SemaThera Announces a $2MUS Financing and a Licensing Deal for China and Japan

MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SemaThera Inc announces today the closing of a $2MUS co-investment from Senju Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and AmorChem L.P. for the development of its lead candidate, ST-102, in preparation for a clinical trial application in diabetic macular edema (DME).

As part of this financing, SemaThera also signed an exclusive option of license with Senju. Under the terms of the agreement, Senju acquired the option rights to exclusively develop and market SemaThera’s ST-102 in China and Japan as an intravitreal injection for DME. Senju would assume all clinical development costs and regulatory fees related to China and Japan. In exchange for these rights, Senju would pay SemaThera milestone payments with a total in eight-digit, and a two-digit percent royalty on sales. Senju would also have exclusive rights to other indications in China and Japan.

SemaThera proposes a novel therapeutic approach, which is a bispecific biological trap, inhibiting both semaphorin 3A (SEMA 3A) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). “The compiled preclinical package demonstrated that SEMA 3A inhibition is key to treat the pathology at an early stage, where expression of SEMA 3A is significantly high and VEGF is at normal levels”, states Mitsuyoshi Azuma, Ph.D., Senior Corporate Officer, Head of Laboratory of Ocular Science, Senju (Board Member). “In addition to its seed investment in SemaThera, Senju is a strategic ophthalmology-focused partner for SemaThera, in view of the clinical development of ST-102 in China and Japan. An increasing prevalence of diabetes is occurring in these two countries where DME cases are on the rise” says, Elizabeth Douville, Founder and Managing Partner, AmorChem (Board member).

SemaThera appointed John G. Clement, Ph.D. as Executive Vice-President, Business Development. John brings a solid expertise in business and drug development around underserved ocular and infectious diseases, with his past experience at iCo Therapeutics (2005-2011) and QLT Inc (2000-2005). He will also remain Venture Partner at AmorChem.

SemaThera ( is a Montreal-based biotech company focusing on the development of novel anti-SEMA 3A therapies for the treatment of several retinopathies, including diabetic macular edema and wet age-related macular degeneration. SemaThera holds exclusive rights to various SEMA 3A based technologies, where semaphorin 3A is involved in neo-angiogenesis, senescence and neuronal regeneration. Such technologies may also become future therapies in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Established in 1947 and headquartered in Osaka, Japan, Senju Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., is a leading company that develops, manufactures, and commercializes a variety of innovative products on a global basis, specializing in ophthalmic preparations.


AmorChem ( is an early-stage, venture capital fund located in Montreal focused on creating promising life science companies from technologies originating primarily from Quebec-based universities and research centres. Launched in 2011, the AmorChem fund model combines access to financial resources with a virtual incubator structure that enables the rapid development and commercialization of its technologies. The first fund (41.2M$) has built a portfolio of 24 technologies and successfully transacted two pharma exits as well as spun-out five companies. The attractiveness of this seed fund model and the role it plays in the life science ecosystem were highlighted in September 2017 with the launch of the AmorChem II fund of 44.2M$.


Media contacts:
Elizabeth Douville, Ph.D.
Founder and Managing Partner
T: +1-514-849-6358
E :
Senju Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Tsutomu Sonoyama
Director, Corporate Communication Department
T: +81-6-6201-9603
Business Development Contact:
SemaThera Inc
Maxime Ranger, Ph.D. MBA
Acting CEO
T: +1-514-825-9035