In a recent announcement from Genome Canada, three Ontario projects were awarded funding from Round 8 of the Genome Canada Genomics and Applied Partnership Program (GAPP). Ontario Genomics was pleased to work with the teams in putting together the proposals. GAPP funds translational research and development projects that address real-world challenges and opportunities as identified by industry, government, not-for-profits, and other “receptors” of genomics knowledge and technology. The three Ontario projects were:
1. Genomics Driven Engineering of Hosts for Bio-Nylon
Partners: BioAmber and Dr. Radhakrishnan Mahadevan of the University of Toronto
BioAmber, an industrial biotechnology company located in Sarnia, Ontario, has partnered with Dr. Radhakrishnan Mahadevan of the University of Toronto to make nylon derived from chemicals made from sugar, rather than from petroleum. Dr. Mahadevan has developed a genomics-driven bioengineering approach to convert sugars into value-added industrial chemicals such as adipic acid, used in producing nylon. This $5.7M project will help grow the biorefining industry and create new manufacturing jobs in Canada, while protecting the environment through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
2. Validation of TAC receptors for use against liquid and solid tumours
Partners: Triumvira Immunologics and Dr. Jonathan Bramson, McMaster University
Canadian biotech company Triumvira Immunologics Inc., partnered with Jonathan Bramson of McMaster University, will use $2.3 million in funding to enhance Triumvira’s T-Cell Antigen Coupler (TAC) platform . This platform is used to create engineered T-cells for cancer treatment that are safer and equally or more efficacious than current engineered CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cells. Dr. Bramson will help validate TAC receptors carrying novel binding domains to expand the range of cancer targets TAC T-cells can attack. This will generate new treatment options for cancer patients.
3. Leveraging Leukocytes as Endogenous Biosensors to Create Novel Diagnostics for Preterm Birth
Partners: BGI Genomics and Dr. Stephen Lye, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, part of Sinai Health System
Approximately 2 million women are hospitalized annually in North America for Threatened Pre-Term Labour. But of these, only 20% will deliver preterm, exposing 80% to unnecessary interventions and hospitalization. Dr. Stephen Lye of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, part of Sinai Health System, has identified blood-based markers that can predict which women, who experience too-early symptoms of labor, will go on to experience preterm birth of their infants. With $4.6M in funding, and as announced at the recent Ontario Premier’s mission to China, Dr. Lye will work with partner Xin Liu of BGI Genomics to develop these markers into a diagnostic test to improve maternal and newborn health.
Read about all Ontario GAPP projects