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NEOMED’s Portfolio Continues to Expand with New Drug Discovery Project

February 2nd, 2015 | No Comments

Teaming up with McGill University, project to focus on cardiovascular indications

NEOMED is pleased to announce the addition of a new drug discovery project to its portfolio. Collaborating with prominent researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) at McGill University, NEOMED aims to develop positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of the ligand-gated ion channel P2X4 for the treatment and prevention of various cardiovascular diseases.

“Many bio-pharmaceutical companies have reduced their internal R&D efforts and aim instead to acquire innovative drug discovery programs from external sources. Aligned with NEOMED’s core mission, this collaboration is very exciting, as it proposes to identify and develop compounds to modulate the function of an ion channel playing a key role in vascular endothelial function. Dr. Philippe Séguéla, a renowned expert in the ion channel field at the MNI, generated the idea and will provide key expertise. AstraZeneca is giving us access to a library of high-quality compounds to run the initial screening, which will be carried out under a strategic agreement we have established with the Institute of Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) led by Dr. Michel Bouvier. We believe that this type of collaborative approach will help minimize the inherent risk of early drug discovery research,” said Philippe Walker, NEOMED’s Chief Scientific Officer.

“This particular ion channel has been implicated in the regulation of cardiovascular function in rodents and humans. Our approach will focus on the discovery and validation of novel small-molecule compounds that specifically potentiate P2X4 function in enhancing shear stress-activated vasodilation and normalizing blood flow. This therapeutic strategy would have the advantage to provide “on-demand” beneficial effects, as it requires the presence of an endogenous activator released around atherosclerotic or myocardial ischemic lesions. It is a great pleasure for me to work with NEOMED’s drug discovery experts to move this project towards commercialization,” said Philippe Séguéla, Professor at the MNI, McGill University.

“We are really delighted to start this first screening project as part of our partnership with the NEOMED group, in combination with McGill University and Professor Philippe Séguéla. P2X4 is an exciting and challenging target in the cardiovascular area and AstraZeneca is very pleased to be able to support the team to identify novel, high-quality hits through accessing our compound collection. Innovative partnerships such as these are a vibrant way to stimulate drug discovery, and are a core part of our strategy to bring innovative medicines to patients,” said Garry Pairaudeau, Head of External Sciences at AstraZeneca.


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NEOMED is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to foster the development of promising therapeutic approaches emerging from academia and biotechnology companies. Created in 2012, NEOMED supports the development of projects up to the stage of human proof of concept. NEOMED operates within the NEOMED Institute, a high-tech research and development facility located in Technoparc Montréal’s Saint-Laurent Campus. NEOMED Institute acts as an open-access drug discovery hub, housing commercial companies and offering a unique environment to nurture collaboration, innovation, and creativity. For more information, please visit our website:

NEOMED is jointly funded by the pharmaceutical industry, the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et des Exportations du Québec, and the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) of Canada.




The Neuro is an academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. As a research and teaching institute of McGill University, The Neuro is at the centre of the neuroscience mission of the McGill University Health Centre. The eminent neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield founded The Neuro in 1934. Since then, The Neuro has achieved international renown for its integration of research, outstanding patient care and advanced training. The Neuro has a world-class staff in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience, as well as in the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders.



McGill University is one of Canada’s best-known institutions of higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. With students coming to McGill from some 150 countries, its student body is the most internationally diverse of any research-intensive university in the country. McGill was founded in 1821 thanks to a generous bequest by James McGill, and since then, they have grown from a small college to a bustling university with two campuses, 11 faculties, some 300 programs of study, and 39,500 students. The University also partners with four affiliated teaching hospitals to graduate over 1,000 health care professionals each year. For more information, please visit




AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:


For more information, please contact:

Mounia Azzi, Ph.D.
Director, Scientific Affairs

7171 Frederick-Banting
Montréal (Québec) H4S 1Z9



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