Ottawa startup Spiderwort raises $500K to further biomaterial mission

Cuerrier
Spiderwort co-founder and CEO Charles Cuerrier. File photo

An Ottawa startup looking to change how the health-care sector regrows parts of the human body has raised $500,000 from a group of friends, family and some well-known Ottawa angels.

Spiderwort, which works to regrow body parts using plant-like tissues rather than synthetic materials, announced Monday morning it had closed its first round of funding. The company, helmed by Dr. Charles Cuerrier, has its roots in Dr. Andrew Pelling’s lab at the University of Ottawa, where students experiment in “biohacking.”

Among more than 20 investors in the round are Assent Compliance CEO Andrew Waitman, who in a statement called Spiderwort’s approach to regrowing limbs “life-changing.” He added, “The team is world-class and their conviction is nothing short of remarkable. How can you not get energized about their prospects?”

The company also unveiled its board of advisers Monday morning. Among them: Ottawa’s Dane Bedward, a veteran biotech exec serving on the boards of Capital Angel Network and uOttawa in addition to an executive fellow role with Mistral Venture Partners; former MDS and Nordion CEO Steve West; Dr. Peter Morand, founding CEO of the Canadian Science and Technology Growth Fund; and Dr. Julia Levy, former CEO of pharmaceutical firm QLT.

Life sciences companies often raise significant funding to finance the years of clinical trials needed to certify technologies and processes as safe for commercial use in the tightly regulated health-care field. Ottawa-based cancer-fighting startup Turnstone Biologics, for example, has raised more than $50 million in recent years to sustain its operations.

Cuerrier told Techopia last year the company got its initial runway through government grants and support from uOttawa and Invest Ottawa. A longtime member of the Invest Ottawa accelerator, Spiderwort recently moved into a new space in the University of Ottawa’s STEM building