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Drug discovery consortium issues first call for proposals


Montreal, QC – The CQDM (Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery) has launched its first call for proposals of its funding program designed to support the development of innovative enabling tools that can accelerate the drug discovery process.

“We are aimed at bringing together the many resources and talents of Quebec to face the challenge of the drug discovery process,” said Max Fehlmann, president and CEO of the CQDM. “Our program strongly encourages collaborative efforts between researchers from the industrial and the academic sectors”

The program does not intend to fund research on new drugs for specific therapeutic segments. Instead, it is meant to finance the development of new technologies and processes that will have the power to enable the discovery process across several therapeutic fields.

The research must be performed in the province of Quebec, and although not mandatory, involvement of multiple teams including academic and private (biotech/CRO) sector groups will be seen as a strength.

The priority topic for 2008-2009 competition is efficacy. Therefore, the priority will be given to enabling technologies that are designed to:

1) accelerate the discovery of new drugs,
2) increase drug efficacy,
3) improve predictability of efficacy,
4) facilitate evaluation of efficacy.

CQDM’s funding will be awarded following a competitive process in two stages. Applicants must submit a letter of intent before November 27, 2008. The selection will be overseen by the CQDM’s strategic orientation committee. Only applicants whose letter of intent will be selected will be invited to submit a full project proposal before February 27, 2009. Evaluation of the proposals will involve an international peer review led by the Fonds de la recherche en sant du Qubec (FRSQ). Announcement of the final selection will be made in April 2009.

“Thanks to our financial partners, the CQDM has the capacity this year to fund 3 to 5 innovative projects for up to $3 million per project ($1 million/year for 3 years). We are proud of our funding program, as it represents an innovative solution to the drug discovery industrial challenges,” added Mr Fehlmann.

The CQDM is a non-for-profit organization, formed earlier this year, that responds to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry by contributing to accelerating drug discovery. Initial financing for the CQDM’s operation is mainly provided by a grant awarded by the Fonds de la recherche en sant du Qubec (FRSQ), the Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade (MDEIE) as well as investments from Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca Canada and Merck Frosst.

More information on the CQDM and the funding program can be found at www.cqdm.org.