Ottawa invests in RNA Technologies & Therapeutics, boosting its expansion

Laval startup gets $200,000 loan, with help from Vimy MP Koutrakis who is Parliamentary Secretary to CED minister

Vimy Liberal MP Annie Koutrakis, who is Parliamentary Secretary to the Canada Economic Development minister, has announced a repayable loan of $200,000 by Ottawa to RNA Technologies & Therapeutics Inc., a startup biotech firm that was launched with help from the Laval-based Quebec Biotechnology Innovation Centre (CQIB).

Support from Canada Economic Development (CED) enabled RNA T&T to acquire automated equipment to streamline its productivity and increase its production capacity. CED is the key federal partner in Quebec’s regional economic development.

Focused economic development

With its 12 regional business offices, CED accompanies businesses, supporting organizations and all regions across Quebec for their economic development. The funds were granted under CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

The program targets entrepreneurs, leveraging innovation to grow their businesses and enhance their competitiveness, as well as regional economic stakeholders helping to create an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation and growth for all across all regions.

In Quebec, SMEs account for 99.7 per cent of the province’s businesses and 50 per cent of its GDP.

From the left, Perry Niro, CEO of the CQIB, Vimy Liberal MP Annie Koutrakis and RNA T&T CEO and president Claude LeDuc are seen here following the loan announcement made at the CQIB on Cartier Blvd. in Laval.

Messenger RNA production

Founded in July 2022, RNA T&T is an innovative business specializing in the design, production, and purification of intermediate carrier molecules called messenger RNAs (mRNAs).

Incubated at the CQIB on Cartier Blvd., RNA T&T produces and sells intermediate mRNA molecules in small and large quantities, in addition to implementing a research program for its clients to develop new therapies, obtain regulatory approvals for them and ensure intellectual property protection.

RNA T&T’s staff includes experts in the RNA field with combined experience totalling over three decades in in vitro transcription (IVT) therapeutic RNA synthesis.

Helping businesses grow

“The Government of Canada recognizes and supports innovative businesses and organizations that are a source of pride in their communities,” CED said in a statement regarding its loan to RNA T&T.

“Our government is committed to investing to ensure our SMEs remain competitive and innovative,” said Koutrakis.

“Helping a business grow and innovate so it can enable Canadians to benefit from an important technology is a priority for our government,” added Koutrakis. “That is why we are supporting this promising project by RNA T&T, which is a wonderful example of success after two years of incubation at the CQIB.”

The Quebec Biotechnology Innovation Centre (CQIB) on Cartier Blvd. has helped to “incubate” many biotech startups, including RNA Technologies & Therapeutics.

Progress in just 18 months

“Thanks to the CQIB’s incubation structure, RNA T&T has made significant advances over its first 18 months of existence,” said Claude LeDuc, president and CEO of the firm.

With a 36-year track record of international experience and accomplishments in both private and Fortune 500 companies, LeDuc has been a key player in the success of various organizations, including many biotech startups.

He has led teams through various development stages, from early R&D and preclinical programs to successful market launches. The companies he has helped bring into being include BioSyntech, Skeltex Technologies, Axcellon Biopolymers, MRM Proteomics, RNA T&T and Ortho Regenerative Technologies.

Successful fundraising

At the same time, LeDuc has become known for his exceptional capital-gathering abilities. As the CEO of multiple start-ups, he raised more than $70 million in equity and debenture notes in private and public settings.

“We want to highlight the importance of government assistance programs such as this one from CED, which play a crucial role in supporting and funding the rapid growth of technological SMEs such as RNA T&T,” LeDuc said regarding this latest venture. “We express our deep gratitude for their ongoing support.”

“This investment in one of the businesses accompanied by our incubator confirms the role the CQIB plays as a seedbed for life sciences businesses in Quebec,” said Perry Niro, executive-director of the CQIB. “We are particularly pleased with RNA T&T’s progress as it completes its incubation process.”