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IRICoR and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation: Joint $3M investment for new treatments – Canada NewsWire



MONTREAL, July 14, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – The pandemic has highlighted the importance of supporting scientific research in order to allow investigators to find real solutions to deal with public health issues such as COVID-19 or cancer. In this context, IRICoR and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation (QBCF) have joined forces to fund research on breast cancer, a cancer that affects a large and vulnerable population. Today, they proudly announce the four recipients of their joint LeadAction|Breast Cancer du Sein Competition, launched across Canada. These winning investigators from Quebec will benefit from a total amount of 3 million dollars over three years, with $1.5M coming from IRICoR and $1.5M from the QBCF.

This substantial support will enable recipients to accelerate their innovative breast cancer research work in order to offer more therapeutic options to those affected. The projects selected target two major breast cancer issues: 

  1. Understanding why certain types of breast cancer are treatment-resistant and thus fight these resistance mechanisms with new therapies.
  2. Developing new treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer, such as triple-negative and HER2-dependent.

“The LeadAction|Breast Cancer du Sein Competition is unique and innovative! It is translated by the convergence of three vital scientific and social innovation components, namely science, industry and the patient community. Therefore, by jointly launching this call, IRICoR and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation have met the glaring needs of the people affected by breast cancer, by supporting large-scale projects that will result in developing new promising therapies”, points out Jida El Hajjar, Ph.D., Vice-President of Investment and Health Promotion at the QBCF. 

“Leading-edge breast cancer research must effectively translate into benefits to patients. The LeadAction|Breast Cancer du Sein Competition represents an exceptional opportunity to support creative projects that will ensure the development of novel therapeutic solutions for those suffering from breast cancer. This Competition allows us to seize the opportunity of combining our expertise in transforming research into therapeutic innovations with respect to the needs of breast cancer patients. IRICoR is excited about the outstanding quality of the projects submitted as part of the LeadAction|Breast Cancer du sein Competition launched across Canada“, added Dr. Nadine Beauger, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Executive Officer of IRICoR.

Recipients of the LeadAction|Breast Cancer du Sein Competition

Following a competitive process and a thorough assessment of applications from Quebec and the rest of Canada by an independent international peer committee, four projects were selected:

1.  Blocking the addictions of cancerous tumors in order to destroy them

Rationally designed approaches to target mRNA translation in eradicating poor outcome breast cancers [Team headed by Jerry Pelletier, Principal Investigator at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, McGill University] 

While cancer cells depend on the translation of mRNA to produce the proteins required for their aggressive nature, no molecule has yet been developed to block that process in breast cancer. The team headed by Jerry Pelletier seeks to remedy that situation by developing a molecule belonging to a whole new class of anti-cancer agent that can target and block that addiction.

2.  Countering resistance to treatments 

Development of orally bioavailable antiestrogens optimized for induction of estrogen receptor post-translational modifications by SUMOylation [Team headed by Sylvie Mader, Principal Investigator at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal]

30 to 50% of patients affected by hormone-dependent (ER+) breast cancer develop resistance to therapies targeting the estrogen receptor. This team has already discovered that SUMOylation of the estrogen receptor contributes to the efficacy of fulvestrant, an anti-estrogen used in the treatment of ER+ breast cancer progressing after hormonal therapy. They are now working on developing new molecules optimized for this activity to better treat those affected by ER+ metastatic breast cancer.

3.  Demystifying the role of a protein responsible for the spread of triple-negative breast cancer

Development of small-molecule inhibitors of Ran GTPase as anti-cancer agents [Team headed by Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, Principal Investigator at the CHUM Research Centre]

Breast cancer is much more difficult to treat at the metastatic stage. In many cases, the protein Ran is associated with the spread of the disease to the other healthy tissues. The two investigators are currently testing molecules to curb the protein Ran for the purpose of slowing down or stopping the progression of breast cancer.

 4.  Developing a new molecule comparable to vitamin D to fight triple-negative breast cancer

Bifunctional vitamin D analogues as novel therapeutics against triple-negative breast cancer [Team headed by John White, Principal Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital]

This team of investigators developed a new class of molecules as therapeutic agents against triple-negative breast cancer. They are vitamin D analogues. Their distinctive feature: they combine 2 active functions against cancer, namely HDAC inhibitors and the active form of vitamin D.

About IRICoR

Designated as a Centre of Excellence in Research and Commercialization (CECR) by the Canadian government and based at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal, IRICoR is a pan-Canadian leader in the de-risking of early-stage assets in the field of drug discovery. IRICoR’s mandate is to accelerate the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapies in cancer and rare diseases. Since 2008, IRICoR has been successfully investing in and supporting selected high-value projects in order to rapidly translate early-stage innovation into potential new therapies, through either co-development partnerships with the biopharmaceutical industry or the creation of spin-off companies. IRICoR seamlessly combines its business-related expertise with access to industry-level drug discovery capabilities, providing selected academic and industry projects with access to its network of experts and cutting-edge infrastructure, including one of the largest academia-based drug discovery unit in Canada. IRICoR’s major funding sources include the federal CECR Program, the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du Québec (MEI), and collaborative partnerships with the biopharmaceutical industry.

For more information about IRICoR: 

About the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation

The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation (QBCF) is dedicated to achieving its vision: a breast cancer free future. Breast cancer milestones underline the importance of our MISSION: advancing leading-edge research, education, community support, and advocacy. Since 1994, QBCF has raised more than $46 million to support promising research leading to key breakthroughs in breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and end-of life care. Our role as catalyst for establishing strategic collaborations brought cancer institutions, health professionals, and researchers to adopt interesting innovations such as artificial intelligence, telehealth, 3-D printing, big data, and many more. Together with our researchers, volunteers, supporters, stakeholders and staff, we are committed to continue our mission and to transform breast cancer control.

For more information about the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation:


For further information: For further information or interviews: Marie-Pier Cornellier, Media Relations and Communications Specialist, Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, 819 572-1254, [email protected] ; Noémie Desbois Mackenzie, Communication Advisor, Public Relations, IRICoR, 514 475-7682, [email protected]

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Pandemic to stimulate more active stock investment strategies: Nissay Asset CEO –



By Hideyuki Sano and Tomo Uetake

TOKYO (Reuters) – Social transformations triggered by the coronavirus pandemic are making index-following, passive stock investments less attractive and could reverse a decline in active stock investments, the chief executive of Nissay Asset Management said.

Hiroshi Ozeki said a recovery to pre-pandemic levels will be difficult for some industries such as restaurants, airlines and train operators.

Energy-intensive sectors also would be pressured by the need to deal with climate change, he added.

“Even after the pandemic is over and even with some government help, they won’t return to where they were,” said the chief of the 13 trillion yen ($125 billion) asset management firm.

“Up until now, passive style has been a vogue – it’s been said to be the most efficient investment. But with that, you are automatically putting your money in those industries with no growth stories,” he said.

Assets held by exchange traded funds (ETFs), among the most convenient passive investments, have been increasing globally over the last decade.

In contrast, active funds, which try to aim for higher returns based on stock picking, have seen large outflows in recent years.

“In the coming few years, active investments are likely to outperform passive ones. The era of active investment may be back,” Ozeki said.

Companies which Nissay scores highly for Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) had done better this year, he said.

Enterprises poised to benefit from the shift to renewable energy would prosper after the United States and Japan join other countries in adopting ambitious targets to achieve carbon neutrality.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in October set the same goal for Japan.

“Some companies that have committed to 100% renewable power targets, such as Sony and Ricoh, are saying that Japan is now becoming the bottleneck among the developed world in achieving that goal,” he said, citing limited availability and high costs of renewable energy.

“So it means a lot that Suga has made that target. For investors, too, it reduces risk when the government clarifies its long-term goal,” Ozeki said.

Ozeki also said for next year he expected:

* Global share prices to rally further as the pandemic lasts longer than expected, forcing policymakers to continue to support the economy through monetary and fiscal measures.

* Short-term U.S. interest rates to stay low, making currency-hedged dollar bond investments attractive for Japanese investors.

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits

(For more summit stories, see)  

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Tomo Uetake in Sydney; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Fall Economic Statement 2020 – Investment Executive



The federal Liberals are proposing $25 billion in new spending to help Canadian businesses and workers make it through a Covid-19 winter and vowing tens of billions more to help the country recover from the pandemic.

November 30, 2020

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Vancouver investment firm bought under fraudulent circumstances: IIROC – Powell River Peak



Vancouver-headquartered investment firm PI Financial Corporation was purchased under fraudulent pretences, according to allegations set out in a notice of hearing from Canada’s investment regulator.

The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC) alleges Gary Man Kin Ng and Donald Warren Metcalfe duped their lenders, who assisted them in buying PI Financial in 2018 for $100 million.

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Ng personally guaranteed the loans used to buy the firm, however, “despite his representations, Ng did not actually own, control or have trading authority over the securities accounts pledged as collateral,” according to IIROC. “Instead, ownership and control of the collateral was falsified by Ng and Metcalfe.”

Before buying PI Financial, which is said to employ over 300 people across Canada, Ng, 36, was an Approved Person and a Registered Representative for selling securities. He owned a Winnipeg-based firm named Chippingham Financial Group Limited via various corporate structures referred to by IIROC as the Ng Group. In November 2018, Ng, through the Ng Group, acquired a 100% controlling interest in PI Financial, IIROC stated in a notice of hearing that has scheduled a preliminary appearance on January 6, 2021.

Ng is said to have borrowed $80 million from “Lender One” and $20 million from “Lender Two.”
As security for the loans, “Ng purportedly granted separate, unencumbered security interests to Lender One, and also to Lender Two, over collateral including certain Chippingham securities accounts (later PI Financial accounts) which were owned by him,” stated IIROC, adding such representations were fake.

Ng is accused of “vastly overstating” the value of assets in the accounts and altering securities account statements.

“Metcalfe also perpetrated a fraud as he directly and actively participated with Ng in the falsification and distribution of false and/or fictitious account documentation to lenders,” it said in the November 24 notice of hearing.

In addition to the $100 million to buy PI Financial, Ng and Metcalfe borrowed a further $40 million from Lender Two and then $32 million from a third lender – all based on falsified collateral.

Although PI Financial was 100% owned by Ng, company officials “became aware of the issues concerning Ng’s purported ownership of securities accounts at the end of January 2020, and immediately reported these matters to IIROC,” the notice states.

Both men failed to attend an interview with IIROC enforcement staff over the summer.

IIROC said, “Ng, who was born in 1984, represented himself to others as an extremely successful businessperson who created enormous personal wealth through highly successful technology, real estate and manufacturing investments in Canada and China.”

At the time of the PI Financial purchase, Ng spoke of the deal with BNN Bloomberg, whose hosts noted how unique the deal was, given most investment firms are bought by large corporate entities, not individuals.

Metcalfe, meanwhile, was someone who worked initially with Ng at Chippingham.

Some details of the alleged lies are outlined in the notice. For example, several accounts Ng purported to have a value of $91 million actually had a value of $1.9 million.

IIROC proceedings are civil and not criminal. Should the allegations be proven, Ng and Metcalfe face any of the following corrective measures: a reprimand; disgorgement of any losses; a maximum $5 million fine; suspension or prohibition of activities; and a permanent ban from the industry.

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