CQDM Partners with MaRS Innovation, Ontario Brain Institute and Ontario Centres of Excellence to Launch Life Sciences Funding Program Within Ontario-Québec Corridor

BOSTON, ON, June 18, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Together with key partners from Ontario, the Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM) is creating a new initiative to fund collaborative life sciences research projects between the two provinces.

This initiative is the first notable and concrete realization of the Ontario-Québec Life Sciences Corridor, announced at the 2011 BIO International Convention. It builds upon two previous pilot projects and existing strengths within the two provinces to increase innovation, productivity, investment and job creation.

CQDM is partnering with three leading Ontario organizations: MaRS Innovation (MI), Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to launch the Québec/Ontario CQDM Funding Program, which will support collaborative research projects that seek to develop new tools for biopharmaceutical research.

"This initiative will help deliver on the potential of the Ontario-Québec Life Sciences Corridor, and build on the reputation of the life sciences industries in Canada's two largest provinces," said Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid. "That means new opportunities for innovation, investment and job creation that will benefit all Canadians."

"The Ontario-Québec Life Sciences Corridor is paving the way for new and unique opportunities for investments, partnerships and collaborations in Life Sciences research, innovation and commercialization," said Max Fehlmann, president and CEO at CQDM. "Ontario and Québec are well recognized for the excellence of their research and their capacity to innovate. Our partnership with OCE, OBI and MI will foster innovation and competitiveness in the Life Sciences sector."

"MaRS Innovation joins with CQDM, OBI and OCE in welcoming this partnership and the Life Sciences research that it will support," said Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. "We anticipate that this funding program, like the pilot project we co-led with CQDM to create Encycle Therapeutics, will lead to many similarly successful future projects."

"We are pleased to partner with CQDM and look forward to working with them in funding joint Ontario-Québec neuroscience projects," said Dr. Don Stuss, president and scientific director of the Ontario Brain Institute. "This paradigm of having industry partnering with research excellence to drive viable patient-based outcomes fits nicely the OBI vision and mandate."

"Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to support this important partnership," said Dr. Tom Corr, president and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence. "By cultivating partnerships within our academic and industry network, and providing expertise in mentoring and project proposal preparation, candidates will be well-positioned to further develop their ideas to enable growth and innovation across the Ontario-Québec Life Sciences Corridor."

"Québec and Ontario are lead actors in the life sciences sector, a field with much promise. We have put in place measures to respond to the needs of our businesses and our researchers in that field. The projects announced today fully accord with this vision and contribute to our efforts to bring together the advantages of our two provinces", commented the Québec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade Sam Hamad.

This new program is open to all researchers in Québec and Ontario from academic institutions or small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Selected projects will be eligible for up to $750K in funding for three years. CQDM will fund the Québec arm of the project. While the research being performed in Ontario may be funded by many different sources, OBI, OCE or MaRS Innovation will work with Ontario-based partners to secure funding and will also provide support in preparing projects.

Detailed information about the Québec/Ontario CQDM funding program is available on CQDM's website at www.cqdm.org.

About the CQDM
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. CQDM is funded 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 recherche Québec - Santé (FRQS). For more information: www.cqdm.org.

About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation (MI) is the commercialization agent for the exceptional discovery pipeline from 16 leading Ontario academic institutions. As a single-entry point to total member research activity of $1B in annual research and development, MI provides an easy gateway for investors and licensees who wish to gain access to technology assets in Ontario. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its member institutions, MI is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into real commercial opportunities. MI's portfolio includes the most promising assets and advances commercialization into global markets through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.

About Ontario Brain Institute
Launched in November 2010, the OBI has been established to become an internationally recognized centre of excellence in brain research, translation and innovation. It will achieve its vision by initiating, funding, promoting and stimulating brain research, education and training. The research outcomes will be translated into clinical applications and commercialization opportunities related to the prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and management of brain diseases and disorders. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation funded by the Government of Ontario. The OBI will serve as a nexus for collaborative efforts, with a program focused on bringing together Ontario's leading scientists and clinicians drawn from Ontario's universities, colleges, and hospitals. For additional information about the OBI, please visit: http://www.braininstitute.ca/

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (www.oce-ontario.org)
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) 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, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE through its Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), an initiative supported by the federal government, also acts as a catalyst which allows innovative businesses to grow and achieve sustainable commercial success and global competitiveness. 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 Ontario's innovation system. The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies, and create jobs. For more information visit www.oneinnovation.ca.

SOURCE CQDM

For further information:

Media Contacts 

Diane Gosselin
Vice-President, Research and Business Development
CQDM
(514) 594-7286
dgosselin@cqdm.org 

Elizabeth Monier-Williams
Marketing and Communications Manager
MaRS Innovation
647-260-7850
emonierwilliams@marsinnovation.com 

Victoria Ollers
Ontario Brain Institute
416-822-2288
vo@goldfenix.com 

Shari Balga
Senior Manager, Media Relations
Ontario Centres of Excellence
416-861-1092 x1034
Shari.balga@oce-ontario.org

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