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10 / Fall 2012 / RECORD
r. Stephen Westcott and Dr. Vett
Lloyd are part of a team that is on
the cusp of revolutionizing cancer
Westcott and Lloyd are the Mount Allison
members of a partnership with Soricimed
Biopharma Inc., a private company devel-
oping novel cancer therapeutics and diag-
Soricimed has just begun Phase I clinical
trials on a drug whose distinguishing fea-
ture is that it binds to a particular receptor
that is overproduced in cancer cells and not
in healthy ones. In the process of develop-
ing the drug -- a targeted peptide -- they
discovered it also behaves as a transport.
"If you can attach a cancer drug as a pay-
load, it would take it directly to the cancer
cells and you would be able to significantly
reduce the dose of poisonous chemotherapy
that is needed," explains Jack Stewart,
Soricimed's chief scientific officer and pro-
emeritus of biochemistry at Mount
Many of the negative side effects from
chemotherapy -- hair loss, nausea, depres-
sion of the immune system -- come about
because the drugs go through the whole
body instead of specifically targeting can-
cer cells.
"This idea will improve that," Westcott says.
But with Soricimed focused on its clinical
trials, it didn't have the time or capacity to
do further research on the idea.
Enter the New Brunswick Innovation
Foundation's R3 Innovation Challenge,
a bi-annual competition that offers win-
ning companies research and development
services at a New Brunswick post-second-
ary institution or research organization.
Soricimed was offered $50,000 to do a
proof of concept study. It put out a request
for proposals and chose Lloyd and West-
cott's plan.
Over the next year Westcott will be experi-
menting with cancer drugs, figuring out
how to link them to Soricimed's peptide,
Partnership with Soricimed Biopharma offers
by Aloma Jardine