Funding Announcement Expands Trent University’s Role as a Centre for Anti-Viral Development
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Federal Government Grants $2 Million to Support Trent-Based International Consortium on Anti-Virals
Friday, March 23, 2007, Peterborough
Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro announced today that the federal government will provide $2 million to support the next development phase of the International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV), headquartered at Trent University.
ICAV is a non-profit Canadian consortium established to discover and develop new therapeutic interventions for viral infections. Comprised of more than 200 scientists from 18 countries, ICAV links their research with private sector partners to facilitate knowledge transfer and effective use of limited resources to accelerate the development and delivery of drugs that target viral diseases worldwide.
The funding announced today will aid in the establishment of the international headquarters for ICAV in Peterborough at Trent University.
“ICAV is an extraordinary example of international collaboration that brings together some of the best minds, expertise and social commitment possible to work toward solutions needed worldwide,” said Trent University President Bonnie Patterson. “We are very excited that Trent is the home administrative base to ICAV and that a number of our faculty will have a role to play in this significant international team of talented people.”
President Patterson also noted that Trent faculty and students, who add so much to the University’s reputation for research excellence, will be introduced to acclaimed scientists who are developing the anti-virals required to respond to the threat of an international pandemic.
“This funding significantly enhances our efforts to get the discoveries out of the universities and into the marketplace,” explained Dr. Jeremy Carver, chief executive and chief science officer of ICAV. “ICAV operates using a unique model designed to generate revenues through pharmaceutical royalties in order to deliver anti-viral therapeutic interventions and expertise to combat global diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, dengue fever, West Nile virus and rotavirus infection in children and many others.”
Today’s announcement was specifically targeted to bolster Canada’s pandemic preparedness. “This investment in international research will assist in the development of more effective, low-cost anti-virals that will be an important part of our early response to an influenza pandemic,” stated Mr. Del Mastro. The funding grant will be provided directly to ICAV.
Support throughout the community is enthusiastic. “This funding is great news for the DNA Cluster and for the City of Peterborough", commented City of Peterborough Mayor Paul Ayotte, "MP Dean Del Mastro has worked diligently for the community to promote this innovative opportunity and we appreciate his efforts towards further developing our knowledge-based scientific economy.”
“The Government of Canada's support of this important DNA Cluster partner is greatly appreciated," stated County of Peterborough Warden Ron Gerow. "Dean's diligent efforts to secure this funding for ICAV will contribute to bringing global attention to the expertise located in the Peterborough region.”
“We are pleased to have the continued support of the federal government as we grow the knowledge-based life sciences economy in the Peterborough Region,” said Andy Mitchell, chief executive officer of the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation and DNA Cluster board member. “We anticipate that the location of the ICAV headquarters at the Trent-based DNA Cluster will enhance our efforts to attract new investment to the area.”
Effective and readily available anti-viral therapies are an essential element of pandemic preparedness plans and global health in general. A first-line of defence against emerging pandemics, anti-virals provide protection while a vaccine is developed. Anti-viral drugs can also provide effective treatment for diseases where a vaccine has yet to be identified. Traditional, commercial approaches to drug-development, however, have failed to yield a viable pipeline of anti-viral drugs, particularly for emerging viral diseases and viruses of the developing world.
For further information about ICAV, please visit www.icav-citav.ca.
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Jeremy Carver, Chief Executive Officer, ICAV, (705) 748-1011 x7008; or
Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x5371