An economic stimulus for Quebec
Theratechnologies is a publicly traded Québec biopharmaceutical company that was founded in 1993. It successfully commercialized innovative treatments for HIV and is currently developing a treatment for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The company recently secured funding from CQDM, among others, in order to expand its innovative activities and accelerate the achievement of scientific milestones.
After focusing on HIV therapies for many years, Theratechnologies ventured into the cancer research sector by acquiring Katana Biopharma in 2019. Based in Montreal, Katana Biopharma is a university spin-off founded by UQAM Professor Borhane Annabi, a leading expert in the development of innovative cancer technologies who built the targeted drug screening oncology platform.
Theratechnologies is currently working with Professort Annabi’s lab to test new therapeutic approaches targeting sortilin-expressing cancers. This project is receiving financial support from CQDM and the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). Their approach focuses specifically on cancer cells expressing the sortilin receptor, a hallmark of many types of cancer. Their investigational compound, TH1902, is conjugated to a drug and delivers its payload to tumors by using sortilin as a gateway to penetrate cancer cells. This mechanism could improve the efficacy of anticancer treatments, while minimizing side effects in patients.
Their research recently confirmed in vivo efficacy of TH1902 against several types of cancers including ovarian, colon, pancreatic, endometrial, and skin cancer, as well as triple-negative breast cancer. The results to date a very promising. Specifically, sortilin-expressing cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer, are more difficult to treat and are associated with a higher risk of relapse.
As part of their collaboration, Theratechnologies and Professor Annabi pooled their expertise and created a unique approach to oncology treatments. The funds from CQDM and CCS allowed them to expand the scope of their research activities, to explore and develop opportunities which they might not otherwise have considered. Their collective efforts accelerated the development process from early-stage research to clinical testing in cancer patients. These key milestones foster the potential development and future growth of the company.