The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MSSC) are continuing their partnership aimed at accelerating preclinical development of novel therapies for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). To achieve this goal, the organizations together are seeking pre-proposals from academic investigators for collaborative projects aimed at developing new disease-modifying therapies for progressive MS. Such therapies may include novel approaches to effectively modulating the immune system, promoting remyelination, repairing existing damage and/or protecting neurons to positively impact the progressive forms of the disease.
Background and Purpose
In the past 20 years, there has been significant progress in the development of therapeutics for relapsing-remitting MS, resulting in ten Health Canada-approved disease-modifying therapies. Despite this success, patients living with progressive MS still have no effective disease-modifying therapies available to them. Progressive MS is the slow accumulation of disability that either follows the relapsing-remitting stage (secondary progressive MS) or manifests without a history of acute attacks (primary progressive MS). Without treatment options, those living with progressive MS face an inevitable decline in health that usually begins during the most productive years of their lives. In collaboration with the MSSC, CDRD is seeking to build new collaborations that will facilitate and expedite the discovery and development of new disease-modifying therapies for the treatment of progressive MS.
CDRD and the MSSC are looking to support preclinical development of novel therapeutic small molecules or biologics that will promote remyelination, stop or delay the progression of neuronal damage, repair accumulated damage to the CNS or modify disease progression in other ways. Also of interest are diagnostic biomarkers and new disease models which have the potential to expedite the preclinical and clinical development of new therapeutics. New collaborative projects will have potential for clinical development yet have some critical outstanding questions that can be answered by collaborative experimental work in both the investigator’s laboratory and at CDRD.
Supporting New Collaborative Projects
The partnership between CDRD and the MSSC represents an opportunity for researchers at the cutting edge of MS research to move their technologies through preclinical development and facilitate translation to patients. Please note that CDRD is NOT a granting agency. However, CDRD DOES provide drug development and commercialization expertise, specialized facilities and a fully-integrated development platform to enable researchers to identify and advance promising drug candidates in a collaborative manner. CDRD’s platform supports each stage of the preclinical drug development process from target validation, high-throughput drug screening, medicinal chemistry and drug delivery to non-GLP pharmacology/toxicology. Our biologics division specializes in therapeutic antibodies, the fastest growing class of new medicines.
Unlike traditional grant-in-aid or sponsored research grants which are typically developed by the investigator alone, CDRD will work with successful applicants to develop a full Collaborative Project Plan addressing the next critical activities that are required to progress the technology towards the clinic. This type of collaborative effort has been designed to enable academic investigators to advance development of their technologies much further than typical grant funding strategies would allow.
Through these Collaborative Projects, CDRD and the MSSC seek to provide Investigators with access to expertise and infrastructure available at CDRD that complements the resources currently available to Investigators in order to maximize the chances of turning promising discoveries into clinical candidates.
CDRD collaborators also have access to a dedicated and distinct commercialization vehicle, CDRD Ventures Inc. (CVI) which can subsequently bring additional commercialization resources (including further expertise, commercial mentorship, strategic partners, and seed funding) to the technology should CVI and the Investigator opt to enter into a further partnership.
Who May Apply?
Any academic investigator who is eligible under the policies of their host institution may submit a pre-proposal. To address any questions concerning eligibility or how CDRD and the MSSC may be able to help advance their discoveries, investigators are encouraged to contact Dr. Nicolette Honson (firstname.lastname@example.org) before submitting their pre-proposal. Investigators who are interested in applying for an operating research grant should apply directly to the MSSC.
Intellectual Property Status
It is not necessary to have filed a patent application in order to collaborate with CDRD. However, the technology that is the subject of a Collaborative Project must be unencumbered, i.e., rights in the technology cannot have been granted or optioned to a third party by the applicant or their host institution. CDRD Projects are collaborative in nature, and ownership of any new IP created in the course of a CDRD Project is determined by inventorship. In each of its projects, CDRD works with the Investigator and institution to bundle and maximize protection for the technology under development in order to establish a commercially attractive technology package that can attract further investment and interest in clinical development.
Application and Review Process
The review process will be managed by CDRD and guided by the input of additional experts nominated by the MSSC.
- March 31st 2015: Pre-proposal submission opens.
- April 30th 2015, 17:00 Pacific Standard Time: Pre-proposal submission closes. The pre-proposal submission is comprised of a project title and three-hundred word NON-CONFIDENTIAL summary. Please note that ALL PRE-PROPOSALS WILL BE TREATED AS NON-CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. Pre-proposals must be submitted electronically to email@example.com. Early submission of the pre-proposal is encouraged.
- May 15th 2015: Notification of selection of successful pre-proposals. Applicants who have submitted a successful pre-proposal will be contacted by CDRD, and will be asked to enter into a confidentiality agreement with CDRD to enable submission of a subsequent full Collaborative Project Proposal (template to be provided upon notification)
- June 1st 2015, 17:00 Pacific Standard Time: Deadline for submission of Collaborative Project Proposal. Proposals must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
- June 30th 2015: Notification of selection of successful Collaborative Project Proposals.
- July 1st- August 31st 2015: Co-development of Collaborative Project Plan between investigators and CDRD. For technologies selected by CDRD and the MSSC, the investigator(s), in collaboration with CDRD, will develop a proposed Project Plan and budget to undertake the critical experiments needed to advance the technology. It is anticipated that activities outlined in the Collaborative Project Plan will encompass activities leveraging the infrastructure and expertise available at CDRD in addition to the expertise (e.g. unique models and assays) existing in the investigator’s and potentially other collaborators’ laboratories. All Project Plans are subject to review by the MSSC’s Medical Advisory Committee and approval by the MSSC’s National Board of Directors prior to funding.
- October 2015: Anticipated project start date.
For additional questions or assistance, please contact:
Nicolette Honson, Ph.D.
Project Search and Evaluation Team,
+1 (604) 827-1116
The Centre for Drug Research and Development,
2405 Wesbrook Mall, Fourth Floor,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3
CDRD is Canada’s fully-integrated national drug development and commercialization centre, providing expertise and infrastructure to enable researchers from leading health research institutions to advance promising early-stage drug candidates in a collaborative manner. Its mandate is to de-risk discoveries stemming from publicly-funded health research and transform them into viable investment opportunities for the private sector — thus successfully bridging the commercialization gap between academia and industry, and translating research discoveries into new therapies for patients. Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program has recognized CDRD as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). www.cdrd.ca
About the MSSC
Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. It is the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. The MSSC provides services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. Please visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 for more information.
This call for Collaborative Projects and your submission of a pre-proposal does not commit CDRD or the MSSC to select any Collaborative Project or Applicant, to enter into any agreements with any Applicant or to conduct any project with any Applicant. CDRD and the MSSC reserve the right to reject any or all Collaborative Project Proposals at any time, and to terminate this call for Collaborative Projects at any time.
In providing CDRD personal information in the course of your application, you consent to the collection and use by CDRD, CDRD Ventures Inc., and the MSSC of such information for the purposes of evaluating, awarding, and managing relevant projects. We will use and protect personal information in accordance with applicable privacy law.