First research project to be funded under the Canada/Germany Program


Partagez l'article

Protein trafficking and misfolding under scrutiny

Berlin, May 26, 2016. – CQDM is proud to announce the funding of the first project under the Canada/Germany Program with partner the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), through its ZIM Program, for a total of $1M. This announce has been made today at the Charité Entrepreneurship Summit, in Berlin.

Falling under the broader Canada/Europe initiative, the Canada/Germany Program aims at funding novel and potentially transformative next-generation technologies with the potential to improve, enhance or accelerate the state of the art and drug development process. This project led by David Y. Thomas, from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and Bert Klebl from Lead Discovery Center (LDC) in Dortmund, Germany makes no exception.

This international collaboration draws its strength from the complementarity of the researchers involved. This private and public partnership pulls together multidisciplinary scientific resources and expertise necessary to the completion of the project.

“We are proud of the fruits that bear our partnership with BMWi. The creative and innovative aspects of this project are the reasons we fulfill our missions and organize international funding programs,” said Diane Gosselin, President and CEO at CQDM. “This public-private partnership is willing to develop new expertise and to expand into new markets, and these collaborative efforts will certainly strengthen research in Canada and Germany.”

“This project is the outcome of a great collaboration with LDC scientists on an important research topic. The project aims at addressing a need in biopharmaceutical research that is still understudied and unmet. ER stress is implicated in many diseases and Dr. Klebl and I will work at developing new tools for its study thanks to the funding initiative of CQDM and ZIM,\” said Dr. David Y. Thomas at McGill University.

Protein trafficking and misfolding under scrutiny
Investigators: David Y. Thomas (McGill University) and Bert Klebl (Lead Discovery Center)
$500k from CQDM and €380k from ZIM over 2 years

One third of the proteins encoded in our DNA transit through the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) inside cells. The ER has several distinct mechanisms to check the integrity and proper folding of these proteins. Some protein trafficking respiratory diseases result from an overzealous quality control system that recognizes mutant proteins that are otherwise functional and tags them for degradation before they reach their correct location. This complex quality control system is achieved through a network of interacting enzymes called kinases. ER quality control is an understudied field of biology and could represent a goldmine of new targets to treat many diseases including neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and cancer. We have shown that inhibitors of some of these kinases affect the accuracy of the ER quality control system and are able to correct trafficking defects responsible in some diseases. The aim of this project is to generate a platform to study the most important players responsible for the proper trafficking of proteins. This collaborative project will leverage the expertise of each researcher to generate a set of validated tools and chemical probes to interrogate the protein kinases involved in protein trafficking which could allow to identify new targets for the development of novel ER related diseases therapies.

About CQDM
CQDM is a pharma-based consortium active in early research whose mission is to fund the development of innovative tools and technologies to accelerate drug discovery. Unique in the world, CQDM’s business model is based on a collaborative approach where all stakeholders share the costs of biopharmaceutical research and benefit from its results. CQDM also provides a common meeting ground where academia, governments, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries converge to address numerous complex medical challenges. CQDM receives financial support from Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly Canada, Janssen, Novartis Pharma Canada, Sanofi Canada, as well as from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation (MESI) and from the Government of Canada under the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence Program (BL-NCE). For more information:

Eugénie Bergeron-Côté
Communications Advisor
Tel.: (514) 766-6661, ext. 2196

Scroll to Top