Lab Canada

Strategic R&D partnership to develop hyperimmunes related to SARS

Winnipeg, MB July 2, 2003 Biotech company Cangene says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Health Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory to further public health research into Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The agreement will facilitate the development of a hyperimmune globulin from plasma obtained from recovered SARS patients. This hyperimmune may result in diagnostic and therapeutic agents for use in the treatment of SARS.

“The SARS outbreak has emphasized the need for strategic partnerships and combining resources to explore possible preventions and therapies for this virus,” said Dr John Langstaff, Cangene’s president and chief executive officer.

Cangene says this initiative was first proposed by Toronto-based physicians with the support of patient donors. The supporting Toronto hospitals, Princess Margaret (part of University Health Network), Mount Sinai and Sunnybrook, have already received ethics approval for plasma collection. Given the contagious nature of the SARS virus, the National Microbiology Laboratory was asked to provide a biosafety level 3 laboratory as well as specialized diagnostic testing. Cangene will supply the equipment, supplies and manufacturing expertise required to develop the hyperimmune.

The Winnipeg-based National Microbiology Laboratory is Canada’s main infectious disease public health laboratory; it is part of the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, which is the first facility in the world to accommodate both human and animal health facilities at the highest level of biocontainment under one roof.