CDRD embraces MaRS, welcomes VP

By SCAN editors

Two tech commercialization centres recently funded by the feds have joined forces to accelerate discoveries of health products and get them to market.
Vancouver's Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and Toronto's MaRS Innovation (MI) have agreed "to collaborate on projects of mutual interest with a goal to advance and commercialize early-stage health-related discoveries."KarimahCDRD103X154.jpg
They each got $15 million from Ottawa in 2007, funds arising from the Conservative government's S&T Strategy. They are designated Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs). The idea is to jumpstart some activity that wiill generate a return on the public investment in R&D.
CDRD's commitment to this goal was underlined by the appointment this week of Karimah Es Sabar (photo) as Sr. VP for business and strategic affairs. A dynamic leader who has worked on life science projects in 60 countries on five continents, Ms. Es Sabar was most recently president of Lifesciences BC and previously held senior management positions with multinational companies, most notably director of international, marketing and business development for Connaught Labs (now Sanofi Pasteur) based in Toronto.

“This is a pivotal point in CDRD’s evolution and an ideal time to welcome Karimah into this new position," says Natalie Dakers, CDRD's CEO. "CDRD is expanding on an ongoing basis to include innovative research projects from across Canada and other countries. Our collaboration with MaRS Innovation allows us to MaRS_Innovation200X19.jpgexpand our pipeline of innovative and novel research discoveries beyond British Columbia to include exceptional researchers from the Toronto region."
MI harnesses the economic potential of the discovery pipeline of 14 leading Toronto academic and medical institutions. CDRD helps to develop new drugs, boosts the potential of new therapeutics to succeed in the health product marketplace and establishes working collaborations with other biotech and life sciences companies.
The first joint project arising out of the collaboration involves technology developed by Dr. Paul Fraser at UofT and Dr. Bruce Verchere at UBC, who are investigating a novel approach to the treatment of diabetes.
"We believe this technology (amyloid aggregation inhibitors) has the potential to be disease modifying and could create a new paradigm for treating Type 2 Diabetes," says Dr. Verchere. "This partnership allows us to leverage resources and still focus on our core interests and capabilities."

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