NSERC IRDF grant to be used to study the use of Soricidin in Protecting Salmon industry from Sea Lice
Toronto, ON, Canada, September 10, 2013 - Soricimed Biopharma Inc., a private clinical stage company developing novel cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, is pleased to announce they have received an National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Industrial R&D Fellowship grant to study extending Soricimed’s platform technology into the aquaculture and agriculture markets.
Funding will be used to conduct proof-of-concept study on using the paralytic properties of Soricimed’s peptide Soricidin, to control sea lice infestation of salmon. The research will be undertaken by Dr. Delphine Ditlecadet, a PhD in Marine Biology, in collaboration with Dr. Vett Lloyd, a molecular geneticist at Mount Allison University, and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, leveraging their expertise in aquaculture and sea lice biology.
Sea Lice are small marine parasites that feed on the skin of salmon and other fish. Their effect can be harmful or fatal, often resulting in lower salmon stocks. Historically, Sea Lice have been controlled chemically, posing environmental and food chain hazards. As natural insecticides, Baculoviruses have been explored as a safer and cost-effective alternative in forestry and agriculture for many years, but the length of time from infection until death has been an issue. Modification of the Baculovirus genome with coding for insect paralytic peptides has been shown to out-perform chemical pesticides on both cost and effectiveness without the negative environmental impacts.
Soricimed’s original peptide Soricidin, was isolated from the venom of the northern short-tailed shrew. Soricidin’s paralytic nature results from the inhibition of sodium ion channels, stopping nerve transmission.
“This project will accomplish two objectives”, stated Jack Stewart, Chief Scientific Officer, Soricimed Biopharma. “First, we will isolate a naturally occurring baculovirus that specifically targets Sea Lice. This in itself would be a major milestone and a potential control agent. Next, we will augment this virus’s anti-parasite activity with our proprietary paralytic peptide technology, making it much more effective in addressing this massive salmon farming issue.”
“We’ve always known that our original peptide Soricidin, has both anti-cancer as well as paralytic properties,” commented Paul Gunn, President and CEO of Soricimed Biopharma Inc. “To date we have focused our resources into developing the anti-cancer side of the business and that’s well underway with a multi-site Phase I Clinical trial. It’s very exciting to now be able to explore the paralytic end of our peptide and it’s potential application to the aquaculture and agriculture markets. Success of this proof-of-concept project could lead to using the application against agricultural pests as well. We are grateful to NSERC for supporting Canadian innovation.”
Soricimed Biopharma Inc., a private Canadian clinical stage company developing novel cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, was created in 2005 by Professor Jack Stewart and Paul Gunn following the discovery and development of a proprietary peptide, soricidin. Soricidin derivatives are the basis for Soricimed Biopharma Inc.’s targeted cancer management program focused on cancer therapeutics and diagnostics. Using focused innovative strategies in collaboration with major world-class cancer research institutions, Soricimed’s drugs have demonstrated a capability to reduce cancer cell viability, induce apoptosis and to reduce human tumour volume while minimizing side-effects in various classic animal and in vitro tumour models. Privately held, Soricimed is funded through private investors and various programs from the Government of Canada. For more information please visit, www.soricimed.com.
Julie Fotheringham - Partner, Hageman Communications