This news release is available in French.
The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer - Commercialization of Research (IRICoR) and its host institution, the Université de Montréal (UdM) today announced the licensing to Pfizer Inc. of a novel early-onset morbid obesity pre-clinical program developed at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC).
Under the terms of the global license, Pfizer will fund pre-clinical research activities at IRIC and will be fully responsible for the clinical development and marketing of any resulting products. Pfizer will make an upfront payment to IRICoR, and IRICoR will be eligible to receive development and commercial milestone payments, as well as a tiered royalty on any product sales.
In certain people, genetic defects in the cellular trafficking of the melanocortin receptor type 4 (MC4R) lead to an early-onset morbid obesity, resulting in multiple life-threatening problems, for example, an increased risk of cancer.
Dr. Michel Bouvier, world-renowned expert in the field of G-protein coupled receptor signaling, has developed a new therapeutic approach to this disease based on small molecule called "pharmacological chaperones" that selectively bind to MC4R and correct its folding, trafficking and function. Cell-based assays and pre-clinical studies using a new proprietary animal model for MC4R-promoted obesity indicate that this is a potentially promising approach for treating familial early-onset morbid obesity resulting from MC4R mutations.
"We are very pleased to partner with Pfizer for the development of this promising scientific breakthrough," commented Johane Boucher-Champagne, Chairperson of IRICoR's Board of Directors. "The ability of IRICoR to identify and incubate innovative projects which appeal to industry leaders such as Pfizer further validates our business model of forging collaborations between academia and industry for drug discovery and development. We look forward to working closely with Pfizer to potentially develop new treatment options for this indication."
"Dr. Bouvier's team brings leading expertise in GPCR pharmacological chaperones that will enrich Pfizer's already strong chaperone program targeting genetic diseases characterized by protein misfolding. The collaboration is designed to combine our capabilities and resources with the goal of expediting potential new therapies for early-onset morbid obesity patients with MCR4 mutations" said Kevin Lee, Chief Scientific Officer, Pfizer's Rare Disease Research Unit.