MONTREAL, QC – On December 14, new laboratories for the medicinal core facility at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montréal (UdeM) were inaugurated.
Following a partnership between UdeM’s Faculty of Pharmacy and IRIC, the inauguration took place right next to IRIC, at the Jean Coutu Pavilion, which houses the new laboratories . The proximity between IRIC’s medicinal chemistry laboratories and the Faculty of Pharmacy’s biopharmaceutical laboratories is expected to strengthen the synergy between these two units, as well as increase drug discovery capacity and speed up the expansion of its chemical compounds library via the acquisition of a robotics suite.. The facility was expanded thanks to grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Government of Quebec.
“This is great news for the Institute and the Faculty of Pharmacy,” stated Anne Marinier, principal investigator and director of Medicinal Chemistry at IRIC, in her speech to government officials, university representatives and members of the pharmaceutical industry. “It is both proof and recognition of past achievements from the medicinal chemistry team, which is composed mainly of experienced scientists coming from the pharmaceutical industry. (This) clearly illustrates the rapid progress in our discovery projects and in the development of molecules coming from our collaborative efforts for therapeutic applications.”
Since its creation in 2008, the facility has seen several molecules that were first synthesized at IRIC move into clinical trials that are currently ongoing.
A Promising Partnership
The inauguration was the perfect opportunity to announce the launch of Phase 2 clinical trials for BMS-986141 (UDM-003183), a drug candidate discovered in partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb that is being studied for the treatment of thrombotic diseases. It inhibits the protease activated receptor type 4 (PAR4), a member of a family of receptors for which IRIC has developed expertise. Seminal work from IRIC and Bristol-Myers Squibb has helped to establish PAR4 inhibition as a potentially promising therapeutic approach. Several hospital centres in Quebec, Canada and across the world will take part in the clinical trials.
This discovery was made possible thanks to the drug discovery chain and IRIC’s drug discovery and commercialization unit (IRICoR), both of which were created through an initial grant from the Centres of Excellence in Commercialization and Research (CECRs). They are currently supported by the Fonds pour un Québec Innovant et en Santé (FPQIS) of the Government of Quebec and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The ongoing collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb now encompasses multiple drug discovery projects.
This successful partnership will celebrate the start of its tenth year in 2017. Over the past nine years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has provided more than $20 million in direct funding support and more than $20 million of value in indirect support to IRIC programs.