Medical Briefs

Guest Contributor
March 5, 2001

CIHR appoints members to Institute Advisory Boards

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has reached another key milestone with the appointment of a full slate of Institute Advisory Boards (IAB) members to its virtual institutes. A staggering 218 individuals from Canada and abroad have been appointed, and each board is headed up by a chair appointed by the governing council. Each IAB has between 15 and 18 members and were chosen for their broad research expertise, representation in various stakeholder groups, and demographics (province/region, gender, linguistic preference and gender). The IABs are charged with gathering expertise for discussion, deliberating institute priorities, providing guidance on the implementation of respective strategic plans and engaging the broader community in the activities and outcomes of the institutes. A complete listing of the IAB members can be found at

Adherex unveils $20 million public offering

Adherex Technologies Inc is wading into an uncertain market with the filing of a preliminary prospectus for an initial public offering (IPO), with the aim of raising $20 million. The offering is being underwritten by Canaccord Capital Corp in conjunction with Yorkton Securities Inc, TD Securities Inc and Dlouhy Merchant Group Inc. The IPO follows on the heels of a hectic year of financing for the young Ottawa-headquartered firm. In its bid to further develop therapeutics based on cell adhesion therapies, Adherex received $10.3 million in warrant mezzanine financing last November, providing the necessary capital to build a drug screening laboratory. In February 2000, it received an undisclosed investment from the venture capital arm of Osaka-based Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co Ltd - the first pharmaceutical firm to invest in the start-up and a critical validation of its technology. Adherex spun off from McGill Univ in 1996 and located its organic synthesis facility in Ottawa, although its biological research is conducted through an international network of scientists. Its lead compound (based on the cadherin family of cell adhesion molecules), works to destroy blood vessels feeding cancerous tumors....

Big pharma steps up to support synchrotron

The pharmaceutical industry is stepping up to the plate with $1 million in support for the Canadian Light Source (CLS) - a sum that will be matched by the provincial Saskatchewan Economic and Co-operative Development agency. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has made a $500,000 endowment to establish a research in structural biology, the first research chair to be linked to the CLS. GSK made the commitment under its $10-million Pathfinders Fund for Leaders in Canadian Health Science Research program and the funding will be disbursed over five years. In another first, Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) is contributing $500,000 over five years to beamline construction to conduct protein crystallography research once the facility is operational in 2004. BI is the first industrial investor in a CLS beamline. The announcements were made February 26 at a ceremony marking the completion of the building on the Univ of Saskatchewan campus where the synchrotron will be assembled. Plans for the facility have growth in recent months, due in large part to the response from industry and provincial governments. Instead of six beamlines as originally anticipated, up to 30 beamlines are now being planned....

CGDN team develop mouse model with mutated gene

A team of researchers at McGill Univ has generated a mouse model with gene mutations that constitute a major advance in research into diseases related to inborn errors in metabolism and other disorders. Led by Dr Rima Rozen, a member of the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network (CGDN) , the research shows that the gene mutation plays an important role in regulating inborn risk of neurological and vascular diseases. The gene (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) is involved in the synthesis of an active form of folic acid which regulates the level of a specific amino acid associated with cardiovascular disease and developmental retardation. Also participating in Rozen's work to generate the mouse model with the knock out is a core CGDN facility at McMaster Univ, led by Dr Michael Rudnicki....

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