CQDM, Diazon and the Oncopole in collaboration with Mitacs announce the two laureates of the 2019 Gordon Shore Prize


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CQDM, Diazon and the Oncopole in collaboration with Mitacs announce the two laureates of the 2019 Gordon Shore Prize, a mark of excellence for new graduates in life sciences

Montreal, May 22, 2019 CQDM, Diazon Pharmaceuticals, the Oncopole, and Mitacs, are delighted to announce the two laureates of the 2019 Gordon Shore Prize: Rachel Jodoin and Shilpa Chennakrishnaiah. Created in November 2018 in tribute to Professor Shore, this award aims to reward new graduates demonstrating excellence in their Master’s or Ph.D. thesis in life sciences. The laureates will receive a grant to support a 6-month internship in a biotech company, a first industrial research experience. The two laureates have been selected through an open competition that has been launched in February 2019 across the province of Quebec.

Shilpa Chennakrishnaiah has completed her Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine at McGill University, focusing on cancer biology. She has demonstrated scientific excellence all along her remarkable international academic path with 20 peer-reviewed publications and co-inventorship on two patents. She will have an internship opportunity at SpecificiT Pharma, a Montréal-based clinical stage immunotherapy company for developing safe and effective cell therapies for the treatment of hematological cancers. During the internship, Shilpa will join SpecificiT’s process optimization team to help in the clinical development of the company’s safe and innovative cell therapy product (GLIDE).

Rachel Jodoin has completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry at University of Sherbrooke. Her exceptional academic record allowed her to obtain 6 scholarships during her studies to pursue her research in the field of RNA biology which have led to 7 peer-reviewed publications. She will perform her internship at Immune Biosolutions, a Sherbrooke-based innovative biotech company specialized in the discovery and engineering of chicken humanized antibodies targeting cancer. During the internship, Rachel will participate in the development and manufacturing of a new generation of humanized recombinant antibodies targeting cancer.

“It is wonderful to have the possibility to support two such remarkable and dynamic young women. Providing them with the opportunity to have a first experience in the labor market is a nice way to help trigger their career. I wish them the best of luck for the future” said Diane Gosselin, President and CEO of CQDM.

“I congratulate both successful candidates on their selection for laureates of the first ever Gordon Shore Prize.  Nothing would have pleased Professor Shore more than to be associated with such highly qualified individuals as Doctors Chennakrishnaiah and Jodoin” said Michael Dixon, President of Diazon Pharmaceuticals.

“The Gordon Shore prize is a wonderful initiative contributing to the future of life sciences. Congratulations to our two excellent recipients” announced Dr Renaldo Battista, Executive Director of Oncopole.

“We are very pleased to partner with CQDM, Diazon and the Oncopole on the 2019 Gordon Shore Prize” said Alejandro Adem, Ph.D., CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs. “Recipients Shilpa Chennakrishnaiah and Rachel Jodoin demonstrate excellence in life sciences, and we are very proud to support their research internships”.

“Together with the founders of SpecificiT, we are pleased of this opportunity and congratulate both recipients on being awarded with the Gordon Shore Prize. We look forward to having Dr. Shilpa Chennakrishnaiah on our team” said Marc Lussier, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer of SpecificiT Pharma Inc.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to contribute to this first edition of the Gordon Shore Prize of Excellence, a milestone for the life sciences ecosystem. The Immune Biosolutions team joins me in heartily congratulating the two recipients and we are looking forward to welcoming Ms. Jodoin in our ranks!” said Frédéric Leduc, PhD, CEO of Immune Biosolutions Inc.


About de Gordon Shore Prize
Gordon Shore was an exceptional scientist who dedicated his career to cancer research. Internationally known for his research on cell survival and death mechanisms, he was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University and member of the Rosalind & Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre. Professor Shore was not only an outstanding scientist but also an accomplished entrepreneur who has made the link between industry and academia to advance biopharmaceutical research. Sadly, Gordon passed away on September 7, 2018 after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. Created by CQDM, Diazon Pharmaceuticals, the Oncopole and Mitacs in memory of this outstanding individual, the Gordon Shore Prize is awarded to new graduates whose masters or doctoral thesis demonstrated their research excellence in the life science field. A 6-month post-diploma internship of $24,000 is offered to each of the awardees by Quebec-based companies. This award aims to support a training opportunity in industrial research that will facilitate new graduates’ transition from academia to industry.

About CQDM
CQDM is a biopharma-based research consortium created in 2008 with the mission to fund the development of innovative technologies to accelerate the drug discovery and development. Its business model is based on a collaborative approach bringing together world-leading pharmaceutical organizations, Canadian biotech companies as well as the Canadian and Quebec governments who share the costs of the research. CQDM uses this leverage to reduce the risks inherent to early-stage biopharmaceutical research. In doing so, CQDM bridges the funding gap needed to drive innovation across the academic and private sectors, especially where early-stage research is concerned. Over the last 10 years, CQDM has benefited from the contribution of 13 industrial members: that includes Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca as founding members as well as Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly Canada, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Novartis Pharma Canada, Roche, Sanofi Canada, Servier, Takeda and now Amgen. CQDM also received contributions from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) and from the Government of Canada under the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence Program (BL-NCE). Since 2008, CQDM has supported the development of 64 outstanding innovative technologies totaling $68 M in funding. These R&D projects, carried out by 1,200 scientists from 69 different research institutions (38 public and 31 private) across Canada, have generated numerous economic benefits for all the stakeholders of the life science ecosystem. For more information: https://cqdm.orgen.

About Diazon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Diazon Pharmaceuticals, a Montreal-based company, is developing the onco-therapeutic DZ-2384 that targets a proven therapeutic pathway in oncology, but one whose potential in modern cancer therapy has been severely restricted due to unacceptable toxicities. DZ-2384 overcomes this restriction by modulating microtubule structure and dynamics in a distinct way, delivering potent anti-tumor efficacy with a superior safety profile. The company was founded in 2013 by researchers at UCLA and McGill University. For more information: http://www.diazonpharmaceuticals.com.

About the Oncopole
The Oncopole is a Quebec hub for research, development and investment to accelerate the fight against cancer. Created in February of 2017, it is the product of a unique co-creation process led by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) and made possible by an initial $15M investment from Merck Canada. The Oncopole’s mission is to act as a catalyst leveraging actions made by the key players in Quebec’s oncology and innovation research ecosystem. As a result, it aims to position the province as a leader in the field. Its priorities of action, namely research, entrepreneurship, commercialization and integration of innovation, as well as clinical relevance, are orchestrated in order to foster the mobilization of Stakeholders, the discovery of innovative approaches to fight cancer and, ultimately, a positive impact for the benefit of patients. For more information, go to: oncopole.ca

About Mitacs
Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that has fostered growth and innovation in Canada for business and academia for 19 years. Working with more than 60 universities, 4,000 companies, and both federal and provincial governments, they build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. Funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec along with all provinces, and with Canadian universities, Mitacs internships and fellowships connect companies and organizations with researchers to advance innovation and support growth. For more information, please see: https://www.mitacs.ca/en


For additional information:

Diane Gosselin
President and CEO
(514) 594-7286

Diazon Pharmaceuticals
Michael Dixon
(514) 564-6474 x222

Renaldo Battista
Executive Director
(514) 343-7894

Jesse Vincent-Herscovici
VP Business Development
(514) 865-4228


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