Transforming Discovery into Opportunity

CDRD to Capitalize on Exciting New Therapeutic & Market Opportunity through Support from Western Economic Diversification Canada

Vancouver, BC – March 2nd, 2015:  Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WD), announced that The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) has been awarded $2,167,000 to support the development and commercialization of innovative immunotherapy treatments for human disease.

Through this unique Immunotherapy Initiative, CDRD will collaborate with academic and private sector partners to develop new technologies, and potentially identify new targets for immunotherapy. The funding will support CDRD in acquiring specialized equipment and building further capacity to develop these novel treatments across a broad therapeutic spectrum.

In making the announcement, the Honourable Michelle Rempel commented, “Our Government is proud to support projects such as this with exciting potential for the development of innovative new treatments for disease. In addition, we are creating opportunities for growth in British Columbia’s dynamic life sciences sector.”

CDRD’s President and CEO Karimah Es Sabar added, “Funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada has enabled us to expand our capacity in this exciting and rapidly expanding area of drug development, and we sincerely appreciate the support the federal government has shown us to date. Not only has it created highly skilled jobs, but it has enabled our establishment as a world-leading translational centre that continues to provide Canadian researchers access to viable new commercialization opportunities.”

Immunotherapy is a powerful therapeutic approach that uses the human body’s immune system to treat disease by inducing or suppressing an immune response. Unlike traditional pharmaceutical drugs which directly target or interact with affected cells, immunotherapy harnesses the power of the immune system to kill cancer cells or suppress inflammation and the effect can be long-lasting, without the need for frequent therapies. Therefore, immunotherapy has the potential to effectively treat cancer and other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

As Canada’s only fully-integrated national, not-for-profit drug development and commercialization centre, CDRD is advancing Canada’s research, development, innovation and commercialization priorities; and will use this funding to then leverage additional public and private sector investments. It builds on a previous $900,000 investment in 2011 by WD to seed the establishment of CDRD’s Biologics Division – an investment which has already yielded:

  • The establishment of a world-leading Biologics Division, including the hiring of 12 new full-time equivalents (FTEs), and the creation of three new trainee positions;
  • Over 300 academic biologics projects evaluated for their commercial potential;
  • 12 collaborative biologics projects undertaken with academic investigators
  • $5.76M raised from public and private sector partners to support these 12 biologics projects;
  • One new proprietary technology developed in-house (Antibody Drug Conjugate platform), and one highly-promising new biologics spin-off company created, Kairos Therapeutics based on this technology.

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About The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD):
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. 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).

Julia White
Manager, Communications
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
Direct: (604) 827-1226
Mobile: (604) 307-2372

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