Creation of the Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine - The Montreal Heart Institute and Génome Québec announce a $22 million investment

    MONTREAL, Feb. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Montreal Heart Institute and Génome
Québec reached an important milestone today in the creation of a Centre of
Excellence in Personalized Medicine. This project represents an investment of
more than $22 million over five years. Of this amount, $13.8 million will be
provided by the Government of Canada's Centres of Excellence for
Commercialization and Research program, as announced today by the Honourable
Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry Canada. The remainder will come from
investments by private and public partners, including the ministère du
Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation of Québec.
    The mission of the Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine is to
develop approaches and methods that will optimize treatment and ensure their
rapid and productive transition from the research stage to use in clinical
practice. The Centre will position Québec and Canada as world leaders in the
optimization of personalized treatment. The integration of pharmacogenomics
and biomarkers into drug development will improve effectiveness and safety,
enabling the proper drug to be prescribed to the proper patient, at the proper
dosage, right from the start. The Centre, which was developed in collaboration
with major corporations from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors,
will serve as a unique tool in positioning these strategic sectors on the
international stage.
    "The Centre will serve to develop new approaches to optimizing treatment,
including drugs, so that Canadian patients can benefit from personalized
medicine," said Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the MHI Research Centre
and professor of medicine at the Université de Montréal.
    "We are very proud of this investment that recognizes the power of
pharmacogenomics as a tool for improving the health of the population," said
Mr. Paul L'Archevêque, President and Chief Executive Officer of Génome Québec.
"This project is the result of efforts that Génome Québec undertook in 2006
with the recruitment of scientist Michael Phillips and the creation of the
Génome Québec and Montreal Heart Institute Pharmacogenomics Centre. The first
commercial success of this platform recently led to an important announcement
regarding a partnering with Héma-Québec."
    "This highly formative project attests to Quebec's expertise in
pharmacogenomics and dovetails with the priorities in Génome Québec's
strategic plan," added Mr. L'Archevêque.
    "The MHI welcomes today's announcement with tremendous pride and
satisfaction," said Mr. Robert Busilacchi, Executive Director of the MHI. "As
the institution hosting the Centre, we will take every means to ensure it is a
resounding success. We want to underscore that this Centre is a key element in
our strategy to build vital partnerships with corporations from the
pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, so that it becomes a veritable tool
for developing these sectors in Québec, Canada and around the world."

    About the Montreal Heart Institute

    Founded in 1954, the Montreal Heart Institute constantly aims for the
highest standards of excellence in the cardiovascular field through its
leadership in prevention, ultra-specialized care, training of professionals,
clinical and fundamental research, and assessment of new technologies. It is
affiliated with the Université de Montréal and its clinical outcomes are among
the best in the world.
    The MHI Research Centre officially came into existence in 1976 and has
made enormous strides since its creation. Today, there are approximately
500 employees, students and researchers at the MHI Research Centre. The MHI's
outstanding feature is the balance it achieves between basic research,
clinical research and clinical care. Its prime focus areas of research are
vascular diseases, myocardial function and electrophysiology. MHI researchers
also contribute to the advancement of knowledge and medical applications in
the fields of genomics (in particular in disease gene discovery and
pharmacogenomics), biomarkers and preventive cardiology. To learn more about
the Institute, please visit our website at

    About Génome Québec

    The mission of Génome Québec is to mobilize academic and industrial
sectors with regard to genomics and proteomics research. This private
non-profit organization, financed by the Government of Canada through Génome
Canada and the Ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de
l'Exportation of Québec, invests and manages funds totalling over $380 million
from both the private and public sectors. Génome Québec currently manages
projects in six major sectors: human health, bioinformatics, ethics, the
environment, and forestry and agricultural sciences. To find out more about
Génome Québec and genomics, visit its Web site at

    About the Université de Montréal

    Deeply rooted in Montreal and dedicated to its international mission, the
Université de Montréal is one of the top universities in the world,
particularly in the French-speaking world. Founded in 1878, the Université de
Montréal today has 13 faculties and together with its two affiliated schools,
HEC Montréal and Ecole Polytechnique, constitutes the largest centre of higher
education and research in Québec, the second largest in Canada, and one of the
major centres in North America. It brings together 2,500 professors and
researchers, accommodates more than 55,000 students, offers some 650 programs
at all academic levels, and awards about 3,000 masters and doctorate diplomas
each year.

For further information:

For further information: Doris Prince, Head, Communication and Public
Relations, Montreal Heart Institute, (514) 376-3330, extension 3074,; Source: Michel Leblanc, Vice-President, Public
Affairs and Communications, Génome Québec, (514) 398-0668

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