Microsoft word - bio 2008 _communiqué anglais _fil de presse_.doc

Unique public-private partnership
Québec government, AstraZeneca, Pfizer Canada and Merck Frosst
team up to stimulate pharmaceutical research
and accelerate drug discovery

San Diego, June 17, 2008
— At the prestigious BIO 2008 conference under way this
week in San Diego, Raymond Bachand, Québec Minister of Economic Development,
Innovation and Export Trade (MDEIE), Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Montréal Region; Paul Lévesque, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer Canada; Mark S. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca Canada; and Dawn Graham, President, Merck Frosst Canada, announced the creation of the Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM). They were accompanied by Dr. Alain Beaudet, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ), the province’s public-sector health research funding agency, and by Mr. Max Fehlmann, director of CQDM. This consortium, a first in Canada, is dedicated to stimulating research into drug development in Québec, with a focus on the pre-competitive stages—which represent a critical step in the process. By bringing together eminent scientists from industry, university, hospital and government circles, the CQDM will foster synergy between university and industry research. The resulting collaborative network will help create tools that are better adapted to the development of safer and more effective drugs. “This is an excellent example of the benefits of public-private partnership for Québec society. The Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery will help sharpen our edge in the fiercely competitive global marketplace. By the same token, it will considerably enhance the quality of our drug discovery research and the academic programs of our universities. Partnership between private companies and research facilities is the cornerstone of the Québec strategy for research and innovation, outlined in a report entitled Un Québec innovant et prospère, published by the Québec government in December 2006,” said Mr. Bachand. The MDEIE and FRSQ are together contributing $4 million to set up the consortium. Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca Canada and Merck Frosst Canada are each committing $1 million to the first year of operations. Moreover, Pfizer Canada and AstraZeneca Canada have announced that they will each be investing $1 million a year over the next four years. “This is much more than a question of money. It is first and foremost a concerted
effort to unite the strengths of key players in the pharma, biotech and academic
sectors. As a result, they will be able to determine the core issues driving drug
discovery and implement a research program in line with the needs of the industry,”
noted Dr. Alain Beaudet, President and CEO of the FRSQ, and staunch advocate of
the consortium.
“Quebec has long been a location of choice for science-based pharmaceutical
companies, and this initiative strengthens its leadership position even further and it
will contribute to advance the knowledge-based economy in Quebec and in Canada,”
stated Paul Lévesque, President and CEO of Pfizer Canada Inc.
“This innovative new partnership will bring together our resources and scientific ta
enable us to accelerate the drug discovery process and develop more efficient w
validating the safety and effectiveness of new drugs,” said Mark S. Jones, President an
of AstraZeneca Canada. “Not only will this benefit scientific research, it will also ben
universities and students.”
“By focusing on the discovery of new targets and the initial steps of drug discovery,
our university graduates will be much better prepared for a career in the biopharma
industry,” pointed out Dawn Graham, President of Merck Frosst Canada.
Minister Bachand explained that the industry, government and public-sector research
community would all be represented on the consortium’s board of directors and
strategic steering committee.
Max Fehlmann, the Director of the CQDM, explained that researchers will be able to
submit projects aimed at accelerating the drug discovery process in a wide variety of
therapeutic sectors. Joint projects will be strongly encouraged. The strategic steering
committee will select the initiatives that will receive funding and will provide the
strategic direction necessary to optimize resources.
Drug discovery is a very complex and extremely specialized process that requires
substantial investments in both time and money. Pharmaceutical companies are
generally required to invest 12 years and $1 billion to develop a single new drug. The
pre-competitive stages (identification and validation of new therapeutic targets and
new biomarkers, development of tests to determine the efficacy or toxicity of the new
molecules) represent a significant portion of this investment.
Québec is a long-standing leader in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry. With 145
biopharma firms established here, the province ranks first in Canada and occupies a
place of prestige in North America. Québec is home to five of the six Canadian
research centres specializing in drug discovery. AstraZeneca and Merck both operate
research laboratories in Montréal.
A photo of the Minister and the other participants will be available online at
About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare
sales of US $29.55 billion and an extensive product portfolio spanning six major
therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, infection, neuroscience, oncology,
and respiratory. AstraZeneca's brands include Iressa®, Crestor®, Symbicort®,
Nexium®, Atacand®, Seroquel®, Arimidex®, Merrem®, and Casodex®. AstraZeneca
has been recognized as having the most innovative pipeline by R&D Directions
magazine. With 17 principal research centres in 8 countries around the world,
AstraZeneca invested more than $5 billion in drug discovery and development in
2007. AstraZeneca's Canadian headquarters are located in Mississauga, Ontario, and
its state-of-the-art analgesia drug discovery centre is based in Montreal, Quebec.
About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's leading
pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and markets
prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer Inc invests more than US$7
billion annually in R&D to discover and develop innovative life-saving and life-
enhancing medicines in a wide range of therapeutic areas, including arthritis,
cardiovascular disease, endocrinology, HIV/AIDS, infectious disease, neurological
disease, oncology, ophthalmology and smoking cessation. Pfizer Canada is one of
the top investors in Canadian R&D, investing more than $1 billion since 2000.
Canadian headquarters of Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals is in Kirkland, Quebec. As
one of the top corporate charitable donors in Canada, Pfizer Canada is a proud
member of Imagine Canada and its Caring Company program. In 2007, Pfizer
Canada's Community Investment Program supported more than 1400 non-profit
organizations and projects across the country with a total investment exceeding $25
million. For more information, visit
About Merck Frosst
At Merck Frosst, patients come first. Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. is a research-driven
pharmaceutical company discovering, developing and marketing a broad range of
innovative medicines and vaccines to improve human health. Merck Frosst is one of
the top 25 R&D investors in Canada, with an investment of close to $110 million in
2007. More information about Merck Frosst is available at
About the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ)
Reporting to the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and
Minister of Tourism, the mission of the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec
(FRSQ) is to support health research in order to benefit the Quebec population’s well-
being. Its mandate is to provide financial aid and to promote this research, to share
knowledge and to train researchers, as well as to establish partnerships that are
necessary to the development of Quebec’s research and innovation system and the
advancement of research internationally. For more information, visit
To obtain additional information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

responsible for the Montréal Region 418-691-5650 Vincent Lamoureux


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