A truly made-in-Canada treatment for one of the world's most devastating diseases could be closer to patients thanks to a new technology targeting Alzheimer's Disease developed at The University of British Columbia (UBC) and licensed to Cangene Corporation (Cangene).
Following the successful research collaboration with the inventor, Dr. Neil Cashman at UBC, Cangene recently obtained commercial rights to the technology platform and plans to advance the program in its pipeline to explore treatments for Alzheimer's Disease, a significant unmet medical need with an increasing burden on health-care systems.
Cangene, with core competencies in the development and commercialization of biologic therapeutics, has established a strong pipeline platform for antibody therapies.
Dr. Cashman's discovery will allow Cangene to advance an immune therapeutic treatment approach to Alzheimer's by targeting the toxic form of Amyloid-beta with the potential to directly impact the disease mechanism of action.
Current treatment options are limited and the number of individuals afflicted with this degenerative disease is growing rapidly as the population ages, currently estimated to be 25 million worldwide.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Cashman who is an expert in misfolded protein diseases and help advance his ground-breaking research in Alzheimer's Disease" says Dr. Laura Saward, Cangene's Chief Scientific Officer.
"While this work is in its early stages, it is showing promise for the development of a novel immunotherapy to address this devastating disease and fits Cangene's refocused strategy" adds Dr. Saward.
The Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) is an important sponsor of the Alzheimer's Disease program. The discoveries made by Dr. Cashman were supported by research funding through CIHR and further advanced through a research collaboration between UBC, the federally-funded Prionet Network Centre of Excellence and Cangene, UBC's pharmaceutical industry partner.
UBC and Cangene continue to collaborate on the development of treatments for Alzheimer's Disease with support from CIHR's Proof of Principle Program Phase II.
The joint research program to evaluate the therapeutic potential of the target as a vaccine or antibody therapeutic was successful in the latest competition and CIHR has committed to provide $300,000 in funding over a one year period further cementing this as a made-in-Canada solution that has the potential to address this global problem.
"This is an all-Canadian solution in terms of its discovery, development and advancement towards the clinic," says Dr. J.P. Heale, Associate Director of UBC's University-Industry Liaison Office. "The partnerships developed to advance Dr. Cashman's outstanding research are an excellent example of how Canadian universities, funding agencies and industry partners can work together to tackle a devastating disease of national and global importance."