SHERBROOKE, QC, Sept. 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - NEOMED, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to create a bridge between academic research and the pharmaceutical industry, is proud to announce the launch of its first drug development project. This project based on the work of leading researchers from the Institut de pharmacologie de Sherbrooke (IPS), la Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé (FMSS) of the Université de Sherbrooke and the Centre de recherche clinique Étienne-Le Bel (CRCELB) of the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS), aims to develop a new class of antivirals using an innovative approach to fight the influenza virus, responsible for the flu in humans. Ultimately, this project could reduce complications associated with infection and thereby improve the health of the population.
" I am extremely pleased that the innovative model of NEOMED generated such interest from Quebec's scientific community. With the support of our Scientific Advisory Board, we selected Drs. Martin Richter, Richard Leduc and Eric Marsault's project for its innovative scientific approach and response to a high medical need. Note that influenza causes between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths per year, " said Dr. Max Fehlmann, President and CEO of NEOMED. He added, " Our development plan is ambitious and plans to work in close collaboration with the researchers from the IPS, CRCELB and several contract research partners located within the NEOMED Institute. Our goal is to reach the clinical validation stage in humans within five years. "
" It is a great pleasure for us that the first project selected by the NEOMED team comes from the Université de Sherbrooke. This demonstrates the quality of drug discovery research done here. The excellent collaboration between Drs. Richter, Leduc and Marsault's teams and NEOMED will establish the promising potential of this new therapeutic approach in a short time, " said Dr. Luc Paquet, President and CEO of SOCPRA, the technology transfer organization of the Université de Sherbrooke.
" Influenza virus infections can cause serious health problems. The virus is also more difficult to treat because of the development of rapid resistance to the two classes of antiviral agents currently used. Our therapeutic approach targets a human enzyme, which should significantly reduce the development of viral resistance to the drug. This is a very promising step forward that we will continue to develop with the hope of treating patients within a few years, " commented Dr. Richter, principal investigator.
" In 2011 the FMSS, in collaboration with it's affiliated centers such as CRCELB, elaborated an important research strategic plan. This helped prioritize the development of translational research. This aims to apply fundamental discoveries to the care of patients and population. The project announced today, capitalizing on a fundamental scientific discovery to elaborate a new therapeutic approach, is a striking example of what can be achieved," mentions Dr. Pierre Cossette, Dean of the FMSS.
" This project is the result of the convergence of the work of three research teams with complementary expertise, and exemplifies very well the research philosophy of our environment. The proximity and frequent exchanges between these partners facilitate the emergence of this type of project which, with the support of NEOMED, offers the prospect of new treatments against influenza, " says Dr. Marsault, who is also Director of the IPS.
The development plan designed by NEOMED and its Scientific Committee aims to achieve early clinical trials in humans within five years.
About NEOMED and the NEOMED Institute
NEOMED is a not-for-profit, public-private Pharma alliance dedicated to drug discovery and development, acting as a foster home for promising assets emerging from academia and biotechnology companies. NEOMED provides industry-level expertise and funding to bring emerging therapeutic approaches up to human proof-of-concept, a stage where the projects will become attractive to the biopharmaceutical industry. NEOMED is jointly funded by AstraZeneca, Pfizer and the Ministère des Finances et de l'Économie du Québec.
NEOMED is established within the NEOMED Institute, a state-of-the-art R&D facility in the Montréal Technoparc. The Institute acts as an open-access drug discovery hub providing a unique environment to foster innovation, collaboration and creativity.
For more information, please visit: www.neomed.ca
SOCPRA is the technology transfer society of the Université de Sherbrooke. Its mission is to manage intellectual property arising from research results from the Université de Sherbrooke and its affiliated institutions. SOCPRA also aims to bring technology to a more advanced stage in order to attract partners. SOCPRA and the researchers mutually define the technology transfer strategy in order to enhance the development of the technologies and to better identify as well as approach potential partners.
For more information, please visit: www.socpra.com
For further information:
Mounia Azzi, PhD
Director, Scientific Affairs