Halifax biomarker-testing startup Myomar Molecular is ramping up clinical trials and preparing to file a patent application, as it eyes a possible crowdfunding campaign to raise capital later this year.

Myomar, which is developing a urine test to monitor muscle degeneration, was founded in 2021 by Dalhousie University biochemist and molecular biology PhD Rafaela Andrade. The company just raised $200,000 from convertible notes, and Andrade said in an interview her team is still looking to add to that total.

A potential crowdfunding campaign would come around the end of summer, after the patent application has been filed, and offer non-accredited investors the chance to back Myomar.

“It will be open to the public, so everyone can make an investment in the company,” said Andrade. “It doesn’t have to be a large amount, it can be any amount, and they will also have equity in the company.”

Clinical trials for Myomar’s technology are under way in Newfoundland and Labrador under a partnership with the provincial health agency, with other trials soon to come in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Calgary.

Andrade said her now four-person team is not pursuing regulatory approval yet, instead running the trials under a “non-regulatory” model, with the intent to present the resulting data to regulators later.

The company also previously conducted tests using urine samples from a tissue bank. Andrade’s team eventually reached about an 80 percent accuracy rate with their results, and is aiming for similar figures from the clinical trials.

She added that she hopes to commercialize Myomar’s product in 2024. The details of that process, such as whether Myomar will partner with an incumbent biotech company, are in the process of being ironed out.

To help with questions like that, Myomar has also been accepted into the Montreal-based MEDTEQ+ accelerator, which is funded by both the provincial and federal governments and specializes in medtech startups.

“They have a lot of experience with medtech, and how to commercialize medtech from ground zero to something larger,” said Andrade. “We’re meeting with advisors from the medtech industry to help us see a market-fit pathway and advise us on how to expand out our strategic partners to get the technology into the market."

The granddaughter of a Brazilian consumer goods magnate, Andrade was previously a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dalhousie University professor James Fawcett, where she worked on projects related to muscle development and neuromuscular disorders. She also previously helped run pre-clinical trials for a cancer treatment by a major pharmaceutical company.

Myomar is also a product of Dalhousie University’s Emera ideaHUB accelerators, Lab2Market and Ready2Launch, which are specially tailored to help university researchers found companies based on their work.

Once the patent application is filed and more progress has been made in the clinical trials, Andrade is targeting a roughly $2 million funding round.