Merck Invests In Pan-canadian Life Sciences Research Innovation Sector
A $4-million public-private partnership will promote research innovation
involving three academic commercialization centres in Canada
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, April 22, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Merck Canada will be
announcing today at the BIO International Convention that it is reinforcing
its commitment to the Canadian life sciences research innovation sector.
Merck will provide $4 million in funding to the Institute for Research in
Immunology and Cancer - Commercialization of Research (IRICoR) for future
corridor projects developed in collaboration with two other Canadian Centres
of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs) based inOntario and
in British Columbia.
IRICoR will work in conjunction with MaRS Innovation and the Centre for Drug
Research and Development (CDRD) to identify, develop and commercialize
technologies in healthcare. All three CECR institutions - identified as CECR
in 2008 by the federal government - share a common objective: facilitating and
accelerating the commercialization of research breakthroughs that will improve
the quality of life of Canadians and others around the world.
"The corridor initiatives we are funding today are part of our new approach to
R&D which is about building collaborative research relationships.
Private-public partnerships, in particular, will provide a fertile environment
for innovation to grow and to quickly reach the commercialization stage in the
best interest of patients," said Dr. Thomas Cannell, President and Managing
Director, Merck Canada Inc. "This is an important milestone for the company as
it is broadening its scope to include important research centers that are part
of the Quebec - Ontario and Quebec - British Columbia corridors."
"Merck Canada's investment in research and development in Quebec is excellent
news, and its partnership with one of our public research flagships -
Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer - Commercialization of
Research (IRICoR) - demonstrates the dynamic nature of our biopharmaceutical
industry. Further, it is proof that our business environment is both
competitive and well suited to this new industry model. It is for these
reasons, and thanks to our highly skilled workforce, that Quebec remains the
partner of choice in the development of pharmaceuticals," said Quebec Minister
of Finance and the Economy, Mr. Nicolas Marceau.
Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation, the Honourable Reza Moridi, said,
"We commend Merck for this important investment that opens up exciting joint
research and commercialization possibilities for the teams at MaRS Innovation
in Ontario and IRICoR in Quebec. We support and seek collaborations such as
this so that companies, institutions and governments can help foster economic
growth and an improved quality of life for all."
Bridging the commercialization gap between academic research and industry
"This important contribution further solidifies our position as the leading
center for innovative drug discovery and medicinal chemistry in Quebec. The
funds will allow us to continue to develop innovative therapies through our
validated business model of working closely with leading pharmaceutical
companies.This exciting partnership will leverage the unique expertise
within IRICoR and its partners to capture more value from the world-class
research being carried out in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. This is
the best way to rapidly bring the benefits of our cutting edge research to
patients who are suffering from serious unmet medical needs," said Dr. Michel
Bouvier, President and CEO of IRICoR.
"MaRS Innovation joins Merck and IRICoR in welcoming this partnership and the
life sciences research that it will support," said Dr. Raphael Hofstein,
President and CEO of MaRS Innovation. "These funds will provide much-needed
capital to help bridge the gap to successful commercialization for early-stage
technologies, and will allow our scientists to demonstrate the depth of
Canadian expertise when it comes to creating innovative life sciences
"CDRD is delighted to be collaborating with Merck and IRICoR on selected
projects of mutual interest. As a national drug development and
commercialization centre, CDRD recognizes the critical importance of building
partnerships such as this that bring together complementary resources from
across the country," said Ms. Karimah Es Sabar, President and CEO of The
Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). "This is a unique occasion to
further leverage CDRD's drug development platform to help Canada develop the
most commercially-promising discoveries and maintain our competitive edge on
the international scene," commented Ms. Es Sabar.
This announcement marks the latest contribution by Merck in its 2010
announcement to inject $100 million over five years in biopharmaceutical
research and development (R&D) in Quebec. Today's announcement brings Merck's
total contributions to date to approximately $65million. In late 2012, Merck
announced a $13.5-million investment to fund basic and translational research
at four prominent universities and hospital-affiliated Montréal research
institutions, including the Research Institute of the McGill University Health
Centre (RI-MUHC), the Université de Montréal Hospital Research Centre
(CR-CHUM), the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre (MHI) and Concordia
University. Prior to that, in 2012, Merck invested $35 million in the Merck
Lumira Biosciences Fund, as its primary investor and only pharmaceutical
industry partner. The Fund, established by Merck in collaboration with Lumira
Capital, Teralys Capital and other partners, provides investment capital to
support early stage life science innovation in Quebec.
Merck has invested $6.8 million in AmorChem, a fund launched in 2011 to
increase the commercial potential of high quality academic research carried
out in Quebec. In 2011, Merck also announced a $5 million investment over five
years in the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM).
Note: All amounts expressed in this press release are in Canadian dollars
unless otherwise noted.
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be
well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through
our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products,
we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver
innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing
access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.
For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.
IRICoR, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer -
Commercialization of Research, is a non-profit organization whose mandate is
to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of novel drugs
in oncology, immunology and related indications that originate from
Université de Montréal. IRICoR is Quebec's only fully-integrated drug
discovery and commercialization center of its kind, with one of the largest
academia-based medicinal chemistry groups in the country. IRICoR, as a Center
of Excellence in Commercialization and Research, invests in highly innovative
projects to rapidly transition them from academia to the market, while
identifying the best development partners for these commercially-promising
projects. For more information about IRICoR, please visit www.iricor.ca.
About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation (MI) is the commercialization agent for the exceptional
discovery pipeline from 16 leading Ontario academic institutions, and has
raised over $65 million to commercialize their technologies. As a single-entry
point to total member research activity of $1 billion in annual research and
development, MI provides a gateway for investors and licensees who wish to
access technology assets in Ontario. Supported by the Government of Canada
through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario
through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its member institutions, MI
is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into real
commercial opportunities. MI's portfolio includes the most promising assets
and advances commercialization into global markets through industry
partnerships, licensing and company creation. For more information about MaRS
Innovation, please visit www.marsinnovation.com.
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) was established in 2007,
and is Canada's fully-integrated, national drug development and
commercialization centre, providing expertise and infrastructure to enable
researchers from leading health research institutions to advance promising
early-stage drug candidates. A Canadian Centre of Excellence for
Commercialization and Research (CECR), CDRD's mandate is to de-risk
discoveries stemming from publicly-funded health research and transform them
into viable grant opportunities for the private sector — thus successfully
bridging the commercialization gap between academia and industry, and
translating research discoveries into new therapies for patients. For more
information about CDRD please visit www.cdrd.ca.
The news release is available at www.cnw.ca.
Forward Looking Statement
This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of
the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and
expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and
uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or
uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set
forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry
conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate
and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry
regulation and health care legislation in the United States and
internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment;
technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors;
challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory
approval; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions;
manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international
economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's
patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to
litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.
Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking
statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those
described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck's 2012
Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site
Merck Ani Armenian 514-428-3395
Quebec Stephanie Lyttle 514-843-2365
Ontario Jennifer Lee 416-848-1383
British Columbia Alexandra Presley 604-638-7459
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