CDRD has successfully spun out many companies based on innovative technologies that aim to solve unmet medical needs.
Kairos Therapeutics (est. 2013)
In 2010, CDRD extended its drug development platform to include biologics. With $900k in catalytic funding from Western Economic Diversification, the CDRD Biologics Division was established to discover and develop new monoclonal antibody therapies against novel molecular targets to provide a rich pipeline of novel commercially viable new drugs. John Babcook, previously a founder of ImmGenics (acquired by Amgen for over $100M) came to CDRD specifically to develop a novel antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) platform that could form the basis of a new world-leading company. The CDRD spin-off, Kairos Therapeutics was launched in 2013 as a direct outcome, and is based on novel toxin and linker inventions discovered, developed and validated at CDRD. In early 2016, Kairos was acquired by BC-based Zymeworks – a transaction that resulted in the creation of Canada’s largest biologics company and significant potential financial returns for CDRD. Since that time, Zymeworks has attracted almost $100M of further investment into Canada based partially on the Kairos platform.
Precision Nanosystems Inc. (est. 2010)
Precision Nanosystems Inc. (PNI) creates innovative solutions for the discovery, development, and manufacture of novel nanoparticles for use as medicines and in medical research. Last fall, the company successfully attracted a $13.4M Series A investment led by US-based venture firms. PNI was recognized by LifeSciencesBC as BC’s 2016 Growth Stage MedTech Company of the Year, and is projecting sales of $5-10M this year. PNI has recently announced the opening of its new 20,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters in Vancouver housing R&D, product development, contract manufacturing, technical support, sales and marketing, and business development functions.
Sitka BioPharma (est. 2013)
Sitka BioPharma, with its mucoadhesive drug delivery platform is a tremendous example of multiple Canadian institutions coming together to advance a technology that otherwise would have been stalled. This collaboration included UBC’s Drs. Helen Burt, Don Brooks, Jay Kizhakkedathu, Alan So, and Dr. Martin Gleave, a world-leading urologist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre/PC-TRiADD. CDRD advanced the platform by carrying out extensive drug development activities to support pre-clinical proof of concept and selection of a lead candidate, filing patents, and securing funding to support these development activities. Sitka has raised private seed investment to advance its lead bladder cancer treatment into clinical trials – and has entered into an agreement with Cancer Research UK and Research Technology (CRT), the charity’s commercial arm, to support clinical development.
Zucara Therapeutics (est. 2016)
Zucara Therapeutics, a spin-off company from CDRD and MaRS Innovation is advancing a technology that is showing promise as a long-term therapeutic approach for the prevention of hypoglycemia in insulin-dependent diabetics, a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Severe hypoglycemic episodes can be life-threatening and are particularly feared by diabetic patients. These effects mean hypoglycemia impacts the incidence of complications of diabetes, including cardiovascular effects, which dramatically affect patient health and the cost of care. Over decades of research, Drs. M. Riddell (York U.), M. Vranic (U. of Toronto) and D. Coy (Tulane) developed compelling evidence that cells in the pancreas playing a key role in the regulation of hypoglycemia via glucagon production are impaired in Type 1 diabetes. Critical drug development work was then carried out at CDRD which also acted as commercial co-lead alongside MI.
Sepset Biosciences (est. 2016)
Sepset Biosciences is developing a novel rapid diagnostic test based on ground-breaking work led by renowned UBC researcher Dr. Bob Hancock, that will enable healthcare professionals to provide earlier diagnosis and treatment of sepsis patients in order to reduce morbidity and mortality. Sepsis kills over 12,000 Canadians per year and Sepset believes that earlier diagnosis could decrease deaths by an estimated 33% or ~4,000 in Canada. Infectious disease testing (including sepsis) is one of the fastest growing molecular diagnostic segments representing approximately $2B globally per year. Sepset’s blood-based test works by detecting a unique biomarker signature based on the body’s immune response rather than the presence of a pathogen. The results of initial clinical studies show this to be a very promising approach so the company is now in the process of advancing to larger multi-centre, multi-country trials.