Investment in a Québec public-private partnership to support the use of personalized medicine solutions in the treatment of cancer patients

MONTREAL, Feb. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - The Government of Québec announced today a $10 million investment in the Personalized Medicine Partnership for Cancer (PMPC).  This public-private partnership will be focused on establishing an integrated approach for the development and implementation of clinical biomarkers and other personalized healthcare solutions to improve the outcome and cost-efficiency of healthcare services provided to cancer patients in the province of Québec and abroad. The investment, to be disbursed over a 4 year period, will be supplemented with $11.1 million of funding from the private sector partners, for a total project value of $21.1 million.

The PMPC will be under the leadership of Caprion Proteome Inc., a Montreal-based biotech company specializing in the discovery and development of protein-based diagnostic biomarkers.  The other partners will include the Québec Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC), a multidisciplinary network of clinicians, academic scientists and other members of the medical community involved in clinical and translational cancer research, as well as private partners Oncozyme Pharma Inc., Pfizer Canada Inc., Sanofi Canada Inc. and TELUS Health.

As part of the projects supported through this partnership, state-of-the-art genomic, proteomic, bioinformatic and information technology platforms will be implemented to develop and deploy novel biomarkers and targeted therapeutic strategies in the healthcare system for the treatment of lung, colon and breast cancers: "The sequence of our genome or the profile of the proteins in our blood can be used to accurately predict disease progression or treatment outcome. Our partnership will integrate advanced technology platforms with clinical research to accelerate the development and clinical deployment of novel personalized healthcare solutions. Caprion has pioneered such strategies for years, and with our partners, we are committed to delivering tangible results to provide more targeted diagnosis and treatments for cancer," said Martin LeBlanc, President and Chief Executive Officer of Caprion Proteome.

Personalized medicine has been coined to describe the use of specific patient information gathered from tumour, blood or other specimens to characterize disease subtype and select the optimal treatment. "The rapid progress in clinical research enables us to decipher the underpinnings of cancer and to develop specific diagnostic tools and targeted drugs to treat specific subtypes of common cancers such as lung, colon or breast. It is critical that these new tools and medicines be deployed for the benefit of patients across Québec," said Gerald Batist, Professor of Oncology at McGill University and Co-director of the Q-CROC and Director of the Segal Cancer Center at the Jewish General Hospital.  "While technology has been progressing rapidly, it will be critical to prepare our healthcare system to integrate the wealth of new molecular information and educate professionals in the practice of personalized medicine," he added.

The PMPC project stemmed from the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l'innovation (SQRI) that was created by the Government of Québec to advance knowledge and accelerate the deployment of innovative personalized medicine solutions to the bedside.  The partnership, in collaboration with the Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux (MSSS), was also built to strengthen the cooperation between the private and the public research sectors including academic healthcare institutions and universities.

About the Personalized Medicine Partnership for Cancer (PMPC)

The PMPC is a not-for-profit organization that aims at positioning Québec as a global leader in personalized medicine solutions to cancer patients.  The PMPC project was selected based on the needs identified through a large consultation of 140 Québec leaders to address the challenges in the implementation of personalized healthcare in Québec.  The broad network of partners and collaborators with expertise spanning molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, clinical management, pharmacoeconomics, ethics and information technology will deliver integrated solutions to be efficiently implemented in the healthcare system.  The outcomes of the PMPC projects are expected to have a measurable impact on the clinical diagnosis and therapeutic management of various cancers as well as the efficiency and costs of the healthcare system.  For more information please visit www.pmpc-org.com.

About Caprion Proteome

Caprion Proteome is the leading provider of proteomics biomarker and immune monitoring services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.  Its proprietary proteomics technology, CellCarta®, is a gel-free, label-free mass spectrometry (MS) platform that enables a comprehensive, quantitative and robust comparative measurement of proteins across large sets of biological samples for the discovery and validation of protein biomarkers. Its proprietary immune monitoring platform, ImmuneCarta®, offers multiplex cell flow cytometry analysis for functional analyses of innate and adaptive immune responses.  Caprion also leverages CellCarta® to develop its own in-vitro diagnostic products targeting cancer, metabolic and infectious diseases.  With research sites in Montreal, Canada and in Menlo Park, CA, Caprion has a decade of experience providing large-scale proteomics and immune monitoring services to over 50 major pharmaceutical and biotech clients. Caprion acquired PPD Biomarker Discovery Sciences, LLC from PPD Inc. in 2010. Caprion also serves as a biomarker center of excellence for the U.S. Government/NIH-NIAID for Biodefense research. For more information, please visit www.caprion.com.

About the Quebec - Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC)

Q-CROC is a provincial interface for clinical research, bridging the gap between industry, government, healthcare establishments and the research community. To address the increasingly competitive landscape for clinical research, Q-CROC facilitates an environment for sharing knowledge, needs and strengths, thereby enticing the conduct of studies in the province and providing patients with access to new innovative treatments. Complementary to this activity, Q-CROC provides a niche of expertise in the discovery and validation of biomarkers to predict the response or resistance to treatment. By these engagements, Q-CROC aims to position the province of Québec at the national and international forefront of personalized medicine in cancer, so that patients can access the most cutting-edge treatments. www.qcroc.ca.

About Oncozyme Pharma

Oncozyme Pharma Inc. is a Montreal-based, privately-held biopharmaceutical company, which is developing a new approach in cancer therapy, based on the inhibition of endo-exonuclease, a critical enzyme regulating cancer cell proliferation. Oncozyme Pharma is committed to bringing new anticancer drugs to market, providing patients with true clinical benefits at a better cost/efficacy ratio. The company is focused on the clinical development of its lead compound OCZ103 with two ongoing phase II clinical trials in colorectal cancer and lung cancer.  Oncozyme Pharma is also developing a second generation product of OCZ103, along with a discovery program on inhibitors of endo-exonuclease. www.oncozyme.com.

About Pfizer Canada

Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., the world's leading biopharmaceutical company.  The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Pfizer's diversified health care portfolio includes biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines for humans, and many of the world's best-known consumer products. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit www.pfizer.ca

About Sanofi Canada

Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY). Sanofi companies in Canada include Sanofi Canada (pharmaceuticals), Sanofi Pasteur (vaccines), Sanofi Consumer Health (health and beauty), Genzyme (rare diseases) and Merial (animal health). Together they employ more than 1,700 people across the country. In 2011 Sanofi companies invested $151.7 million in R&D in Canada, creating jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country. www.sanofi.ca.

About TELUS Health

TELUS Health is a leader in telehomecare, electronic medical and health records, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. TELUS Health gives health authorities, providers, physicians, patients and consumers the power to turn information into better health outcomes. For more information about TELUS Health, please visit www.telushealth.com.

SOURCE Personalized Medicine Partnership for Cancer (PMPC)

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