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Genome BC Announces New Funding for Proof-of-concept Program

Published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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Investment will fund diverse and innovative research projects.

Genome BC is announcing a third round of funding for its Proof-of-Concept (POC) program. The POC program represents a total investment of $8.7M for new genomics-related research projects with $2.15M provided by Genome BC. These investments are increasingly being recognized for the diversity of research projects and for growing the vibrant genomics-based research cluster in BC.

Projects funded in this third round of funding include:

• Dr. Fraser Hof at the University of Victoria is leading a project group that aims to create new research tools that will improve the way scientists study cancer using a relatively new approach called epigenetics (the study of heritable changes in genome function that occur without a change in DNA sequence). The eventual goal of the project entitled, “Building a toolkit to crack cancer cells,” is to commercialize the unique tool kit that they are developing. Once available to others, the tool kits will help researchers discover new cancer drugs and to be more consistent and specific in the analysis of cancer cells.

• Drs. Artem Cherkasov & Paul Rennie at the University of British Columbia (UBC) are leading, “A new approach to prostate cancer,” a project which will address current issues in the treatment of advanced, recurrent or metastatic prostate cancer. By using advanced methods in computational chemogenomics, medicinal chemistry and biological screening the team aims to advance an entirely new class of drugs that has recently been developed at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. Genome BC funding will help with the development of select compounds towards development of a lead compound that may lead to improved drugs instrumental in enhancing effectiveness of treatment.

• Drs. Neil Reiner of UBC and Fiona Brinkman of Simon Fraser University will be addressing the ongoing issue of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial pathogens in their project entitled, “Combating drug-resistant pathogens.” The research team aims to identify novel drug targets and therapeutics for antibiotic-resistant nosocomial pathogens. The project is expected to identify new inhibitors for drug targets and lead to the creation of novel classes of antimicrobials.

• Dr. Poul Sorensen of UBC and the BC Cancer Agency is leading, “New technologies for diagnosing childhood cancers,” a project which aims to improve on current methods for diagnosing known genetic alterations associated with solid tumors in children. The proposed method offers major advantages over traditional methods because it is expected to reduce the overall cost for the screening/testing procedures associated with childhood solid tumors. The proposed technology, which should be ready for early phase commercialization at the end of the project, will increase the capacity of testing facilities to perform hundreds of these new tests with minimal start up and training costs.

The Proof-of-Concept program provides funding to help researchers move their work forward from lab to market. It is fostering development of new and novel products and services to the point that they are ready for licensing, industry investment or spin-off.

“The Proof-of-Concept program provides a valuable opportunity for receptor engagement, in particular industry. This program compels the research community to work hand in hand with end users,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC. “Genome BC is committed to fulfilling our mandate of facilitating the advancement of genomics based discoveries from innovation through to practical applications.”

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