TORONTO, ON — A collaboration of Toronto-area academic and industry partners, including the University of Toronto (U of T), Canadian biotechnology incubator Blueline Bioscience (Blueline), and University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (UHN), has announced the creation of a company that could change biotechnology development in Canada.
Based in Toronto’s Discovery District and backed by venture capital firm Versant Ventures, Blueline formed Northern Biologics with the other organizations earlier this year.
Northern Biologics has in-licensed intellectual property from both U of T and UHN including drug leads and a novel antibody generation platform and will focus on advancing a portfolio of antibody-based therapeutics for both oncology and fibrosis.
Antibodies are the fastest-growing area of therapeutics and represent many of the biggest blockbuster drugs on the market today. “Antibodies and other medical products from biological sources play an expanding, revolutionary role as alternatives to small molecule drugs by treating disease in a more targeted way and reducing side effects,” said Peter Lewis, interim vice-president of research and innovation at U of T. “Northern Biologics is a prime example of the way in which cross-collaboration works to advance and ultimately commercialize the innovative science that is happening in Canadian laboratories.”
The two most significant priorities for Northern Biologics over the next one to two years will be recruitment of its scientific team and rapid advancement of its first drug candidates in preparation for human clinical trials. The company is already in active recruitment and expects to have a team of at least 20 people in place by the end of 2015.
“The more people we can have working on targeted therapies, the more quickly we will be able to have a significant impact on patient outcomes,” noted Christopher Paige, vice-president of research at UHN. “Patients expect us to be working in partnership, and Northern Biologics is a prime example of collaborative success.”
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University of Toronto