News Feed: Biopharmaceuticals
Invest in Canada - Biopharmaceutical Investment News
2013-05-07 - Sanofi inaugurated its Canadian corporate head office in Laval, Quebec. The new offices, together with a Canadian center for distribution in Kirkland, Quebec, form a renewed investment of $12 million by Sanofi in the province. 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 Canadians and, in 2012, invested $122 million in R&D in Canada, creating jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.
2013-04-15 - Canadian biotech firm Zymeworks reached a second research milestone agreement in its collaboration with Merck related to its proprietary Azymetric platform for the development of novel bi-specific antibody therapeutic candidates. In conjunction with the terms of the collaboration agreement, Zymeworks is to receive an undisclosed milestone payment from Merck. Zymeworks is eligible to receive research, development and regulatory milestones with a potential value of up to $187 million, as well as tiered royalty payments on sales of products.
2013-04-16 - Vancouver-based Xenon Pharmaceuticals announced that Merck has exercised its option to exclusively license small molecule compounds for a novel target for the potential treatment of cardiovascular disease. In 2009, the companies entered into a strategic alliance where Xenon employed its human clinical genetics platform to validate novel cardiovascular targets and collaborated on the discovery and development of small molecule compounds for those targets. Under the terms of the original agreement, Xenon received milestone payments and an option fee and is eligible for further milestone payments of up to $86.5 million. In addition, Merck will pay Xenon undisclosed royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration.
2013-03-04 - The Ontario government is investing in world-leading brain research to improve health care and create new jobs for the people of Ontario. Keeping the province on the cutting edge of research and innovation, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the Ontario government will provide $100 million over five years to support patient-focused neuroscience research. The Province's support will help the Ontario Brain Institute expand its research into the areas of neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer's disease, and depression and continue its important research on cerebral palsy, autism and epilepsy. It will also allow the institute to leverage additional investments from various partners including industry, philanthropic, federal and international sources.
2013-02-17 - Neurodyn, a pharmaceutical company based in Charlottetown, announced that it has raised $1.5 million in private financing. The investors included the Charlottetown-based Regis Duffy BioScience Fund, Houston-based Mertz Holdings, and a number of other U.S. and Canadian private investors. Originally, Neurodyn had targeted to raise $1 million. An additional $500,000 was raised over this targeted amount. Kenneth Cawkell, CEO of Neurodyn, says Neurodyn has developed a unique business plan that focuses on identifying the bioactive compounds of proven natural products.
2012-11-22 - AstraZeneca and Pfizer will team with Quebec to create the Neomed Institute, a life sciences research facility in Montreal that will host researchers, university officials and employees from the drugmakers as well venture capitalists. The three partners are spending $100 million on the venture, with the largest portion of the financing contributed by AstraZeneca. "The cost of discovering new drugs keeps rising and pharmaceutical companies need to adapt," said the institute's president, Max Fehlmann.
2012-11-25 - Merck Canada is investing $12.5 million to fund research at three Quebec university-affiliated and hospital-based research centre as part of its commitment to R&D in Quebec. The investment will go to the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, the CHUM Research Centre and the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre.This latest round of research funding brings total Merck Canada investments so far in the province to about $60 million, the company said.
2012-11-20 - Quebec is boosting to 27.5%, from 17.5%, the refundable tax credit for R&D salaries in the biopharmaceutical sector, for all spending incurred to Jan. 1, 2018. The projected cost of the enhanced credit is $20 million in 2013. The government also will provide matching funding of as much as $125 million over the next five years to support large-scale projects carried out by public-private research partnerships. The province is hoping enhanced tax credits will provide another boost to R&D activity in Quebec and keep it a preferred location for life-sciences investment. The industry is currently facing challenges that include mounting costs, competition from emerging countries and patent expirations, reports The Montreal Gazette.
2012-11-15 - U.S.-based Biotech firm Gilead Sciences plans to start construction in early 2013 on a research and development facility in northeast Edmonton, reports the Edmonton Journal. The new building will house lab and office space for more than 80 scientists, the company said. In tandem with the expansion, the firm aims to hire 50 more local scientists including a “significant number” of PhDs, said the general manager of Gilead’s Edmonton operations. Gilead didn’t disclose an investment price for the project, but said the new facility will cost “tens of millions of dollars” to build.
2012-10-25 - London-based GlaxoSmithKline is planning to fund biotech advances in Canada. The drugmaker's Canadian fund played a leading role in a $35 million financing for Montreal-based Thrasos Therapeutics, a developer of therapies for renal ailments, which attracted a sextet of new backers as it seeks proof-of-concept data for a candidate drug against acute kidney injury. Led by SR One with funds from the GSK Canada Life Sciences Innovation Fund, Thrasos' new financing included five additional new investors: Advanced Technology Ventures, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Lumira Capital, MP Healthcare Venture Management and Pappas Ventures. Previous backer SW Co. took part in the financing as well.
2012-10-16 - ProMetic Life Sciences is moving to expand its presence in Asia through strategic agreements that will see China's Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical take a 10% interest in the company. Quebec-based ProMetic said that Hepalink will make a $10-million equity injection in the company for its stake, a 63% premium over the Oct. 15 closing share price on the TSE. The announcement was coupled with news that the companies have signed two strategic agreements worth up to $21 million.
2012-07-30 - ProMetic Life Sciences and a partner with financial backing from the Blackstone private equity group have formed a joint venture to develop and commercialize a plasma-derived product for the U.S. market. Under their agreement, ProMetic, of Laval, will grant rights to its plasma protein purification system and prion reduction technology to the NantPro BioSciences joint venture. The other partner, NantPharma, has provided an initial $2.5 million to NantPro and has the right to make additional capital contributions in exchange for an increased equity stake.
2012-07-17 - Express Scripts Canada has opened its Customer Experience Centre in Mississauga. Located in the same premises as the ESI Canada Ontario Pharmacy, the Customer Experience Centre will offer plan sponsors insight into how they can better manage the prescription drug benefit on behalf of their organizations. It will also serve as the new home for ESI Canada's Pharmacy and Clinical Services team, which develops products and services to meet the needs of the Canadian health benefits marketplace. President Michael Biskey said the centre "is built on the same premise as the Express Scripts Research & New Solutions Lab in St. Louis, which is that greater insights lead to greater results."
2012-07-11 - Pfizer Canada will be awarded a non-refundable financial contribution of $2,670,000, through Investissement Québec, for an investment project estimated at $31.7 million. The project is aimed at increasing the production capacity of Pfizer Canada's plant in the borough of Saint-Laurent in Montréal. It involves enlarging and upgrading the manufacturing facility that will be used to produce more than 4.4 billion multivitamin tablets each year. The new equipment and facilities include a high-speed automated bottle packaging line, a compression machine, two more blenders and coating machines, two new dispensing rooms and additional storage space.
2012-06-27 - Pfizer Canada and the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS) announced the creation of the Pfizer-FRQS Innovation Fund for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders, because of $4.5 million in funding from Pfizer Canada. This FRQS-managed research grant program will be available to Quebec's research community.
2012-06-26 - ProMetic Life Sciences has received a $4.6-million purchase order under its supply agreement with Octapharma, a Swiss-based global plasma fractionation company that specializes in human proteins. Shipments to Octapharma for the order are expected to exceed $2 million in the second half of 2012, ProMetic said. ProMetic is a biopharmaceutical company located in Laval, just north of Montreal. It has research and development facilities in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Canada and manufacturing facilities in the U.K. and business development activities in the U.S., Europe, Asia and in the Middle East.
2012-06-13 - Canadian researchers are reporting a potential advance in the treatment of Ebola virus infection, one of the most deadly pathogens known to Humankind, reports The Canadian Press. Researchers from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg are reporting that monkeys deliberately infected with Ebola were successfully saved with a cocktail of antibodies against the virus. There currently is no vaccine and no treatment for Ebola, a viral hemorrhagic fever that causes sporadic, tragic outbreaks in countries in central Africa.
2012-05-28 - Montreal’s Teralys Capital is investing $65 million in a new $150-million life-sciences fund along with U.S. multinational partner Eli Lilly and Co.’s $40 million and a commitment that will help Quebec’s biotech industry recover its growth momentum. Eli Lilly, the world’s 10th-largest drug company best known for its insulin products derived from original University of Toronto research, will set up a Canadian unit of its global early-phase drug development network.
2012-04-26 - Few people know the Atlantic Canada region is a leader in cancer research, says the director of the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute. Rodney Ouellette made the comment during a presentation in Halifax that outlined some of the newest developments in the battle against the disease. The institute’s researchers are working toward early detection for many cancers including prostate, colon, ovarian and lung cancer, Ouellette said. And finding ways to catch cancers in their earliest stages is the goal for the institute’s researchers.
2012-03-22 - Merck Canada is partnering with Lumira Capital and other venture capital firms to launch a multimillion-dollar R&D fund to attract pharmaceutical firms to Quebec. The Montreal-based subsidiary of the U.S. pharmaceutical giant is set to announce an investment to create the Merck-Lumira BioScience Fund. The fund will initially be worth several tens of millions of dollars, The Canadian Press has learned. Merck has committed to investment $100 million through 2015 in biopharmaceutical R&D collaborations with Quebec-based companies and academic institutions.
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