The NanoMedicines Innovation Network (NMIN) has been awarded $18.5 million in new funding from the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), a federal program that connects teams of scientists across Canada to collaborate on research with significant health, environmental and societal impacts. This funding is matched by more than $22 million from industry and other not-for-profit agencies.
The funding will maintain and extend Canada’s standing as a leader in the development of nanomedicines — “smart” medicines that employ various forms of nanotechnology — to detect and treat cancer and many other acquired and hereditary diseases.
“This NCE investment in the NanoMedicines Innovation Network will expand collaborations between researchers working on nanomedicines across Canada, with the potential to enhance the quality of life for millions,” said Prof. Santa J. Ono, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor.
The NMIN is led by Pieter Cullis, a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology in the faculty of medicine at UBC, and brings together scientists from 17 academic institutions across Canada, 15 companies and eight not-for-profit research and granting institutions.
“The future for nanomedicines is truly astonishing as they have the potential to detect disease more accurately, to make old drugs dramatically more effective and to enable gene therapies to treat most human diseases,” said Cullis.
The NMIN aims to develop nanomedicines that will deliver drugs, such as anticancer drugs, more specifically to the sites of disease; enable gene therapies that employ RNA and DNA to treat a wide variety of acquired and hereditary diseases and develop diagnostics and imaging agents to detect disease earlier and monitor the effectiveness of therapies more accurately.
The future for nanomedicines is truly astonishing as they have the potential to detect disease more accurately, to make old drugs dramatically more effective and to enable gene therapies to treat most human diseases.
Pieter Cullis, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Nanomedicines are expected to command a global market of US$400 billion by 2023. To date, NMIN principals have developed five of the 10 nanomedicines approved by the US FDA, Health Canada and European EMA regulatory agencies. NMIN principals have also established a vibrant nanomedicines R&D industry in Canada, consisting of more than 20 companies with more than 400 employees.
“The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) award to NMIN recognizes the considerable success we have had to date and will ensure that Canada continues to be the leader in developing the nanomedicines of the future,” said Cullis.