Announcement – World Cancer Day


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CQDM Supports the Development of Three Promising Innovations in the Fight Against Cancer with Biopharmaceutical Companies Theratechnologies, Saydi Biotech and Roche.

Montreal, February 4, 2024 – On this World Cancer Day, CQDM is proud to contribute to the fight against this global scourge by announcing the funding of three R&D projects made possible thanks to a grant from the Government of Québec of more than $2.4 million. In many cases, cancer treatments are accompanied by serious side effects, have limited efficacy, and fail to prevent disease recurrence. To remedy this situation, local research teams are developing innovative therapeutic approaches and diagnostic tools that target the properties of cancer cells with the goal of ultimately improving the survival and quality of life of patients. CQDM invites you to discover these three collaborative research projects, which are being supported and executed in collaboration with Theratechnologies Inc., Saydi Biotech and Roche Canada for an overall investment of more than $12 million.

Transformative Advances in Targeted Colorectal Cancer Therapy

Chemotherapy used for colorectal cancer treatment is associated with serious side effects that often lead to treatment failure. To address this issue, the biopharmaceutical company Theratechnologies, in collaboration with Professor Borhane Annabi, chairholder of the Chair in Cancer Prevention and Treatment at the Université du Québec à Montreal, has been developing a unique peptide-anticancer drug conjugate platform that exploits the internalization functions of SORT1, a highly expressed biomarker in colorectal cancer cells. This project, valued at $7.9 million, is also supported by Theratechnologies and Mitacs.  It aims to demonstrate the efficacy of this groundbreaking treatment approach in significantly mitigating chemotherapy-related side effects, as well as to validate the safety of this novel targeted therapy for colorectal cancer.

A New Clinical Stage Targeted Cancer Therapy Platform

In a wide variety of cancers, the cellular defense mechanisms responsible for eliminating tumor cells are inhibited by molecules such as the MDM2 protein, making it a powerful potential therapeutic target. The Quebec company Saydi Biotech led by Dr. Gabi Hanna in collaboration with professors François-Xavier Lacasse of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Université de Montréal, and John Sampalis and Ramy Saleh of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, will work on a new genetically targeted therapy composed of a MDM2 inhibitor, with the hope of reestablishing the cells defense mechanisms against cancer to allow its eradication.  This collaborative project will make it possible to refine the formulation of the MDM2 inhibitor compound and to conduct a phase I clinical trial in 2024 for the benefit of Quebec Cancer patients. Ultimately, this project with a total value of $3.45 million, also supported by Saydi Biotech Inc., will enable the development of a new therapeutic approach, with the hope of treating incurable cancers.

Optimizing the Monitoring of Patients with DLBCL

Refractory or relapsed diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is frequently lethal because of resistance to chemotherapy. Patients who suffer from it can be treated effectively with a personalized treatment, but must be identified early, before having an excessively high tumor burden which reduces the chances of a cure. Roche Canada in partnership with Dr. Nathalie Johnson at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital will validate the use of circulating tumor DNA as a marker capable of detecting residual lymphoma or relapses. This project, with a total value of $650 000, funded with the partner company and the Jewish General Hospital Foundation, will be able to offer Quebec a new strategy for monitoring patients with DLBCL which could allow improvement of their cure rate and better use of hospital resources.

These three research projects demonstrate the extraordinary potential for innovation within the Québec life sciences industry. This vital sector of our economy is a source of pride for Québec”, said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development, and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region.

CQDM is proud to directly support these cancer research projects. These demonstrate a strong desire for collaboration between various institutions and companies, with the common objective of facilitating innovation and finding solutions to the disease. Since its creation 15 years ago, CQDM has supported more than 36 collaborative cancer research projects, for funding amounts totalling more than $187 million.” underlines Diane Gosselin, President and CEO of CQDM.

About CQDM

Facilitator of biopharma innovation

CQDM is a not-for-profit biopharmaceutical research consortium whose mission is to support and facilitate multi-stakeholder collaborative research and development aimed at accelerating the translation of innovative technologies into solutions that address unmet medical needs, while generating significant benefits for the Quebec and Canadian economy. For more information, please visit the website:

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Carl Baillargeon

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