Toronto, Ontario, June 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP) announced today the launch of a new LAB150 project aimed at developing a novel therapeutic agent for immuno-oncology. The research for the promising new approach comes from Dr. Jean Gariépy and his lab at Sunnybrook Research Institute, a TIAP Member institution.
The last several years has seen the introduction of a new blockbuster class of drugs for treating cancers – specifically, the immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). These drugs act by reversing the block that some tumors put on the body’s immune system, thereby allowing immune cells to infiltrate and kill harmful tumor cells.
Despite the great success in treating a number of cancer subtypes with ICIs, the majority of solid tumors with high prevalence and unmet need have proven more challenging to treat with this approach.
Dr. Jean Gariépy, Senior Scientist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute, and his research group have developed a promising new approach to boost immune targeting of tumor cells. Specifically, the Gariépy group has engineered a multimerized version of a binding protein, naturally found in the body, that can bind to a stimulatory receptor found on the surface of T-cells. The new approach has already demonstrated the ability to shrink tumors in pre-clinical models. Envisioned indications for this therapy include a number of solid tumors, such as metastatic melanoma, colon, breast, and gastric cancers.
“Immunotherapies have had a dramatic impact in terms of patient survival and enhanced quality of life in some cancers, but many solid tumors still pose a challenge,” says Dr. Gariépy. “The LAB150 opportunity will allow us to translate our research into a cancer therapeutic that will provide better outcomes for cancer patients that currently have limited options.”
This is the seventh approved project within the LAB150 program and the first from the Sunnybrook Research Institute. LAB150 is a partnership between TIAP and Evotec SE with the goal of accelerating academic innovations towards commercial outcomes by not only providing capital but, equally important, ensuring expertise and drug discovery infrastructure on pharmaceutically validated platforms.
“Each new project going through the LAB150 accelerated development program confirms our initial reasons for implementing this tool. We see very promising early stage innovations from our Members go through a streamlined validation process which brings them to the next important goalpost in a rapid and cost-effective manner. We are excited that Dr. Gariépy’s project was approved by LAB150 and look forward to working with him and his team on getting his cancer therapeutic research through the hurdles,” said Parimal Nathwani, President & CEO of TIAP.
To learn more about the previous projects and for information on LAB150, please see www.lab150.com.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is inventing the future of health care for the 1.3 million patients the hospital cares for each year through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff and volunteers. An internationally recognized leader in research and education and a full affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as one of Canada’s premier academic health sciences centres. Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) spans three Toronto-based campuses: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Holland Centre and St. John’s Rehab. Our researchers are internationally recognized experts in biological sciences, physical sciences and evaluative clinical sciences. They are working to invent the future of health care in many clinical areas, including brain disease; cancer; heart disease; bone and joint disorders; rehabilitation; trauma, burns and critical care; veterans care; and women and babies. For more information, please visit www.sunnybrook.ca.