Actively engaged in the fight against cancer, IRIC is committed to commercializing discoveries in fundamental research in order for them to rapidly evolve into therapeutic solutions that will benefit patients. In order to do so, the Institute can rely on the expertise of IRICoR, a research maturation cluster, on the lookout for the most promising scientific breakthroughs for the development of innovative drugs and treatments.
From today’s research to tomorrow’s therapies
Created in 2008 and based at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer, IRICoR is a research maturation centre, specializing in drug discovery. Possessing both scientific and business expertise, its team targets the best research projects from academia in order to facilitate their transformation into new therapies, through the development of strategic partnerships with the private sector and the creation of new companies.
IRICoR’s privileged relationships with the biopharmaceutical industry and clinical centres results in accelerating the transformation of research into therapeutic solutions that are accessible to patients, while also maximizing the economic benefits.
Strategic assistance from discovery to commercialization
IRICoR equipped itself with a versatile business model, adapted to the needs of the university and private sectors
Its team offers professional scientific and financial support to their research groups and collaborators, coupled with solid expertise in the protection of intellectual property, to bring projects to maturation and to ensure that they lead to the commercialization of new drugs and therapeutic approaches.
IRICoR targets the most promising projects from a scientific and commercial point of view. The experience of its Review Committee made up external and independent members ensures a thorough selection of projects in oncology and immunology with great potential to translate into high-value innovative projects.
IRICoR’s assistance results in accelerating the maturation of university research projects until they enter the clinical phase. Its milestone approach ensures the effective progress of projects while also ensuring protection of the newly generated intellectual property related to the commercialization objectives.
Access to core facilities
IRICoR provides the teams of Investigators with privileged access to cutting-edge research core facilities and to IRIC’s Drug Discovery Unit, made up of the country’s largest team of medicinal chemists and of biologists in a university setting. These core facilities are in constant development as a result of partnerships with selected suppliers and internal technology developers. Scientists possessing industry experience ensure professional supervision and continual access to the core facilities.
IRICoR’s skill in carrying out successful collaborations between the academic milieu and the private sector accelerates the transfer of innovation from university-based research to the market. IRICoR designs an exit strategy for each project selected in order to maximize the return on the capital invested. These revenues are reinvested into research to fuel the drug discovery chain.
Over the past ten years, IRICoR has helped five research projects reach the clinical phase. Two of them became a reality as a result of the creation of the following companies: ExCellThera and SpecificiT.
By strategically and financially supporting the development of said projects, and by assisting in the creation of a spinoff company, IRICoR acted as an accelerator in transforming fundamental research into clinical application innovations.
In the case of ExCellThera, a spin-off company at the UdeM and based on the discovery of the UM171 molecule, the transition from early “hit” stage to the clinic took less than six years.
When research translates into therapeutic solutions benefiting patients
UM171: a major breakthrough in oncology
IRICoR works very closely with the team headed by Anne Marinier, Principal Investigator, Director of Medicinal Chemistry, and Director of IRIC’s Drug Discovery Unit, and that of Dr. Guy Sauvageau, Principal Investigator at IRIC and hematologist at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, who discovered the UM171 Molecule, which has the capacity to multiply the stem cells present in umbilical cord blood.
These stem cells are used for transplants for the purpose of curing several blood diseases, including leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma. The results of the first phases of a clinical trial testing the efficacy of stem cells produced thanks to UM171 in patients suffering from blood cancer show hope.
This global breakthrough by IRIC’s teams, assisted throughout its development and supported in part by IRICoR, may soon provide thousands of patients with access to a safe stem cell transplant.
Over the past 10 years, IRICoR has demonstrated the success of its model with more than 80 project financings, including 50 partnership projects and 27 strategic partnerships with industry. Along with creating three active companies, 24 licence agreements have been reached, 60 patent families have been generated and seven clinical trials have been initiated.