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Canada's immunotherapy network - BioCanRx

$25 million for 2014-20
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Canada's immunotherapy network

Number of partners
169

Partner contributions
$19.8 million

Headquarters
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario

Scientific Director
John Bell John Bell

President and CEO
Stéphanie Michaud Stéphanie Michaud

Board chair
Ken Newport Ken Newport

The opportunity

Immunotherapies are among the most exciting and promising cancer treatments to emerge in the past decade, thanks to their ability to mobilize and activate the body’s natural defense mechanisms against the most advanced cancers. Unfortunately too many of these promising therapies are failing to reach the clinic, in part because of a lack of critical infrastructure to bridge the gap between the laboratory discoveries and human testing of promising experimental therapeutics. Canada has launched a national effort to overcome these hurdles. Scientists and clinicians are working with provincial agencies, cancer foundations, industry and NGOs – as well as cancer patients and their families – to bring new treatments to patients quickly while reducing health care costs.

How BioCanRX is seizing the opportunity

BioCanRx is a pan-Canadian network of expertise and infrastructure for the development, manufacturing and clinical testing of new immunotherapies that hold the promise of being more effective, affordable and safe than conventional cancer therapies. The network builds upon the fundamental scientific discoveries made in laboratories across the country and leverages Canada’s specialized manufacturing, toxicity and testing infrastructure to de-risk the most promising therapeutic candidates and initiate testing in cancer patients. In addition to scientists and clinicians specializing in biology, genomics and immunology, legal scholars, ethicists and health economists have also been enlisted to ensure a holistic approach is taken for the uptake of these technologies within the health care system and that they are affordable to health care payers.

Among the results

  • BioCanRx and its partners are funding CAR T manufacturing in Canada. Significant capacity-building activities are underway to develop the infrastructure and operating procedures to manufacture and deliver a Canadian-made CAR T cell product for the first Canadian academic-led CAR T clinical trial. This new capacity will enable researchers to clinically develop next generation CAR Ts in Canada. BioCanRx is also gaining recognition by regulators and CADTH on how CAR T will be adopted and paid for in the Canadian healthcare system.
  • To help ensure CAR-T cell therapy is brought to Canadian patients safely and effectively, BioCanRx has an integrated knowledge translation project called GO-CART. It has reviewed the existing base of knowledge and involved patients and clinicians as part of the team to inform clinical trial design. They have developed an optimized CAR T clinical trial protocol ready to implement for the first Canadian academic-led CAR T clinical trial.
  • The network’s Clinical, Social and Economic Impact research program funded a project in the development and application of Early Health Technology Assessment (HTA) tools and measures to answer the question: “What are the evidence gaps to be addressed in order to support reimbursement of CAR T therapy strategies from the healthcare payer perspective?” The push for this research investment arose from our Cancer Stakeholder Alliance membership.
  • BioCanRx is leveraging our grant funds through our many industry partnerships. From our investment of $18.9M, our estimated partner contributions for our first cycle (2015-2020) will total an impressive $63.8M. BioCanRx has funded 44 projects through these collaborations. The projects are therapies in our clinical development pipeline, and technologies to enable their arrival in clinic.
  • BioCanRx has garnered international recognition for its successful Learning Institute at the annual Summit for Cancer Immunotherapy. Patient/public leaders and academic scholars come together in a collaborative knowledge exchange program. Participants become familiar with research concepts in immuno-oncology, develop knowledge translation skills, network, create partnerships and write a Dissemination Report to share their learnings with the cancer community.
  • BioCanRx funded the world’s first clinical trial to combine an oncolytic vaccine approach with checkpoint inhibitor antibodies for cancer treatment. The Phase I clinical trial is fostering multi-sector partnerships between biotechnology start-up Turnstone Biologics Inc. and a pharmaceutical company. It is being conducted in five Canadian sites.

Connect with BioCanRx

 

News
May 3, 2019
March 28, 2019
February 8, 2019
November 21, 2018
September 30, 2018
September 24, 2018
September 21, 2018
February 2, 2018
December 1, 2017
October 20, 2017
February 2, 2017
February 1, 2017
December 9, 2016
December 7, 2016
November 2, 2016
September 16, 2016
Events
October 20-23, 2019
Features
BioCanRx supports innovative clinical trial combining experimental cancer-killing viruses and antibodies
April 27, 2017
More than 50 Canadians with lung cancer could be the first trial participants who may benefit from a promising new combination therapy with the potential to significantly improve treatment outcomes, and cause fewer side effects than many current treatments. Read more
Cells... in a box
January 31, 2017
It’s like magic – insert a cancer patient’s blood cells in one end and out the other end come T-cells adapted for cell therapy. Read more
Videos
Watch Video
A New Approach in Using Cells to Target Multiple Myeloma
December 20, 2018
Watch Video
BioCanRx - Canada's Immunotherapy Network
December 5, 2018
Watch Video
An introduction to BioCanRx - Canada's Immunotherapy Network
April 5, 2018
Watch Video
Cancer Clinical Trials Webinar for Cancer Coaches
November 1, 2017