre-Amp, were di you get your inspiration from?

To the best of our knowledge, in Canada, we are the only studio specialized in our niche. However, it’s essential to note that well-established studios exist in the United States and Europe, particularly in the healthcare sector. I had the privilege of working for five years at Flagship Pioneering, the studio behind Moderna, which served as a significant source of inspiration for me. Furthermore, entities like 25m Health in New York and Third Rock in Boston have made impressive strides in the healthcare sector, continually demonstrating innovation in this field.

 

5. What challenges have you faced or are currently facing (costs, founderflow, etc.)?

Our internship program naturally streamlines the process of finding founders, attracting researchers from around the world and contributing to the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Quebec and Canada. Moreover, it offers researchers the opportunity to develop their ideas without necessarily being directly affiliated with universities while granting them access to a network of state-of-the-art laboratories. We are also seeing a growing number of unsolicited applications. Amplitude is a well-established player in the life sciences sector and has built a strong reputation both nationally and internationally. This reputation significantly bolsters applications for the studio.

 

6. Do you have partnership agreements?

We have established a partnership with Evotec, a publicly traded German company specializing in drug discovery. Evotec is a highly innovative company with a long history of collaboration with venture studios. We are thrilled to have them as a partner and are the only Canadian studio with such a partnership. Through this collaboration, we gain access to their expertise, state-of-the-art laboratories, and a network of experts across Canada. As Evotec SE’s primary partner in Canada, we play a significant role in strengthening their presence in the Canadian market. For us, this partnership is just the beginning, and we invite you to stay tuned for more updates on this front.

 


To learn more about Pre-Amp, visit Preampvc.com


 

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