Creation of the NĒOMED Institute: renewing biopharmaceutical research in Québec

AstraZeneca Canada and Pfizer Canada join forces with the Government of Québec to establish a new R&D model in the biopharmaceutical industry

MONTREAL, Nov. 23, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - AstraZeneca Canada and Pfizer Canada, two leaders in the country's biopharmaceutical industry, are forming a partnership with the Québec government to create the NĒOMED Institute, a new kind of life sciences research centre. A total of $100 million will be invested to establish and support the research centre over five years.

The NĒOMED Institute will act as a catalyst in two ways: first, by creating a bridge between academic research and the life sciences companies; second, by providing an environment that will create synergies between the main biotech industry players. The non-profit research hub will seek to bring key stakeholders in the research and development chain - including researchers, universities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, venture capital funds - under the same roof, working together in an open, collaborative environment. More than 100 highly qualified employees are expected to be working there when it reaches full capacity.

AstraZeneca Canada is donating $35 million to the NĒOMED Institute. This includes land, the neuroscience basic research facility, and leading-edge laboratory equipment. It also includes the donation of intellectual property to three AstraZeneca pain molecules and projects, as well as $5 million to support the activities of the institute. Pfizer Canada is providing a financial contribution of approximately $3.5 million, and the Québec government is contributing $28 million toward the project.

Based on a model which involves sharing knowledge, expertise and resources, the NĒOMED Institute aims to strengthen the life sciences sector in Québec by helping to stimulate research and collaboration, accelerate and facilitate the transition from academic research to the development of new drugs. It will also seek to attract investment by showcasing the results of local research to international investors.

"The cost of discovering new drugs keeps rising and pharmaceutical companies need to adapt," said Max Fehlmann, new President and CEO of the institute, which will be located in the former AstraZeneca building in the Saint-Laurent borough's technology park. He added: "The NĒOMED Institute, acting as a competitive actor in the drug development sector, will allow Québec's scientists to make the bridge between academic innovations and commercial opportunities in a better way."

For her part, Elaine Campbell, President, AstraZeneca Canada Inc., said: "Today's announcement is a strong testament to AstraZeneca's commitment to biopharmaceutical research and development in Quebec and Canada. Through the creation of the NĒOMED Institute, we're proud to be working in collaboration with our partners to advance drug discovery and bridge the innovation gap through to successful commercialization."   

Added John Helou, President of Pfizer Canada Inc.: "We are excited by NĒOMED because it exemplifies the type of partnership activity that is needed in our new R&D model.  NĒOMED complements our long-time Canadian R&D investment strategy which has been focussed on innovative partnerships."

About NĒOMED
NĒOMED is a not-for-profit organization that will pioneer a new approach to drug development as a public-private partnership with the Québec government and bio-pharmaceutical companies. NĒOMED is a response to the changing Pharma R&D business model: in view of the considerable gap between basic research and later-stage drug development, we seek to create a bridge. We will provide expertise and funding for academic labs and early biotechs, assisting them in bringing emerging therapeutic approaches to the stage of human proof of concept; at which point these de-risked projects will have gained significant value for NĒOMED's downstream partners. The NĒOMED Institute occupying the former AstraZeneca facility in the Technoparc Montréal is a biopharmaceutical research hub based on a new model where players in the life sciences ecosystem (pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, venture capitalists and contract research organizations (CROs)) will be co-located to facilitate innovation, collaboration and creativity. The institute and its partners will benefit from an impressive array of rare and highly specialized equipment in laboratories specifically designed for the discovery of small-molecule drugs.

About AstraZeneca Canada Inc.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. AstraZeneca's Canadian headquarters are located in Mississauga, Ontario. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.astrazeneca.ca.

About Pfizer Canada Inc.
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., the world's leading biopharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer Inc. invests more than US$7 billion annually in R&D to discover and develop innovative life-saving and life-enhancing medicines in a wide range of therapeutic areas. Our diversified healthcare portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small-molecule medicines and vaccines, and many of the world's best-known consumer products. For more information, visit www.pfizer.ca.

SOURCE: NEOMED Institute

For further information:

Source : 
Didier Jean-François
Vice-President, Business Development and
Marketing
NĒOMED Institute
1-514-402-5867
djfrancois@NĒOMED.ca

Carlo Mastrangelo
Director- Corporate Communications
AstraZeneca Canada
905-615-6865
carlo.mastrangelo@astrazeneca.com

Vincent Lamoureux
Director, Corporate Communications
Pfizer Canada
514-426-6841
vincent.lamoureux@pfizer.com

For information or interview requests:
Mathieu Lavallée
TACT Intelligence-Conseil
514-947-7628
mlavallee@tactconseil.ca