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After TSX debut, B.C. biotech champion Eupraxia targets human trial for new drug

VANCOUVER — When Victoria-based Eupraxia Pharmaceuticals completed its initial public offering last month, it was the first Canadian biotech company in 18 years to list its shares solely on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Despite the nearly two-decade long drought, Eupraxia’s founders believed Canada’s investor community would support its offering. Canadian investors and the government had already bought in—to the tune of tens of millions of dollars—to the company’s technology, which offers a way to deliver drugs to a specific spot in the body and release them slowly.

“Sure enough, we found that our story resonated, that people understood both our lead asset, as well as the platform potential that we had,” said chief executive and co-founder James Helliwell in an interview with The Logic, his first since taking the company public. That support came, even though “at the time we were doing the IPO, the market itself was having a few little hiccups.”

Helliwell believes that timing is why the company raised $9 million less than initially planned, but still enough to fund a human trial for its technology’s lead candidate: a treatment that offers relief for knee pain from osteoarthritis.

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