Last year, at the 2012 BIO International Convention, a partnership was launched between CQDM (Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery) and key partners from Ontario, including OCE, MaRS Innovation and the Ontario Brain Institute, to fund collaborative life sciences research projects between the two provinces. It builds upon existing strengths within the two provinces to increase innovation, productivity, investment and job creation. Within the sphere of influence of the Quebec-Ontario Life Sciences Corridor, CQDM launched, in 2012, its own Quebec-Ontario program. Two pilot projects have been then funded by CQDM and expressed the value of collaborative interprovincial efforts.
This year, two CQDM-OCE co-funded projects have been selected among eight under consideration. They are:
• A partnership between Drs Ozzy Mermut and Pascal Gallant from the Institut National d’Optique, Dr David W. Andrews from Sunnybrook Research Institute, Dr Qiyin Fang from McMaster University and Dr Richard Berman from Spectral Applied Research in Richmond Hill to develop a breakthrough fluorescence-based instrument to discover drugs affecting protein-protein interactions.
• A partnership between Dr Vincent Giguère from McGill University and Dr Henry Krause from InDanio Biosciences in Toronto to advance the development of an innovative zebrafish-based drug discovery platform for nuclear receptors targets with applications for cancer and metabolic diseases.
“ Collaborative research is essential since it makes it possible to explore new avenues while promoting the transfer of expertise. This is why the Québec government is proud to announce the creation of such a network between Québec and Ontario researchers. We have gradually instituted effective measures designed to share our two provinces’ advantages in the research sector. The next Québec research and innovation policy will in turn give concrete form to the objective of creating partnership networks that will strengthen the research communities,” said the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Pierre Duchesne.
“Seeking innovation is a difficult challenge. One of the goals of this Quebec-Ontario program is to answer this challenge by promoting collaboration between academic disciplines. The CQDM-OCE partnership is proudly enhancing innovation across Quebec-Ontario boundaries”, said Diane Gosselin, President and CEO at CQDM.
“These two projects highlight the tremendous potential of the Quebec-Ontario Life Sciences Corridor and will enhance the reputation of the life sciences industry in Canada’s two largest provinces,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation. “Important collaborations such as these bring new opportunities for innovation, investment and job creation that will benefit all Canadians.”
The Quebec-Ontario CQDM funding program is supporting collaborative research projects that seek to develop new tools for biopharmaceutical research. The program was open to all researchers in Quebec and Ontario from academic institutions or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Selected projects were eligible for up to $750K in funding for three years. CQDM funded the Quebec arm of the project.
“OCE is pleased that our projects have been recognized as important to this partnership,” said Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of OCE. “Through our academic and industry networks as well as our expertise in mentoring and project proposal preparation, we have been able to support candidates that will further develop their ideas to enable growth and innovation across the Ontario-Quebec Life Sciences Corridor.”
CQDM is a meeting ground for all stakeholders in biopharmaceutical research. Its principal mission is to fund research projects carried out in partnership between the academic and private sectors. An innovative Canadian initiative, CQDM has two major goals: to accelerate the drug discovery process and to develop safer and more effective drugs. CQDM is funded through contributions from Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca, Merck, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline Inc., Eli Lilly Canada Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) and the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie du Québec. For more information: www.cqdm.org.
About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (www.oce-ontario.org)
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, Ontario Centres of Excellence invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs. For more information visit www.oneinnovation.ca.
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Vice President, Business Development
July 5, 2013