Our biopharmaceutical research mentorship program: a win-win collaboration

Biopharmaceutical Research Mentorship Program

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CQDM’s biopharmaceutical research mentorship program helps build relationships between researchers funded by CQDM and world-class scientists working for pharmaceutical companies.

To date, more than 120 biopharmaceutical research mentors across the world have contributed to the development of tools and technologies funded by CQDM in order to accelerate drug discovery and development

Getting the top minds on board

When it comes to research and development, scientists understand what it takes to turn a good idea into a success story. Mentors actively support researchers who are not afraid to think outside the box, thereby encouraging imaginative scientific breakthroughs.

The mentors of CQDM’s biopharmaceutical research mentorship program come from North America and Europe. As the ultimate end users of the breakthrough technologies being developed, it’s in their best interest to achieve optimal outcomes.  To ensure the success of the projects, our mentors meet with CQDM’s researchers at least twice a year. They provide industry-specific expertise and valuable resources, while promoting the technologies developed by their respective organizations.

Invaluable collaborations for researchers

“The mentorship program allows us to interact with scientists and better align the development of our projects with industry needs. They bring considerable value to our research.”

“Discussions with input from our mentors, both via formal meetings and otherwise, have been key to the success of our CQDM project. For example, we experienced technical difficulties with the miRNA profiling platform initially selected. Our mentors used their experience and networks to rapidly guide us toward a more reliable technology, which we are now successfully utilizing, saving us both time and money.”

“The collaborative approach of CQDM’s biopharmaceutical research mentorship program is unique. It helps move projects forward and builds lasting relationships between academic labs and pharmaceutical companies. In my own experience, the CQDM-funded research projects that I headed benefited greatly from the input provided by the mentors, both in terms of proximal goals and long-term directions. I have always liked the fact that CQDM funds risky, cutting-edge science. The biopharmaceutical research mentorship program aligns project goals and aspirations between the researchers and the companies funding this work in a pre-competitive spirit.”

“Our mentors have consistently provided key advice and support when dealing with important decisions. Their knowledge of the industry, its current goals, directions and problems, have provided important insights that have had a major impact on our strategies and areas of focus.”

Examples of benefits generated by the biopharmaceutical research mentorship program

CQDM’s biopharmaceutical research mentorship program creates value by focusing on synergies and collaboration while ensuring that the funded research is in tune with the needs of the industry. The following have emerged from the biopharmaceutical research mentorship program:

Professor Michel Bouvier and his team at the Université de Montreal have generated a family of biosensors that predict the efficacy and side effects of drugs that target G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), a large family of receptors at the origin of several drugs currently on the market. CQDM pharmaceutical partners already use in-house the biosensors developed by Professor Bouvier. Pfizer is also committed to invest substantial additional funds to develop a drug discovery platform based on these biosensors. The technology developed by Professor Bouvier has also led to the creation of a new service company based in Montreal.

Even before completing the project, Dr. Jocelyn Dupuis at the Montreal Heart Institute has galvanized the pharmaceutical industry with PulmoBind, a potential new biomarker for pulmonary hypertension, which prompted a pharmaceutical partner to exercise its licensing option. The project ultimately attracted a significant contribution when they concurrently undertook the development of a version adapted to positron emission tomography (PET).

Professor Matthias Götte and his team designed an innovative technology to identify drug development approaches targeting the eight herpes viruses. Their project opened new therapeutic alternatives in the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Michel Maziade at the Université Laval has identified new biomarkers to accurately diagnose patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This non-invasive technology uses the retina to access and control the central nervous system. In addition to its diagnostic capabilities, this technology can predict whether a patient will respond positively or negatively to a specific treatment. The technology can be used to quickly recruit patients for clinical trials and reduce recruitment time from months to weeks. An estimated $ 4.5 M cost savings for the pivotal trials. This technology also has great potential in the discovery of new drugs for clinical management of patients with schizophrenia.

CQDM’s financing allowed Caprion to work with the best researchers in the field of diabetes to discover markers that can track the function and mass of pancreatic cells from a blood sample and with high precision. This breakthrough will help better understand and predict the effect of drugs against diabetes. The technology can be used to rapidly identify patients with pre-diabetes in clinical trials, and to track the effectiveness of treatments at an early stage of the disease. Several pharmaceutical members of CQDM have already expressed interest in this technology. This project helped Caprion demonstrate the value of its proteomics platform and win major contracts with two large pharmas based in the United States. With this technology, Caprion also developed its own diagnostic division, which has created new jobs in the life sciences in Montreal.

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