MONTREAL, Feb. 14, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - In the presence of Quebec Premier, Pauline Marois, ministers Nicolas Marceau, Jean-François Lisée and Élaine Zakaïb, Montreal Mayor, Denis Coderre, and the representatives of international pharmaceutical companies, Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the Research Centre of the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI), announced today the launch of ARTERIA, a research program aimed at developing ground-breaking treatments for cardiovascular diseases, the number one cause of death worldwide. "Once again, the Montreal Heart Institute and its team of dedicated physicians, researchers and professionals have established themselves as world leaders in the fight against heart disease. This program will have tangible positive effects on patients living with or at risk of developing cardiovascular disease," declared Dr. Tardif.
The discoveries and innovations that will stem from this unique program will substantially benefit patients over the medium and long term by transforming medical practices in the treatment of heart disease, all while realizing major savings for the health system as a whole. Among its many benefits, ARTERIA will make it possible to deliver increasingly personalized medicine and to treat and medicate patients more effectively, thus saving lives. It is noteworthy that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of hospitalization and deaths in the world, and that 1.3 million Canadians suffer from various forms of the illness. Cardiovascular diseases also represent the largest economic burden of all diagnostic categories with total annual costs of approximately $22 billion in Canada.
Unprecedented partnership yields major investment of $49.2M
This monumental cutting-edge project has been made possible thanks to the $49.2 million it has received in funding. Of this amount, $18.2M has come from the Government of Quebec and $31M has come from private investments linked to the biopharmaceutical sector. "We are very proud at the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre to have succeeded in attracting to this research program such key stakeholders as the Quebec Government, Université de Montréal, and the world's most innovative pharmaceutical companies, so that our patients and all Quebecers may benefit from the fruits of this important research," added Dr. Tardif. ARTERIA will also lead to the creation of 150 new direct, high-skilled jobs.
On-hand at the announcement, the program's main private partners were eager to praise the MHI Research Centre's initiative in establishing this innovative project. In so doing, they attested to the Institute's indisputable leadership on the world stage.
"Through our collaboration, we will be able to combine the MHI's worldwide network of scientific and medical research with our capabilities in translational medicine and clinical development. For this reason, to Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, the Montreal Heart Institute is unequivocally a world-class Quebec institution," noted Ronnie Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. Canada.
Frédéric Fasano, Canadian CEO of major ARTERIA partner Servier Canada Inc., for his part underscored the long-standing collaboration between the two organizations: "Our collaboration with the Montreal Heart Institute began over 15 years ago. It has been extremely productive in terms of research and innovation, case in point being a medication to treat patients with heart failure which was largely developed within the walls of the Institute. To work with the Montreal Heart Institute is to work alongside cardiologists and researchers of one of North America's top cardiology centres."
Lastly, major partner MedImmune (a subsidiary of AstraZeneca) stressed the uniqueness of the MHI and its model. "In taking part in the ARTERIA program, AstraZeneca, like all other public and private partners and all patients, will benefit from the internationally outstanding facility that is the Montreal Heart Institute. The Institute is the only one to offer an integrated model that runs the gamut from genetics, to cellular analysis, to major clinical studies. The Montreal Heart Institute is simply the only centre of its kind in the world," added Dr. Fouzia Laghrissi-Thode, Global Vice-President in charge of AstraZeneca's Cardiovascular and Metabolic division.
Dr. Guy Breton, Rector of the Université de Montréal, to which MHI is affiliated, was thrilled about the announcement. "We are very proud of the three Université de Montréal research teams that received funding as part of this new program. I especially congratulate Dr. Tardif and his team at the Montreal Heart Institute who are set to lead a research program that is innovative from every standpoint. On this Valentine's Day, which calls to mind the importance of the heart, I am delighted to know that researchers of such high calibre will have access to resources and partners that will enable them to develop new avenues to improve heart health.
The product of a vast and diversified partnership, ARTERIA has also been made possible by the significant contribution and tangible support of the following partners: Valeant Canada, Pharmascience Inc., Thrasos Therapeutics Inc., Pfizer Canada Inc., Spartan Bioscience Inc., and the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation.
Founded by Dr. Paul David, The Montreal Health Institute is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014. This commemorative year will be the occasion to highlight the remarkable achievements in patient care, research, prevention and teaching that have led the MHI to rise to the ranks of the top cardiology centres in the world. Montreal-born and internationally renowned, the Montreal Heart Institute has for the past 60 years brought together impassioned experts who are devoted to pushing the boundaries of medicine in order to offer exceptional ultra-specialized care.
About the Montreal Heart Institute: www.icm-mhi.org.
SOURCE: MONTREAL HEART INSTITUTE
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