AstraZeneca Canada and Pfizer Canada, two leaders in the country’s biopharmaceutical industry, are forming a partnership with the Québec government to create the NĒOMED Institute, a new kind of life sciences research centre. A total of $100 million will be invested to establish and support the research centre over five years.
The NĒOMED Institute will act as a catalyst in two ways: first, by creating a bridge between academic research and the life sciences companies; second, by providing an environment that will create synergies between the main biotech industry players. The non-profit research hub will seek to bring key stakeholders in the research and development chain – including researchers, universities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, venture capital funds – under the same roof, working together in an open, collaborative environment. More than 100 highly qualified employees are expected to be working there when it reaches full capacity.
AstraZeneca Canada is donating $35 million to the NĒOMED Institute. This includes land, the neuroscience basic research facility, and leading-edge laboratory equipment. It also includes the donation of intellectual property to three AstraZeneca pain molecules and projects, as well as $5 million to support the activities of the institute. Pfizer Canadais providing a financial contribution of approximately $3.5 million, and the Québec government is contributing $28 million toward the project.
Based on a model which involves sharing knowledge, expertise and resources, the NĒOMED Institute aims to strengthen the life sciences sector in Québec by helping to stimulate research and collaboration, accelerate and facilitate the transition from academic research to the development of new drugs. It will also seek to attract investment by showcasing the results of local research to international investors.
“The cost of discovering new drugs keeps rising and pharmaceutical companies need to adapt,” said Max Fehlmann, new President and CEO of the institute, which will be located in the former AstraZeneca building in the Saint-Laurent borough’s technology park. He added: “The NĒOMED Institute, acting as a competitive actor in the drug development sector, will allow Québec’s scientists to make the bridge between academic innovations and commercial opportunities in a better way.”
For her part, Elaine Campbell, President, AstraZeneca Canada Inc., said: “This announcement is a strong testament to AstraZeneca’s commitment to biopharmaceutical research and development in Quebec and Canada. Through the creation of the NĒOMED Institute, we’re proud to be working in collaboration with our partners to advance drug discovery and bridge the innovation gap through to successful commercialization.”
Added John Helou, President of Pfizer Canada Inc.: “We are excited by NĒOMED because it exemplifies the type of partnership activity that is needed in our new R&D model. NĒOMED complements our long-time Canadian R&D investment strategy which has been focussed on innovative partnerships.”