Québec City, QC –Various public and private sector stakeholders in Quebec, including Merck & Co. Inc. and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), have teamed up to launch a new research, development and investment hub in the hopes of accelerating the fight against cancer.
The hub, called Oncopole, is being backed by a $15-million investment by Merck that will be administered over three years and overseen by the FRQS. Recognizing the range of resources and infrastructures currently available as well as the strategic positioning of many researchers in Québec, Oncopole will aspire to strengthen the research and innovation ecosystem in the province and bring together various stakeholders under one flagship hub in oncology.
“Thanks to its energy and effervescence, and its many high-level research universities and infrastructures, Québec has become the ideal site for large-scale projects,” said Dominique Anglade, Quebec Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation. “The Oncopole will be a major high-calibre hub that will help position and support Québec experts as we propel our innovations on the Canadian and international scene,” she adds.
The creation and planning of the new centre included the involvement of more than 50 experts from Quebec’s scientific community, who also provided key insight into helping to identify what its priorities should be going forward. According to Merck and FRQS, these priorities will include incubating and creating new companies, capitalizing on innovation and cancer care in Québec, and better positioning cancer care in the province in terms of clinical outcome, patient experience and system efficiency.
“Merck is delighted to have found in Québec the fertile environment needed to build this unique alliance between public and private partners,” said Chirfi Guindo, president and managing director of Merck Canada Inc. “The collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation is an important asset for a business such as ours.”
Additionally, the FRQS and Merck hope that this initial investment will attract other partners to join the Oncopole and make it a truly collaborative initiative.
“We may be the first private partner but we hope that other businesses will join us so that we may combine our strengths and reach ambitious well-being goals for our patients,” Guindo added.
The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal has been selected to host Oncopole’s coordinating offices.