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Novel Non-Invasive Laser-Assisted Intraocular Drug Delivery System for an Efficient and Selective Gene Transfer Therapy

Challenge: Retinal degenerative diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, are the leading causes of vision loss and affect tens of millions of individuals in the world. Emerging solutions with nucleic acids and therapeutic genes show promise. However, there remains a void in effective and non-invasive drug delivery systems for the back of the eye, which has hindered the … Read More

Wednesday September 12th, 2018


Drug delivery: silencing RNAs using exosomes

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2014 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Beginning: June 2015 Early research has shown that a new type of molecule called silencing RNAs could be readily designed to silence or inhibit virtually any gene in a very specific and powerful manner. This in turns eliminates the expression of the protein encoded by this gene. Because most diseases … Read More


RecyTag technology for extended half-lives of small biologics

  Competition: Programme EXPLORE 2013 Funding: $499,000 / 2 years Platform technology aimed at increasing the half–life of small biologics by conjugating FcRn-binding molecules. Protein-based therapeutics, also called biologics, have recently made significant inroads into the pharmaceutical market, and are being used to treat chronic diseases and cancer. In addition to acting potently and specifically on their molecular targets, efficacious … Read More


Development of a rapid, sensitive and specific assay for immunogenicity detection of therapeutic biologics

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2013 Funding: $310,000 / 2 years Beginning: September 2014 Immunogenicity can be a problem when treating patients with biologics, which can result in anti-drug antibody (ADA) production. ADA can reduce the bioavailability of the biologics and cause adverse clinical events. There is a need in the pharmaceutical industry for assays to detect immunogenicity of biologics. It … Read More


Genetic interactions studies to better establish efficacious drug targets

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2014 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Beginning: June 2015 A major challenge for pharmaceutical companies is identifying efficacious drug targets. Genetic interactions, where the effects of disrupting multiple genes at once are measured, enable unbiased interrogation of functional relationships between any genes of interest. When applied to many genes systematically, an interaction network emerges, and this … Read More

Tuesday September 11th, 2018


Measuring cardiac cell contraction to identify new therapies and predict cardiac toxicity

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2015 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Beginning: April 2016 Current therapies for heart failure primarily relieve disease symptoms, but most fail to correct the underlying organ dysfunction. New therapies, which are able to target and improve cardiomyocyte function, are challenging to develop, owing significantly to the complex functions of heart muscle and the difficultly in modeling … Read More


Mammalian Membrane Two Hybrid (MaMTH), an innovative technology for drug discovery

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2014 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Beginning: June 2015 Igor Stagljar and his team have worked over the last 12 years to understand how interactions among a special class of proteins, called membrane proteins, produce either healthy or diseased cells. These proteins, which make up approximately one-third of all proteins in a cell, are responsible for … Read More


Three-Dimensional Liver Tissue Models for High-Throughput Screening of the Efficacy and Hepatotoxicity of Drugs

Challenge: Poor efficacy and unpredictable toxic effects are leading causes for the removal of drugs from the market. Many drugs act unpredictably in patients because the preclinical studies fail to accurately model human biology. In particular, the liver requires special attention as it is responsible for metabolizing drugs. Thus, improved liver models could identify and eliminate toxic and ineffective drugs … Read More


Using patient’s blood to develop a sensory neuron-based platform for new therapies to treat neuropathy

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2015 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Beginning: April 2016 A common side effect of life-saving anti-cancer chemotherapy is damage to specialized nerve cells called “sensory neurons”. These cells transmit information from the brain to every other part of the body for movement and awareness of our environment. The damage causes pain symptoms that are so severe … Read More


Monitoring Conformational Changes in Channel Proteins: A Novel Approach for Rapid Screening of Ion Channel Hits

Challenge: Ion channels are involved in numerous physiological functions, and as drug targets have been implicated in a wide range of pathological conditions. However, despite considerable effort, channel-targeted drug discovery has been hampered by the absence of adequate tools to functionally screen molecules that can modulate channel activity. Solution: The researchers have developed an innovative approach to identify compounds that … Read More


FlAsH-walk mapping: a step-by-step approach to GPCR conformation cartography

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2011 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Début : December 2011 (COMPLETED PROJECT) A library for G-protein coupled receptors sensors will be generated to analyze the conformational mapping of receptor dynamics upon binding and activation. Overview This project aims at generating a library for G-protein coupled receptors sensors to analyze the conformational mapping of receptor dynamics upon … Read More


Unlocking a class of challenging drug targets using a next generation screening and lead development platform technology

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2015 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Beginning: April 2016 Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) play a crucial role in nearly all cellular processes. Protein complexes have been implicated in many debilitating human diseases, from cancer to viral infections. PPIs generally contain broad, shallow, and relatively featureless binding sites, hence they have historically been perceived as ‘undruggable’ targets in … Read More


Plateforme pour l’enrichissement des cellules tumorales circulantes (CTC) pour la caractérisation et la sensibilité à des médicaments anticancéreux

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2012 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years (COMPLETED PROJECT) The major challenge in cancer therapy is to stop its progression to more advanced stages (metastasis) where the disease becomes resistant to most forms of therapeutic interventions. Understanding the mechanisms leading to metastasis is only beginning to emerge and is key to develop specific therapeutic interventions. Another complicating … Read More


Dimer Interference: A novel Approach to Develop Galectin-7-Specific Inhibitors to treat Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Challenge: Galectins are a family of lectin proteins implicated in tumor progression and immune evasion. When produced in excess by cancer cells, galectins can form homodimers and bind glycans on the surface of T cells. This suppresses the local and systemic immune response in patients, helping tumors to escape immune surveillance and limiting the efficacy of immuno-oncology treatments. To date, … Read More


Circumventing the need for predictive biomarkers in personalized ovarian cancer therapies: empirical chemosensitivity testing using a microfluidics-based multiplex platform

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2012 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Beginning: September 2014 (COMPLETED PROJECT) Ovarian cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Only a portion of women diagnosed with this cancer will respond to conventional drugs, and alternative therapies only work in some cases. In order to better tailor treatment, personalized medicine has turned to ‘markers’ … Read More


Facilitating Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery with Selective Inhibitors to Modulate the Protein Ubiquitination Process

Challenge: Human cells eliminate non-functional proteins using a sophisticated degradation pathway named the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), in which UPS enzymes attach a small protein called ubiquitin to damaged target proteins to tag them for degradation. However, abnormalities in protein degradation are frequently observed in many diseases, including cancer where aberrant control of protein degradation can lead to uncontrolled cell … Read More

Monday September 10th, 2018


Identification of T Cell Receptor Somatic Mutations Driving Autoimmunity in Human Rheumatoid Arthritis

Challenge: Somatic mutations are de novo non-inherited mutations which can be passed down to other cells through the course of cell division. Their role has been well-established in cancer. However, the presence of somatic mutations in non-malignant disease has never been explored since it is unlikely that a single point mutation would be sufficient to cause disease. Linking somatic mutations … Read More

Friday September 7th, 2018


New Processes Mimicking the Spray drying technique for the Preparation of Thermally Stable Vaccines

Challenge: The storage and worldwide distribution of vaccines represent complex issues for pharmaceutical companies due to vaccine instability at ambient temperatures. Spray drying is an established industrial processing technology for stabilizing many products as dried powders. Although studies have shown spray drying to be promising for preparing thermally stable vaccines in order to alleviate cold chain requirements, to date, no … Read More


A new platform to Assess Antigen Destruction and Evaluate the Efficacy of Immunotherapies and Vaccines

Challenge: The fight against cancer, infectious diseases and chronic disorders has been significantly advanced because of the development of effective immunotherapies, vaccines and immunomodulatory drugs. New pre-clinical tools to enable this new active field of drug discovery are needed further upstream in the discovery process. More functional and physiologically relevant readouts are necessary to address the lack of pre-clinical immunogenicity … Read More


Novel in silico-assisted Platform to Rapidly Enhance Specificity and Affinity of Therapeutic Antibodies Against Their Targets

Challenge: The design of superior biologic therapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies, single-domain antibodies, and engineered proteins requires optimizing their ability to bind to disease targets. Antibodies offer many advantages over small molecules in treating diseases, but the process for generating them is complex, expensive and often requires further steps of affinity maturation to achieve the desired level of potency. Molecular … Read More

Thursday September 6th, 2018


Detection of Molecular Interaction Field Similarities for the Rational Drug Design of Multi-Functional Inhibitors

Challenge: Binding promiscuity plays a major role in medicine as promiscuous drug interactions may lead to undesirable cross-reactivity effects. This represents a considerable challenge for the pharmaceutical industry. Drugs act by modulating the function of target proteins. However, additional off-site non-target proteins may also be affected due to similarities between binding sites. This unintentional effect may lead to the serendipitous … Read More

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