Quebec Drug Discovery Model Draws Global Attention
Research and Innovations IRICoR specializes in drug discovery. Its network and resources are set to benefit a growing pool of Canadian and international drug discovery innovators.
IRICoR (Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research) is a 10-year-old Canadian research commercialization hub specializing in cancer drug discovery. Based at founding Université de Montréal's (UdeM)Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), IRICoR identifies, invests in, and supports the development of the best early-stage drug discovery projects from across Canada and internationally to transform them into therapeutic innovations.
Created in 2008 as a not-for-profit Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR), IRICoR specializes in drug discovery. Its mandate is to accelerate the development of novel therapies in cancer, immunotherapy, and related fields through the creation of successful and lasting partnerships with the biopharmaceutical industry and spin-off companies.
IRICoR works with the sector's key stakeholders including [...] biopharmaceutical companies, and academic centres.
The organization is putting its recently-granted $25 million 2018-2023 CECR award — a real and renewed show of confidence from the federal government — to work, along with funding from Québec for a total of nearly $40 million in direct IRICoR operations.
The IRICoR difference
IRICoR's signature strategy is built around three themes: close collaboration between the research translation team and the project originators, an indication/expertise-focus, and a hybrid business-research model applied to each selected project. "We do business in innovative ways," notes Nadine Beauger, CEO of IRICoR, "by working hand-in-hand with originators and bringing funding, expertise in intellectual property, project management, and business development to transform early-stage research into therapeutic solutions, while developing a growing pool of business-savvy scientific talent."
IRICoR works with the sector's key stakeholders including other CECRs and consortia (including Centre for Drug Research and Development, MaRS Innovation, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, CQDM, and Neomed), biopharmaceutical companies, and academic centres. All IRICoR-supported projects also benefit from access to the organization's state-of-the-art drug discovery facilities and expertise, including one of the largest industry-trained medicinal chemistry groups in academia in Canada and MILA, the world-renowned Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute.
"We contribute to the creation of start-up companies — additional opportunities for us to shape the Canadian life science entrepreneurial landscape."
– Nadine Beauger, CEO of IRICoR
Looking to the future
IRICoR actively shapes its future as the leader in next-generation cancer therapeutics for a growing pool of projects and recently launched two pan-Canadian calls for projects with leading partners: the Merck-funded Oncopole and the patient-focused Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.
"IRICoR is also at a prime position to contribute to building the next wave of entrepreneurship-savvy experts in life sciences," says Beauger. "Our collaboration with the John Molson Business School, Montreal InVivo, and UdeM's Faculty of Pharmacy led to the launch of an entrepreneurship development program tailored to the needs of life sciences, now in its second year. We contribute to the creation of start-up companies — additional opportunities for us to shape the Canadian life science entrepreneurial landscape."
Indeed, IRICoR's signature support and access to its network of private partners and industry-grade Canadian drug discovery infrastructures and expertise are set to benefit a growing pool of Canadian and international drug discovery innovators.