Six research-based pharmaceutical companies combined efforts
to fund four highly innovative research projects
MONTREAL, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Consortium for Drug
Discovery (CQDM) is pleased to announce the recipients from its first
Explore competition. Four outstanding research projects will receive a
total of $1.2 million in financial support over the next two years.
The final selection was made through the collaboration six
research-based pharmaceutical companies who are founding members of the
Explore Program. They partnered to select innovative and
forward-thinking projects that could lead to advances in disruptive
technologies. The six pharmaceutical companies - AstraZeneca,
Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., Eli Lilly Canada, GlaxoSmithKline
Inc., Merck and Pfizer Canada - contribute to the program through
investment and by providing expertise in the form of mentorship. They
are all members of the Explore Advisory Committee of CQDM.
The chairman of the Explore Advisory Committee, Julie Edwards, Manager,
Scientific Affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. said that this
was an exceptional collaboration with six major companies working
together towards a common goal: the promotion and support of pre
competitive research for drug discovery. "More than 50 highly
innovative projects from Québec researchers were evaluated by
representatives of the pharmaceutical companies, who have used their knowledge and experience to select the projects
considered of scientific merit and greatest potential impact for the
industry," she said. "The projects selected in this competition are
very innovative and, through their diversity meet the major challenges
of the biopharmaceutical industry," said Max Fehlmann, President and
CEO of CQDM. "We are proud to help these talented researchers pursue
their research of which the projects chosen may have tremendous
potential for the development of new medicines," added Dr. Fehlmann.
The CQDM Explore competition received 51 proposals that were all
evaluated by the Explore Advisory Committee. The goal of this
competition is to support research projects directed towards the
validation of new non-traditional ideas that may either have a high
potential impact on the process of drug discovery or by discovering
novels drug targets.
The four projects are:
Terence Hébert (McGill University)
FlAsH-Walk Mapping: A Step-by-Step Approach to GPCR Conformation Cartography
This project aims at generating a library for G-protein coupled
receptors sensors to analyze the conformational mapping of receptor
dynamics upon binding and activation. For the first time, drug design
may benefit from the understanding of conformational dynamics which are
inherently ignored by the current structure-based design paradigms.
Rafael Najmanovich (Sherbrooke University)
Detection of Molecular Interaction Field Similarities and its Application in the Rational Drug Design
of Selective Multi-Functional Inhibitors
The aim of this project is to develop and validate a computational
program to detect similarities in the binding-sites of drugs. This
innovative approach may have applications in the design of drugs and
the prediction of protein function.
Enrico Purisima (National Research Council, Biotechnology Research Institute)
Virtual Affinity Maturation of Therapeutic Antibodies
This project aims at developing a novel platform to design antibodies
using an innovative computational technique allowing to model and
virtually optimize the interactions of antibodies with their target
molecules. This innovative technique promises to revolutionize the
discovery of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of a wide range
Brent Richards (McGill University)
Pinpoint Critical Drug Targets for Autoimmune Disease
The aim of this project is to identify somatic mutation sufficient for
the development of autoimmune diseases. The proof of concept will be
done on patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business
with a primary focus on the discovery, development and
commercialisation 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.
For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com
About Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical
companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, independent
family-owned Boehringer Ingelheim operates globally with more than
42,000 employees in 145 affiliates that include a network of research
and development facilities and production sites in 13 countries. Since
1885, Boehringer Ingelheim has been committed to researching,
developing, manufacturing and marketing innovative pharmaceuticals that
represent major therapeutic advances and improve human and animal
health. Our drug discovery focuses on six major therapeutic areas:
respiratory diseases, cardiometabolic diseases, oncology, neurological
diseases, immunology and infectious diseases. In 2010, Boehringer
Ingelheim posted net sales of 12.6 billion euro while investing almost
24% of net sales on research and development in prescription medicines,
its largest business segment.
Boehringer Ingelheim's Canadian operations are home to 700 employees
working for health across the country with headquarters in Burlington,
Ontario and a well-established state-of-the-art research centre in
Laval, Quebec where more than 140 scientists are dedicated to
infectious diseases research.
To learn more about Boehringer Ingelheim and its vision of Value through
Innovation, visit: www.boehringer-ingelheim.com.
About Eli Lilly Canada Inc.
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation is developing a growing
portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products
by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and
from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Lilly provides answers -
through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent
medical needs. Eli Lilly Canada, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario,
employs close to 500 people across the country. Additional information
about Eli Lilly Canada can be found at www.lilly.ca. Lilly employees are committed to fulfilling Lilly's mission of making
medicines that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a leading research-based pharmaceutical company
with a challenging and inspiring mission: to improve the quality of
human life by enabling people to do more, feel better, and live longer.
This mission gives GSK the purpose to develop innovative medicines,
vaccines and healthcare solutions that help millions of people. GSK is
consistently recognized as one of the 50 best employers in Canada and
is a top 15 investors in Canadian research and development,
contributing more than $141 million in 2010 alone. With a proud tradition of charitable and
community support, GSK is designated a Caring Company by Imagine
Canada. Discover more at GSK.ca.
Today's Merck is working to help the world be well. Merck is a global
health care leader with a diversified portfolio of prescription
medicines, vaccines, consumer and animal health products. In Canada,
Merck markets over 530 pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health
products. Merck is a leader in a broad range of areas such as
cardiology, infectious diseases, respiratory, vaccines, women's health
and sun care, and is focused on expanding offerings in other areas,
including virology, oncology and diabetes.
Merck is one of the top R&D investors in Canada, with an investment of
$78.6 million in 2010. Merck has a large manufacturing facility in
Québec dedicated to the annual production of some 35 million units of
its various brands, including Claritin® and Aerius®. Based in Montréal,
Québec, Merck employs over 1400 people across Canada. For more
information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.
About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., the world's
leading biopharmaceutical company. The company is one of the largest
contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care
portfolio includes biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines
for humans and animals, and many of the world's best-known consumer
products. Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness,
prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared
diseases of our time. We apply science and our global resources to
improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life.
Our commitment is reflected in everything Pfizer does, from our disease
awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that
it takes more than medication to be truly healthy. To learn more about
Pfizer's More than Medication philosophy and programs, visit morethanmedication.ca. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit www.pfizer.ca.
About The Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery
The Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery (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 hospital milieus in the public sector and the
pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the private sector.
An innovative Canadian initiative, the CQDM has a twofold goal: to
accelerate the drug discovery process and to develop safer and more
effective drugs. Project funding is made possible through contributions
from Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca, Merck, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada)
Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly Canada Inc., the Business-Led Networks
of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE), the Ministère du Développement
Économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation (MDEIE) du Québec and
the Fonds de la Recherche du Québec en Santé (FRQS). For more
For further information:
Vice President, Research and Business Development
Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd
Julie Edwards, Chairman, Explore Advisory Committee
Manager, Scientific Affairs (450) 682 4641 ext. 4322