Le Lézard
Classified in: Business
Subjects: SRI, CPG

The Sherbrooke Pharmacology Institute of the Université de Sherbrooke leads a $27 million project to discover new drugs


SHERBROOKE, QC, Dec. 13, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - The anticipated drug shortage at the beginning of the pandemic revealed the urgency of ensuring Quebec's supply autonomy. A major initiative of the Pharmacology Institute of Sherbrooke (IPS) of the Université de Sherbrooke aims at better predicting the action of drugs developed in the laboratory thanks to cutting-edge processes based on artificial intelligence and molecular imaging.

This initiative, called Acuity Quebec, has three-year funding amounting to $27 million. A portion of the grant came from the Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI), which provided $13.8 million through the Fonds d'accélération des collaborations en santé. The remainder comes from the many partners who have joined the initiative, including 14 local SMEs, 1 multinational, 3 business accelerators/incubators, and 5 institutions and research centres employing 17 researchers. 

Professor Jean-Pierre Perreault, Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies at the Université de Sherbrooke, is delighted with this initiative. ?"This major grant will accelerate collaborative research between university laboratories and many companies in the health sciences. The synergy created will definitely revitalize the pharmaceutical industry in Quebec. The Université de Sherbrooke is proud to be the institution behind this investment and to contribute to the development of the next generation of experts in this economic sector."? 

Contributing to Revitalizing Quebec's Biopharmaceutical Sector

The consortium will combine chemistry, pharmacology, molecular imaging, and artificial intelligence to accelerate the creation of new molecules while better predicting efficacy without adverse effects.

Creating a new drug is a complex process. Almost 9 times out of 10, unexpected side effects or insufficient efficacy show up in clinical trials. The molecules that never make it to pharmacies drive up the cost of research and delay the arrival of new treatments on the market.

Thus, despite increased research efforts to discover new molecules, there has been a decline in the number of new drugs brought to market. IPS wanted to be part of the solution, as explained by IPS director Professor Philippe Sarret. ?As he puts it, "the drug discovery and development process needs to be transformed. Under IPS leadership, the Acuity Quebec project will bring new vision and innovative solutions to ensure an effective transition from basic research to clinical applications and to improve the effectiveness and safety of drugs for patients."?

Bringing Together World-Renowned Expertise

The project is led by internationally renowned researchers from the IPS, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), and Mila-Institut québécois d'intelligence artificielle.

?"The Acuity Quebec project has great potential, both in terms of advancing knowledge and transferring that knowledge to Quebec society," pointed out Michel Bouvier, IRIC director: "the complementary expertise of academic and industrial research groups in pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, and artificial intelligence will allow us to take an integrated approach that will accelerate the discovery and development of innovative drugs."?

Yoshua Bengio, Mila's chief scientific officer added that "?by bringing together the complementary strengths of research labs across the province, Acuity Quebec gives us the opportunity to truly become game changers at a critical time for AI-assisted drug discovery."? 

Four Scientific Components

The work carried out by Acuity Quebec aims at transforming the way we create drugs from molecule discovery to applicability. The work breaks down into four components:

IPS will carry out the first two components. The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) will handle the studies related to biosensors. The institute is already collaboration with IPS, in particular on the Médicament Québec project. Mila will be responsible for the component related to algorithm development.

Job Creation and Training the Next Generation

A significant aspect of the project is the potential for socioeconomic development. In fact, we expect that at least three companies will be created, yielding 60 direct jobs and 130 jobs in total, not to mention a significant increase in revenue for the SMEs involved.

?As stated by Marie-Claude Battista, directrice du bureau de la valorisation et des partenariats (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences), "subsequent to this pandemic, we will be looking for relevant projects that will help us develop locally and ensure Quebec's economic recovery. Acuity Quebec has very specific job-creation objectives. There is also a significant target for future investment, estimated at $64 million from Canadian investors and $112 million from foreign investors.

IPS, of course, wants Acuity Quebec to be a long-term project. As a result, the team is actively working to develop a training component open to graduate students. This initiative would help meet the growing demand for skilled workers in the biopharmaceutical sector.

Members of the Acuity Quebec Consortium

Pharmacology Institute of Sherbrooke (IPS), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMSS) and Université de Sherbrooke; Université de Montréal, MILA, Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the Université de Montréal (IRIC), IRICoR, Centre de recherche du CHU de Sainte-Justine, CIUSSS de l'Estrie-CHUS, Centre de recherche du CHUS, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Sherbrooke Innopole, Abaxial Médical, AdMare Bioinnovations, Cannasher, CMC Microsystems, FIND Therapeutics, Imagia Cybernetics, Imeka, Immune Biosolutions, Inversago, Valence Discovery, IR&T, MIMs, Photon etc, Excellthera, NMX Research and Solutions.

For more information:

Read the announcement from the ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation du Québec
[Video] Acuity Quebec consortium, a major research project (in French with English subtitles)
Discover the Pharmacology Institute of Sherbrooke (IPS)
Professor Philippe Sarret's professional page

SOURCE Université de Sherbrooke


These press releases may also interest you

at 09:00
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Pakistan's Independence Day: "Today, we join Pakistani communities in Canada and around the world to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Pakistan's independence. "Canada and...

at 09:00
Ziegler, a specialty investment bank, is pleased to announce the successful closing of a $17,775,000 taxable bank placement for The View Alexandria by Goodwin Livingtm, a subsidiary of Goodwin Living...

at 08:00
McClatchy announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Zette, an online subscription platform that enables consumers to access premium content from participating news publishers. Through this agreement, Zette subscribers will have...

at 05:05
Anaergia Inc. ("Anaergia" or the "Company") will release its financial results for the second quarter of 2022, and as previously disclosed, it will also file its restated annual financial statements for the periods ended December 31, 2021, and 2020,...

13 aoû 2022
Inventronics Limited ("Inventronics" or the "Corporation") , a designer and manufacturer of enclosures for the telecommunications, cable, power distribution, energy and other industries in North America, today announced its unaudited 2022 Q2...

13 aoû 2022
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, will visit Montréal, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario, and Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, from August 21 to 23, 2022. Prime Minister Trudeau will meet...



News published on 13 december 2021 at 09:57 and distributed by: