The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: Michael J. Fox Foundation

Monday Biotech Deal Review: February 7, 2011

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for February 7, 2011.  It was a fairly busy week for Canadian biotech – Angiotech has followed suit in the U.S. on the heels of last week’s CCAA filing, a number of acquisitions were announced, and there was some activity in biotech licensing.  Read on to learn more.  Read more of this post

Monday Biotech Deal Review: December 6, 2010

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review.  There was some activity with Angiotech last week, with extension agreements being executed extending certain deadlines dealing with Angiotech’s proposed recapitalization as well as a preliminary loss in court against Rex Medical L.P.  Read on to learn more, as well as your usual assortment of biotech news.  Read more of this post

Monday Biotech Deal Review: June 28, 2010

We follow a number of trends here at the blog, and two of them showed up as Canadian deals this week. Add those to the Biovail-Valeant merger, Æterna’s offering and a whole slew of commercial deals, and it’s been a pretty big week in Canadian deal-making.

check it out after the jump…

Friday Science Review: September 25, 2009

A quiet week for journal publications but there were a few significant research related activities…

Canadian Stem Cell Charter: At the recent World Stem Cell Summit in Baltimore, Canada stepped up and demonstrated why we are one of the leaders in stem cell research.  This time it was not a lab discovery but the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation’s launch of a charter outlining ethical principals and a code of conduct to guide stem cell research in a responsible and ethical way.

The Stem Cell Charter upholds the following principles:
• Responsibility to maintain the highest level of scientific quality, safety and ethical probity
• Protection of citizens from harm and the safeguarding of the public trust and values
• Intellectual Freedom to exchange ideas in the spirit of international collaboration
• Transparency through the disclosure of results and of possible conflicts of interest
• Integrity in the promotion and advancement of stem cell research and therapy for the betterment
of the welfare of all human beings

Bartha Knoppers, a bioethicist at McGill University’s Centre of Genomics and Policy, authored the charter in collaboration with a working group of scientists, patients, ethicists and laypeople.  She describes the purpose of the charter:

“There have been a lot of spurious claims in this area, people doing the first of this or the first of that, and it not being true,”

“It’s a wake-up call to scientists to remind them that if they want to work in this field, they have to do so under a scientific code of conduct and it’s to reassure the public that this is not the Wild West.”

“We’d like to keep it a credible science,”

“We’d like to keep it a science that merits public investment and public funding.”

Signing on (www.stemcellcharter.org) and adhering to the charter is one way of doing just that.  It is also a way for the public to show their support for stem cell research and to make their voices heard.

By the way, September 23rd was Stem Cell Awareness Day!

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF): This was mentioned in yesterday’s post on this blog.  Michael J. Fox announced the charity status of the Canadian arm of his MJFF for Parkinson’s Research in association with The McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine (MCRM) and Toronto Western Hospital (TWH).  I just want to emphasize the significance from a research perspective.  He is an advocate for stem cell based therapy and his Foundation promotes and emphasizes the sharing of scientific information to facilitate quicker results – “We don’t just fund research.  We fund results.”

Flu shot increases risk of H1N1 virus:  An unpublished Canadian study is garnering attention by suggesting that a seasonal flu shot may actually increase an individual’s chances of catching the H1N1 virus.  The report is still under peer-review and the details are not available but it was enough for Ontario to modify its flu vaccination program this season.  Younger people will not be offered the seasonal flu vaccine until they receive the H1N1 vaccine, which will not be available until mid-November.  Other provinces are also considering making some changes to their programs.

The CDC and WHO are looking into this controversial study but are taking a cautious stance, refraining from acting too quickly:

“The reason why this may be different in Canada and in this particular study than in other places of the world is not yet identified. It may be a study bias, it may be that something is real,”

“None of the other countries have been able to find anything like that”

This enhancing effect would be unusual for flu viruses but not completely new from a biological perspective.

Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Dr. Gaston De Serres of Laval University led the research study.

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Trends Update — Commercialization by Nonprofit Foundations: iCo-CPDD Deal, plus MJFF Comes to Canada

One of the trends we’ve been keeping an eye on this year is the increasing willingness of nonprofit foundations to fund and support commercial product development.  Two updates today:

  1. iCo Therapeutics Inc. (TSX-V: ICO) is collaborating with the Consortium for Parasitic Drug Development (CPDD) to optimize one of iCo’s products for tropical conditions.  (That’s CPDD as in development of drugs to combat parasitic diseases, by the way, not a new and selfish approach to drug development.)  CPDD, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grantee, is making an initial contribution of USD $182,930 to iCo’s work.
  2. The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which has been very active in providing funding to companies working on Parkinson’s treatments, has registered as a tax-exempt charity in Canada.  Hopefully this will open the door for more Canadian collaborations.

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Trends Update — Commercialization by Nonprofit Foundations: Not All Coming Up Roses

An article in Mass High Tech yesterday points to the trend we’ve been following of increasing commercialization activity by non-profits, but looks at things from the foundations’ point of view. While the economic crisis is, as expected, causing companies to seek out more foundation funding, those collaborations are having as much trouble as the rest of the biotech world:

  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation had to reclaim rights from Altus Pharmaceuticals, and spent $3 million continuing a Phase 3 trial while looking for a new partner;
  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation is putting more money than it planned into its corporate ventures because of the dearth of for-profit investors; and
  • the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has “had to walk away from some really good science” at companies that look “too vulnerable financially.”

The article also has a good list of foundation-biotech collaborations:

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with Alnara Pharmaceuticals, Epix Pharmaceuticals, FoldRx Pharmaceuticals;

Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, FoldRx Pharmaceuticals Inc., NeuroHealing, LINK Medicine and Codman & Shurtleff;

Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation with FoldRx Pharmaceuticals Inc.; and

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation with Tolerx Inc., Smart Cells Inc.

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