BOSTON, June 5, 2023 – Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal Region, today announced financial assistance totalling nearly $1.96 million for four biopharmaceutical R&D projects under CQDM’s SynergiQc program. CQDM is proud to contribute to the growth of Quebec’s life sciences industry by funding these projects, which aim to implement tools to accelerate drug development, particularly for new therapies against cancer and infectious diseases. These projects demonstrate the dynamism of Quebec’s biotechnology ecosystem. The solutions developed should generate significant spin-offs for the Quebec economy and for patients. Find out more about these four projects, worth a total investment of over $5.44 million:
A Platform to Accelerate the Development of New Drugs
NMX Research and Solutions Inc. and Anji Pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with Professor Laplante of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique, will develop a robust, world-class biophysical platform, unique in Canada, to accelerate early-stage drug discovery. This $1.51 million project, also funded by the partner companies and Mitacs, will position NMX Research and Solutions Inc. as a key player in its field of early-stage drug discovery programs. In addition, the project will lead to new business opportunities and collaborations for the company within the Quebec life sciences ecosystem.
Developing Immunotherapy for Two Aggressive Cancers
Immunotherapy has the potential to treat multiple cancers, but current therapies lack efficacy against solid tumours and are very expensive. Kanyrpharma and Professor Tremblay of McGill University will test KQ-791, a non-toxic, low-cost tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor capable of reactivating the immune response against cancer. Two common and deadly cancer models will be studied: triple-negative breast cancer and metastatic prostate cancer. This $0.89 million project, also financed by the partner company, will develop a new therapeutic avenue for these two cancers, and help establish Quebec as a leader in the fight against these cancers.
Preventing New COVID-19 Pandemics
The COVID-19 global health crisis is constantly evolving, and it is essential to develop solutions that provide longer-lasting, broader protection against future emerging variants. Inspirevax, Oragenics and Dr. Durocher of the National Research Council of Canada will collaborate to develop a universal booster vaccine against COVID-19. Designed for intranasal administration, this vaccine could provide better protection against future viral variants, regardless of new mutations. This project, with a total value of $1.64 million, also financed by the partner companies, will provide Quebec with access to a new vaccine booster strategy for improved protection, thereby reducing the economic impact on the healthcare system and demonstrating Quebec’s expertise in vaccine development.
An Innovative Solution to Fight Fungal Infections
Every year, thousands of patients worldwide suffer from infections caused by fungi such as Candida albicans, demonstrating the need to develop new drugs to combat them. JCT Biotechnologies and Professor Rhéaume of the Montreal Heart Institute aim to identify a new antifungal agent and an appropriate combination therapy in vivo, which can then be tested in a Phase I clinical trial. This $1.4 million project, also supported by the partner company, will provide a solution to the public health problem of multi-resistant fungal infections. Furthermore, the results of the project will lead to major advances in research into fungal biology and fungal therapy, which will in turn recognize the expertise and quality of researchers in Quebec.
“We must continue to support companies in the life sciences sector to consolidate Quebec’s position on the international stage. By facilitating access to capital, we can support these companies in integrating innovation and enabling the emergence of new technologies,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal Region.
“These innovative initiatives are an excellent example of how collaborative research can support the development of innovative companies. These projects demonstrate the dynamism of the ecosystem in Quebec, and will generate significant spin-offs for the Canadian economy,” emphasizes Diane Gosselin, President and CEO of CQDM.
CQDM is a not-for-profit biopharmaceutical research consortium whose mission is to support and facilitate multi-stakeholder collaborative R&D aimed at accelerating the transformation of cutting-edge discoveries into vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics that address unmet medical needs, while generating significant benefits for the Canadian economy. We bring together world-renowned pharmaceutical organizations, Canadian biotech companies, top researchers from the public and private sectors, and the Canadian and Quebec governments. CQDM’s collaborative approach fills the funding gap needed to stimulate innovation in the academic and private sectors, particularly in early-stage research. For more information, please visit www.cqdm.org, as well as CQDM’s pages on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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