Transforming Discovery into Opportunity

The Centre for Drug Research and Development Appoints Two Leading Health Researchers as Co-Scientific Directors

Vancouver, Canada – January 23, 2014: The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre (a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)) headquartered in Vancouver is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. T. Michael Underhill,  Professor in UBC’s Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine; and Dr. Michael A. Rudnicki, Senior Scientist and Director of the Regenerative Medicine Program and the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute as Co-Scientific Directors effective March 1st, 2014.

Located in Vancouver and Ottawa respectively, Dr. Underhill and Dr. Rudnicki will further strengthen CDRD’s national focus on Canada’s drug development and commercialization landscape, and offer a critical link to the academic health research community across the country. Dr. Underhill, a co-founder of three biotechnology start-up companies, currently also serves as Chair of CDRD’s Target Validation Division, is a member of the organization’s Executive Committee, and has successfully acted as Interim Scientific Director since Dr. Michel Roberge stepped down from the position last year. Dr. Rudnicki is also a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics, Scientific Director of the Stem Cell Network, and is a co-founder of three biotechnology companies. He was recently appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for contributing to scientific breakthroughs in the area of muscle development, and for his leadership in stem cell research.

CDRD President and CEO, Karimah Es Sabar commented, “We are thrilled that these two world-leading scientists have enthusiastically agreed to dedicate a large portion of their time as our Co-Scientific Directors while still maintaining each of their respective research programs within academia. We look forward to the valuable perspectives and insight they will bring to CDRD as we continue to expand our national and international collaborations, and the support we provide to Canadian health researchers to advance their discoveries towards commercialization.”

Dr. Michael Underhill remarked, “For me personally, I am proud to have been involved with CDRD in various capacities since its founding; including as a PI whose research has been advanced through the great work done there. Each of these roles has proven to be highly rewarding, but I am particularly pleased to now be working with Dr. Rudnicki, and stepping into this new role, as its primary function is liaising directly with CDRD’s network of fellow PIs across the country to add value to their discoveries, and ultimately commercialize these innovations as new therapeutics.”

Dr. Michael Rudnicki added, “I am honoured to be joining this world-class organization, and working as a member of the CDRD team. Together we will strive to provide a continued and vital national link between CDRD’s academic partner organizations in both western and eastern Canada, and the Principal Investigators with whom CDRD collaborates. It has been these investigators who have provided the amazing breakthrough discoveries that are the foundation of everything CDRD does, so I personally look forward to further building these relationships and supporting the cutting-edge research they are carrying out.”


About 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).


For additional information, please contact:

Barry Gee
Director, Communications
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
Direct: (604) 827-1223

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