CATALIS welcomes new partners

Institutional and financial support bring partnership closer to its 2022 goals

The CATALIS Quebec Clinical Trials initiative has announced new public partners and industry funding as it moves closer to its goal of doubling private sector investment in the province’s early stage clinical trials (ESCT) and providing patients early access to innovative healthcare.

CATALIS is a public-private sector initiative that is part of the Quebec Life Science Strategy 2017-2027 that aims to make the province a top life sciences hub in North America and a preferred site for ESCTs.

The Centre hospitalier universitaire (CHU) de Québec-Université Laval and the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) join three other health centres in their commitment to bring ESCTs to the province by 2022. The three founding health centres in CATALIS are le Centre hospitalier universitaire de Montréal, le Centre universitaire de santé McGill and le Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine.

Danika Laberge, CATALIS general manager, tells RE$EARCH MONEY that these “health institutional (or hospital) partners are extremely important because they are the ones conducting clinical trials; without them, CATALIS would not exist.”

CATALIS has signed up Takeda Canada as a new partner to join five other private sector partners to provide financial support to the CATALIS initiative. Two of these partners — AbbVie Canada and Servier Canada — renewed their financial support for a second year. These partners join GlaxoSmithKline Inc and Pfizer Canada Inc who have already committed to support CATALIS’ five-year plan. Merck Canada has committed for one year with the option to renew.

While the companies did not disclose the amount of their financial support to CATALIS, Laberge says all six private-sector partners have provided a total of $1.1 million to date, bringing the initiative closer to the goal of raising $2 million by 2022. When CATALIS launched last year, they said GSK, Pfizer and Servier’s contributions totalled $900,000.

Laberge says CATALIS is looking to secure two or three more industry partners. “I’m confident we can raise $2 million of private funding in the next four years. … Our initiative has raised great credibility in just a year, so now industry is asking us for updates … and how they can get involved in the project,” she adds.

She adds that these companies also provide in-kind support such as expertise and industry knowledge. “On top of providing funding, we are absolutely grateful because they are also committed to share their expertise, which is crucial to ensure the project success,” says Laberge.

Takeda Canada tells R$ that they have been supporting the clinic research projects and initiatives in Ontario and Quebec. In the last five years, Takeda has contributed more than $20 million in research collaborations and projects in six organizations, including Quebec’s CATALIS, Montreal Neurological Institute and enGene, and Ontario’s NuBiyota, Encycle Therapeutics and IMAGINE SPOR. Takeda adds that “while Takeda Canada has chosen not to disclose the investment amount, our contribution will support the CATALIS five-year plan.”

“At Takeda, supporting excellence in clinical research is paramount in our pursuit of therapeutic solutions for patients,” said Gamze Yuceland, president of Takeda Canada, in a statement. “The easier we make it for investment in this work to be made in Quebec, the more studies will be available for the benefit of Quebec patients.”

“CATALIS will be an important partner in valuing our innovations, our new technologies, as well as in promoting investments and maximizing benefits for the life science stakeholders”, said Dr Serge Rivest, director of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Centre.

Laberge adds: “CATALIS is an initiative that is strong because we have the people who are actually leading the clinical trials that are highly involved. We’re working with top management of health institutions who are the ones who can actually make a big difference in the way we conduct trials here in Quebec. All the partners show that everybody believes in it, and I’m confident we’ll reach out goal of doubling private sector investments by 2022.”

CATALIS – originally known as Montreal InVivo’s Early Stage Clinical Trial initiative — was announced as part of the Quebec government’s 2017-2027 Québec Life Sciences Strategy which was introduced in the 2017 provincial Budget along with $117.5 million in funding to support the strategy