CQDM, the Canadian Cancer Society and Theratechnologies grant $1.7M to UQAM for the development of a new therapy targeting the most aggressive form of breast cancer
Montreal, October 4, 2019. – CQDM, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and Theratechnologies, is proud to announce that it will be granting $1.7M to Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) to develop a new therapeutic approach for breast cancer. Professor Borhane Annabi and his team from UQAM’s molecular oncology laboratory will conduct the research in collaboration with Theratechnologies, a Quebec-based pharmaceutical company. The CQDM funds ($752K) are awarded as part of the SynergiQc Program, with the financial support of the Quebec Government’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI).
These funds will help develop a new technology targeting over-expressed proteins in cancer cells, using them as a gateway to deliver drugs within these cells. Preliminary results already indicate that this approach improves the efficacy of existing drugs while reducing their side effects. The objective of Pr. Annabi’s research is to demonstrate the efficacy of this approach in treating triple-negative breast cancer, a very aggressive form of cancer found in 15 to 20% of women with the disease. Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer among women in Canada.
Ultimately, this research project will allow Theratechnologies to undertake the first clinical study in women with triple negative breast cancer. This funding offers Theratechnologies the means to diversify its product portfolio by developing innovative therapeutic approaches targeting markets, such as oncology, beyond its current activities in the anti-infective field.
“Québec has undeniable expertise in the life sciences sector, a skilled workforce and a pool of expert researchers in several high-tech sectors. In addition, we can count on a stimulating research environment that allows the realization of high-potential studies such as that of Professor Borhane Annabi. The Government of Quebec is pleased to support this work, which will undoubtedly contribute to improving the quality of life of many Quebec women and their families” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Lanaudière Region.
“Montreal boasts a large contingent of breast cancer researchers and their expertise is widely recognized. We are very proud to support, in partnership with CQDM and the biotech Theratechnologies, the work of Pr. Borhane Annabi and his team at UQAM in the next years, said Denis Lalonde, Executive Director, Quebec, of the CCS. It pays to invest in research. Today, 88% of women diagnosed with breast cancer a still alive five years after their diagnosis. We hope that Professor Annabi’s project will help all women with triple negative breast cancer achieve this milestone.”
“The funds provided by CQDM and the Canadian Cancer Society reflect the tremendous interest generated by our targeted oncology technology platform. Their contribution is greatly appreciated and further validates our enthusiasm for this unique technology. We are still planning to launch human studies by the end of 2020,” said Luc Tanguay, President and Chief Executive Officer, Theratechnologies Inc.
“CQDM is very pleased to support this project which should bring us closer to finding a cure for the most aggressive form of breast cancer. We are relying on the world-class innovative spirit and expertise of Professor Annabi and Theratechnologies to bring this new drug from bench to bedside as quickly as possible”, said Diane Gosselin, President and CEO of CQDM.
CQDM is a biopharma-based research consortium created in 2008 with the mission to fund the development of innovative technologies to accelerate 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: 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 77 outstanding innovative technologies totaling $93M in funding. These R&D projects carried out by 1,200 scientists from 83 different research institutions (40 public and 43 private) across Canada, have generated numerous economic benefits for all the stakeholders of the life science ecosystem. For more information: http://www.cqdm.org/en.