June 5, 2023
UHN, Canada's largest research hospital and medical innovation centre, has announced a drug discovery partnership with Providence Therapeutics, a leading Canadian biopharmaceutical company developing messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and therapeutics.
UHN and Providence will partner to develop novel mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics for those living with difficult to treat cancers and infectious diseases.
The partnership, which was finalized with a signing ceremony on Friday, June 2 in MaRS Discovery District, will draw on UHN's renowned clinical research and discovery capabilities, as well as Providence's proprietary, clinically validated mRNA platform technology, with commercialization efforts led by Commercialization at UHN.
The product development and subsequent manufacturing will be done in Canada, directly benefiting Canadian patients.
This collaboration will also help position Ontario as a major hub for the development of new mRNA-based therapeutics. Programs developed through this partnership aim to produce affordable medicines for Canadians.
"Our partnership with Providence demonstrates the strength of discovery research at the University Health Network and our potential to fuel innovative therapeutic options for patients, addressing some of today's top health concerns," says Dr. Brad Wouters, UHN's Executive Vice President, Science and Research.
"This partnership will help us get homegrown treatments to patients faster, and is a key path forward for research discoveries to evolve into new medical therapies."
Dr. Pamela Ohashi, Director of the Tumour Immunotherapy Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, says this partnership "will allow us to continue to develop immunotherapy as a breakthrough strategy in cancer treatment, and paves the way for new therapeutic options for other diseases.
"mRNA technology is a novel and powerful tool to improve cancer therapies and we expect to be able to test initial impact of new therapeutic options in clinical trials as early as next year," she says.
Brad Sorenson, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Providence Therapeutics, says "the launch of this collaboration marks an important milestone for our company, as we work with the top research hospital network in Canada to demonstrate the potential of our mRNA platform technology and develop novel cancer and infectious disease vaccines and therapeutics for patients.
"We are proud to have support from UHN as our partner and draw upon their renowned clinical research and discovery expertise and resources," he says. "We look forward to bringing safe and effective treatment options to Canadians."
At a question-and-answer session following the signing ceremony, (L to R), Heman Chao, Principal, Business Development & Commercialization, at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre; Dr. Pamela Ohashi, Director of the Tumour Immunotherapy Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre; Brad Sorenson, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Providence Therapeutics; Dr. Brad Wouters, UHN's Executive Vice President, Science and Research; and Dr. Aleks Pastrak, Chief Medical Officer of Providence Therapeutics. (Photo: UHN)