Company Founding

Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Inc. commenced operations in 2006 as a spin-off from the University of British Columbia, the BC Cancer Agency, and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, all organizations with outstanding reputations for world-class research. Aquinox’s scientific co-founders discovered the enzyme called SH2-containing inositol-5'-phosphatase-1 ("SHIP1"), as well as compounds to activate this enzyme. SHIP1 is expressed primarily in haematopoeitic-derived (blood) cells and, when activated, balances the normal activity of the PI3K pathway, a key pathway that when stimulated promotes cell growth, proliferation, survival, and immune cell function including inflammation. Thus, SHIP1 activators like those we are developing may enhance the body’s natural regulation of this pathway to reduce overactive immune cells, and have the potential to treat a broad range of inflammatory diseases and blood cancers.


From 2007 through to 2013, Aquinox raised approximately $57.5M in successive rounds of private financing with significant participation by leading VCs and biotech investors including Ventures West, Lion’s Capital, and Baker Brothers as well as the investment arms of major pharmaceutical companies including Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Pfizer Venture Investments, and Pharmstandard International. In March 2014, shares in Aquinox became publically listed on NASDAQ (AQXP) through an IPO that raised gross proceeds of $53M. In September 2015, Aquinox closed a $98M public offering and in September of 2016 closed a $75.4M public offering.