CQDM is an industrial research consortium whose mission is to:
- Finance innovation in the biopharmaceutical field
- Accelerate the discovery and development of drugs and vaccines
- Promote collaborations between academia, SMEs and large pharmas to develop technologies with added value for companies that offer a world-class competitive edge
In the biopharmaceutical sector, innovation depends on the pooling of knowledge and cutting-edge expertise, all of which are critical to developing products. In fact, CQDM has funded 100 projects that have given rise to 335 public-private partnerships.
Collaborative research is critical to rebuilding the economy
Collaborative research helps companies access:
- Top academic experts to carry out their R&D projects
- Cutting-edge laboratories and equipment
- Highly skilled personnel that can later join their ranks
- Scientific knowledge of KOLs from academia and large pharmas that will help them to innovate
- A multidisciplinary approach that produces groundbreaking and disruptive technologies
Collaborative research enables companies to:
- Accelerate product development and drive their R&D efforts
- Diversify their product pipeline
- Create unique and disruptive products, services, and technologies
- Develop world-class technologies
- Boost productivity, market competitiveness and income
- Access new local and international markets
With CQDM’s funding and support for collaborative research, companies in the biopharmaceutical sector have succeeded in innovating and developing:
- 415 research tools that accelerate the pace of drug discovery;
- more than 30 new high-performance diagnostic tools.
- Currently being developed: highly innovative and globally competitive therapeutics (>130) and vaccines (19).
Advancements also include value-added services that address unmet medical needs, such as improving drug formulation or targeted drug delivery systems. To date, many of these products have not yet reached completion due to the lengthy process of biopharmaceutical development. Some are in preclinical or clinical phase, while others have become flagship products upon achieving key milestones.
CQDM is a biopharmaceutical consortium to which 13 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies have contributed.
The transformative effects of their financial and in-kind participation include the following:
- CQDM has developed a vast worldwide network of pharmaceutical partners that work closely with Quebec researchers and companies.
- In addition to co-funding many R&D projects, pharmas allow us to develop the most competitive technologies worldwide.
- Several CQDM-funded projects have given rise to partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry, supported by significant investments.
- Our mentoring program has helped local companies benefit from sound advice offered by major international pharmas, thereby improving their innovation potential and competitiveness.
- Successful collaborations that endure and help maintain world-class R&D in Quebec.
The synergy created by these collaborations increases our international competitiveness in the biopharmaceutical sector and maintains our strategic and competitive advantage in our niches of excellence such as artificial intelligence, oncology, and neuroscience. It also helps us develop new emerging markets such as digital health, while stimulating the economy via national and foreign investment.
The development of biopharmaceuticals is a long and costly process. Innovation is a high-risk activity, especially when the technology is still at an early stage. As a result, companies struggle to secure private capital for early-stage technologies.
The financial leverage generated by CQDM funds facilitates the development of high-risk high-reward technologies for which co-financing partners (companies, pharmas, foundations, etc.) share the risks and costs. CQDM bridges the gap between discovery and private capital by providing the initial funds to reach the key initial milestones that will attract private capital:
- The leverage generated by CQDM and its funding partners is more than threefold, attracting $3.40 in R&D for every dollar invested by the MEI.
- CQDM has invested $190 million in R&D toward the development of biopharmaceutical tools, products, and technologies.
- In turn, these funds provided by CQDM and its co-financing partners have produced a significant impact by attracting $425 million in follow-on investments, a leverage effect of 11.2 x.
- Therefore, every dollar invested by MEI attracts $11.20 in follow-on investments.
Importantly, this leverage effect fuels the economic recovery by drawing private funds that support the maturation of technologies into marketable products.
READ IMV’S SUCCESS
IMV’s collaborative project with Dr. Yves Fradet and Merck:
Development of a new class of immunotherapy for bladder cancer using IMV’s drug delivery platform
IMV developed a technology that generates a targeted, robust, and sustained immune response. This versatile platform called DPX is designed to introduce various targets to the immune system. The Company uses this proprietary technology to develop new classes of immunotherapies and vaccines.
IMV’s most advanced treatment is an immunotherapy shown to be effective in treating ovarian cancer as a single-agent therapy, as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in combination of Merck’s pembrolizumab antibody.
To determine if this combination therapy could be used to treat bladder cancer, IMV has partnered with clinical researcher Yves Fradet and Merck. Dr. Fradet is conducting an exploratory clinical trial to confirm if the combination elicits an immune response in bladder cancer patients. This unique combination of IMV’s targeted technology with Merck’s antibody could potentially make this approach more effective than currently available treatments, while minimizing side effects.
This project would not have been possible without this trilateral collaboration that brings together cutting-edge knowledge, innovative treatments and hand-picked expertise: not only is Dr. Fradet an expert in immunotherapy, he is also an uro-oncologist responsible for heading this arm of IMV’s clinical trial. This exploratory study also offers Merck the opportunity to validate its products in a potentially new indication. This project could strengthen IMV’s position as a leader in cancer immunotherapy, while affording the Company a significant competitive advantage in bladder and other cancers. Patients would ultimately draw the most benefit by accessing new and more effective treatments against bladder cancer, with fewer side effects.
VLPExpressTM, a discovery platform for new vaccines and therapeutic antibodies, exemplifies the exceptional impact of the support provided by CQDM and a group of partners to develop a therapeutic research and development tool. The first product from this platform is a seasonal influenza vaccine currently undergoing Health Canada approval. VLPExpressTM has also generated a pipeline of approximately ten candidate vaccines and therapeutic antibodies that now extends well beyond the fight against influenza.
A genuine success, VLPExpressTM has demonstrated the breadth of its power during the current COVID-19 pandemic by developing in as little as 20 days a candidate vaccine that has now reached the clinical phase. As the benefits and impacts of the project continue to multiply, they demonstrate the importance of supporting initiatives that stimulate research and innovation, which ultimately leads to the development of tools addressing unmet medical needs.
Feldan Therapeutics has developed a drug delivery system called the “Feldan Shuttle” designed for the targeted delivery of therapeutic agents into cells to treat, prevent or cure many diseases.
While discussing opportunities with experts from the pharmaceutical community through CQDM, Feldan Therapeutics considered a bold R&D project proposed by one of them. This high-risk high-reward exploratory research project was made possible with funding from CQDM and five pharmas that were interested in the potential impacts of the study. In fact, the outcomes of the project have generated significant interest from the pharmaceutical industry, as such a drug delivery system could improve the effectiveness of their existing treatments.
With the sound advice offered by pharmaceutical industry KOLs as part of the mentoring program, companies aligned their innovations with worldwide market needs, thereby positioning their technology early in the process with leading pharmaceutical stakeholders. The relationships and partnerships established with pharmas build value for companies as they establish numerous lucrative collaborations, for example by adapting a given technology to the specific needs of the pharmaceutical industry. In turn, this promotes future collaborations that feed the growth of companies.