National Research Council Canada-NRC

National Research Council Canada-NRC

June 23, 2010 10:06 ET

Government of Canada Invests in Promising Cancer Treatment

Minister Goodyear announces investment in Sackville business conducting cancer research

SACKVILLE, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwire - June 23, 2010) - Research being done by a Sackville business could lead to earlier detection of ovarian, prostate and breast cancers, and more effective treatments, thanks to new support from the Government of Canada. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), announced an investment in Socriment Biopharma Inc.

"Our government is investing in science and technology to create good jobs, strengthen the economy and improve Canadians' quality of life," said Minister Goodyear. "Our investment in this cancer research will lead to better employment opportunities locally now, and the promise of better health outcomes for people across Canada in the future."

Soricimed Biopharma Inc. will receive $568,688 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program. The company will use this funding to develop a targeted cancer therapy for ovarian cancer. 

In 2000, Dr. Jack Stewart, Chief Scientific Officer of Soricimed Biopharma, discovered paralytic venom excreted in the saliva of the northern short-tailed shrew. Soricimed Biopharma has since isolated the venomous protein, soricidin, and has found that it shows great promise for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

With the assistance of the National Research Council, Soricimed Biopharma will further explore the promise of the most efficiently synthesized and clinically effective form of soricidin as both a highly potent cancer detection compound and a cancer treatment, or drug compound. Tests and experiments will focus on ovarian, prostate and breast cancers.

Canada's Economic Action Plan provided new resources of $200 million to NRC-IRAP over two years to support innovative Canadian firms. To learn more, visit Canada's Economic Action Plan website.

During the event, Minister Goodyear also presented a Canadian Innovation Leader Certificate to Soricimed Biopharma to highlight its success as an innovative Canadian firm that has successfully linked scientific research to commercialization, jobs and economic growth.

"We're very confident that the work Soricimed is doing today will end up saving many lives in the future through the early detection and more efficient treatment of cancer," said Soricimed Biopharma President and CEO Paul Gunn. "With the assistance of NRC-IRAP, we are working to move our cancer treatment from the laboratory into clinical trials and eventually into hospitals."

The northern short-tailed shrew is a small mouse-like animal that is one of the few venomous mammal species. Its saliva can paralyze prey with one bite. Dr. Stewart, then a biochemist with Mount Allison University, spent several years luring shrews in his backyard with pepperoni. He eventually identified soricidin, and has since purified and synthesized it. Now, Soricimed Biopharma is working toward a Phase 1 clinical trial in humans for its cancer drug. In addition, the company is working to determine if the peptide could help detect ovarian, breast or prostate cancer cells in a blood, saliva or urine test, though there are a number of regulatory approvals needed before that point.

Soricimed Biopharma is a private drug and diagnostic development company created in 2005 following the discovery and development of a proprietary peptide, soricidin. Soricidin is the basis for the company's targeted cancer management program focused on an ovarian cancer therapeutic and a companion early diagnostic. Soricimed's drugs have been shown to reduce tumour volume with no demonstrable toxicity.

About NRC and NRC-IRAP

The Industrial Research Assistance Program provides a range of both technical and business-oriented advisory services along with necessary financial support to qualified innovative Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises.

The program is delivered by a field staff of 240 professionals in more than 100 communities across Canada. The National Research Council is committed to working with small and medium-sized enterprises while they realize their full potential, turning knowledge and innovation into strategic opportunities, jobs and prosperity for all Canadians.

For more information (media only), please visit NRC-IRAP's Web site

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    National Research Council Canada
    Gary Toft
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)