Montreal (Quebec), February 25, 2021—CQDM is proud to announce the launch of a $2,025,077 international collaborative project to support the preclinical stages of new drug candidates to treat an orphan lung disease.
Led by Professor David Y. Thomas of McGill University, this multi-partner project focuses on the development of drugs addressing alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (A1AT), a condition characterized by lung and liver damage caused by an inherited genetic mutation for which there is currently no treatment. The laboratory of Professor David Y. Thomas at McGill University is receiving a grant of$371,165 from the ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du Québec to execute the project. These funds are provided in addition to contributions from Pfizer and Montreal-based Traffick Therapeutics, support from the Fonds de recherche du Québec—Santé and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, as well as resources provided by the Lead Discovery Center in Germany and the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale in France.
“This joint international project showcases Québec’s life sciences industry while improving the quality of life for many people suffering from this rare lung disease. It is vital that our government support Québec businesses and organizations that accelerate the development of medications and new therapeutic options,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, minister of Economy and Innovation.
This grant will allow Professor Thomas’ laboratory and the Lead Discovery Center to join forces using a high-throughput screening process to rapidly identify high-potential drug candidates in large compound libraries. This translational research project builds on an existing international collaboration between Professor Thomas’ laboratory and the Lead Discovery Center, while fostering an effective approach to identify promising candidates that are most likely to succeed in subsequent development phases. The Lead Discovery Center is a world-class institute with a proven track record of success in the development of numerous therapeutic candidates.
Traffick Therapeutics aims to bring the research findings from the lab to the bedside of patients suffering from respiratory diseases. The company made its mark by developing two pharmacological correctors of the CFTR protein to treat cystic fibrosis, whose rights were sold to Vertex Pharmaceutical. These funds will allow Traffick Therapeutics to identify therapeutic targets for an orphan disease and advance the development of candidates to the preclinical stage: “This project is also an opportunity to test an approach that could be used to identify therapeutics for other protein trafficking diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cystic fibrosis and Parkinson’s disease,” says Professor John Hanrahan, cofounder of Traffick Therapeutics.
“At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life. Orphan diseases represent a key sector with unmet medical needs that have yet to be addressed. High throughput screening is a critical innovation that accelerates the identification of drug candidates among compound libraries. We take pride in this opportunity to support Professor Thomas’ research project, thereby contributing to Quebec’s dynamic life sciences sector,” said Dr. Vratislav Hadrava, Vice-President, Medical Affairs at Pfizer Canada.
“This innovative project exemplifies the power of collaborative research to support business development. We are grateful to Pfizer, a founding member of CQDM, for its financial support to the project. The completion of this project will strengthen Traffick Therapeutics’ position in the field of lung diseases and promote its corporate growth,” said Diane Gosselin, President and CEO of CQDM.
About Traffick Therapeutics
Traffick Therapeutics Inc. was established in June 2009 with the goal of accelerating the translation of basic research into new therapies. It has a successful track record, for example collaborating with AmorChem and medicinal chemists at NuChem Inc., and to develop and commercialize two lead series for the treatment of cystic fibrosis. TTI has expanded its remit to include therapeutics for other respiratory diseases that involve epithelial ion channels or protein misfolding.
About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada ULC is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies. Our diversified healthcare portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most prescribed medicines and vaccines. 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 we do, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships.
CQDM is a biopharma-based research consortium created in 2008 with the mission to fund the development of innovative technologies to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs and vaccines. Its business model is based on a collaborative approach bringing together world-leading pharmaceutical organizations, Canadian biotech companies as well as the Canadian and Quebec governments who share the costs of the research. CQDM uses this leverage to reduce the risks inherent to early-stage biopharmaceutical research. In doing so, CQDM bridges the funding gap needed to drive innovation across the academic and private sectors, especially where early-stage research is concerned. CQDM receives contributions from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI), from large pharmaceutical companies, and from the Government of Canada under the Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence Program (BL-NCE).