AmorChem Makes $1.5M Investment to Develop New Diagnostic and Prognostic Tools for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

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AmorChem is pleased to announce a major investment of $1.5 million to develop new diagnostic and prognostic tools for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients to predict how they should be treated based on the genetic make-up of their tumor. In addition, this investment will implement a better method for tracking the residual disease cells that often remain after a patient is treated, which can lead to a relapse.

This multi-institution project is led by Dr. Guy Sauvageau, Chief Executive Officer and Principal Investigator at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montréal (UdeM) and by Dr. Josée Hébert, Associate Investigator at IRIC and Director of the Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank and hematologist at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. They are both professors in the Department of Medicine at the UdeM.

This initiative was developed with the support of UdeM’s commercialization unit, IRICoR (IRIC-Commercialization of Research) and was approved at more than $11 million in funding through the Competition on Personalized Health of Genome Canada and Génome Québec in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Université Laval and McGill University are also participating in this project. Please see press release posted on April 17, 2013.

“We are delighted to be involved in the financing of this large scale genomics project,” says Elizabeth Douville, General Partner at AmorChem. She adds, “The cutting edge science and tools developed by the different research teams led by Dr. Sauvageau hold great promise in transforming the treatment paradigm of AML. This group is at the cutting edge of personalised medicine and we look forward to the commercialisation and translation of the results into clinical practice.”

According to Dr. Hébert, “AmorChem’s major investment in this project will position us to reach our key objectives and to quickly translate the research results into tools that can help physicians and patients make better treatment decisions in the field of AML.”

“Combining the unique business models and expertise of AmorChem and IRICoR to support the ground-breaking work of Drs. Sauvageau and Hébert is a unique approach to ensuring that the results of this research are rapidly commercialized in the benefit of patients,” stated Steven Klein, Vice-President, Business Development at IRICoR.

“We look forward to working with IRICoR to commercialise the prognostic and diagnostic tools that result from the project,” says Inès Holzbaur, General Partner at AmorChem.

Background to the project

In Canada, AML remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in young adults and accounts for a large proportion of potential years of life lost due to cancer. Unfortunately, even today, the large majority of patients diagnosed with this disease will die from it within 1-2 years of diagnosis. Approximately 13,000 new patients in Canada and the US are diagnosed annually with AML, which has an overall survival of only ~20%. Current prognostic tests, however, remain inaccurate for risk assessment and therapy guidance in most AML patients, with important consequences for them, their families, and the health care system. The overall goal of this project is to leverage the cutting edge technology and experience of the research team led by Drs. Sauvageau and Hébert, to improve diagnostic methods and treatment options available to individuals suffering from leukemia. Their integrated multidisciplinary research team has gathered a unique combination of expertise, infrastructure, and complementary collaborations to develop novel tools for comprehensive risk stratification in AML, with the intention of significantly improving the treatment orientation and survival of AML patients.


AmorChem L.P.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Genome Canada
Génome Québec
Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer
Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research
Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital’s Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank
McGill University
Université de Montréal
Université Laval

Elizabeth Douville, Ph.D.
General Partner
514-849-6358 │ 

Steven Klein, Ph.D., MBA
Vice-President, Business Development
Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research

Manon Pepin
Director, Communications and Media Relations
Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer
Université de Montréal


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