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Interprovincial academia-industry partnership results in major funding

Toronto, August 19, 2014

zebrafish
A zebrafish

Dr. Xiao-Yan Wen, director of St. Michael’s Zebrafish Centre for Advanced Drug Discovery, and two colleagues from Quebec, are the recipients of almost $1 million in funding to accelerate the development of better treatments for neurodenerative disease using the hospital’s automated zebrafish high throughput screening technology. It is the only project that the Quebec-Ontario Life Sciences Corridor initiative funded this round.

The Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery and the Ontario Centres of Excellence, along with Treventis, are each contributing funds under the Quebec-Ontario Life Sciences Corridor initiative, which aims to support industry-academic collaborations that will result in innovative tools and technologies to improve and accelerate the drug discovery process. The organizations are jointly supporting the collaboration between academia (Dr. Wen and Pierre Drapeau from the Université de Montréal) and industry (Christopher Barden from Treventis) to advance research into neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, using the hospital’s robotic high throughput zebrafish screening facility. The technology has the potential to screen and produce data at least 10 times faster as compared to what it takes to assess potential in vivo therapeutics manually, which represents important costs and time savings in the drug discovery process.

This project has the potential to establish the zebrafish facility at St. Michael’s Hospital to serve as a valuable contract research organization to other pharmaceutical companies to speed up their drug discovery processes.

Read the CQDM media release.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.