Investing in Liquid Biopsy for Cancer Detection

Government of Canada invests in cancer research innovation Jenny Keleher September 14, 2016

Moncton – NB – (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – ACOA) – September 14, 2016

Testing patients for cancer and other diseases will become more efficient and less painful as a result of an investment of up to $3 million from the Government of Canada.

This investment, provided through the Atlantic Innovation Fund, was announced today by the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, at an event held at the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute (ACRI).

This funding commitment also complements the Government of Canada’s Innovation Agenda which is designed to make Canada a global centre for innovation—one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all residents. Today’s investment is a perfect example of this vision in action.

With this investment, ACRI will undertake the development of a new approach for detecting and monitoring the biomarkers of cancer (and potentially other diseases) in bodily fluids, thus reducing the need for invasive biopsy procedures.

This research project will lead to the creation of nine highly-qualified full time positions.  ACRI will also build strong partnerships with Exactis and Merck Canada and be well-positioned for future Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence (CNCE) in Personalized Medicine projects.


“Innovation is the path to inclusive growth. It fosters a thriving middle class and opens our country to new economic, social and environmental possibilities, and is essential in shaping our future. That is why the Government of Canada is committed to supporting projects like the one being undertaken by the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute which is positioning Atlantic Canada on the global stage in biomedical research.”

–       The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Because of the efforts of innovation leaders like Dr. Rodney Ouellette and the team of expert researchers at ACRI, they are advancing the global research effort aimed at combating cancer and building on our region’s capacity to innovate.”

–       The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe

“Liquid biopsy will become a central tool in patient care.  Using a patient’s sample of blood or urine, it will allow doctors to detect, diagnose and monitor in real-time the current state of an ever changing disease like cancer as well as many other acute and chronic diseases. This made-in-Canada solution is an enabling technology that allows for quick and simple capture of cell-derived information that informs care providers in order to make key decisions for next steps in patient care.”

–       Dr. Rodney Ouellette, MD, Ph.D., President and Scientific Director of the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute

“We are at the global forefront of the development of exosome capture technologies from various biological fluids, and we are confident that our Canadian-made technologies are best suited to provide solutions for liquid biopsy in the field of oncology and other diseases. On the therapeutics side, our complex sugar-based exosome-capture tools strategically fit the demand for technologies that are applicable for exosome-based therapeutic uses as some of those complex sugars are already FDA approved for multiple formulations, wound-healing, and internal uses in human medicine.  This fits well within the future prospects of Precision Medicine from liquid-biopsy to targeted therapy.”

–       Dr. Anirban Ghosh, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Team Leader of Exosome Research at the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute

Associated Links :


Paul CJ LeBlanc
Senior Communications Officer – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Nadine Martin
Communications Agent – Atlantic Cancer Research Institute


Project Description

Moncton, New Brunswick
Atlantic Cancer Research Institute

ACOA assistance: $3,000,000 (AIF Conditionally Repayable)
Total Project Costs: $4,500,000

Atlantic Cancer Research Institute – Delivering Precision Medicine through Liquid Biopsy Technologies

The Atlantic Cancer Research Institute (ACRI) is a non-profit organization founded in 1998. Located at Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick, ACRI employs a research team of over 50 people that is striving to innovate by accelerating its understanding of cancer, thus paving the way to better diagnosis, more accurate patient stratification and drug discovery.

With funding of up to $3,000,000 from the AIF, ACRI will develop a new approach to the detection and monitoring of biomarkers of cancer (and potentially other diseases) in bodily fluids, thus reducing the need for invasive biopsy procedures.  If successful, this technology will result in products and services in diagnostic and therapeutic areas that could lead to strong potential revenues for ACRI.

This project will contribute to building capacity in the region in a growing field of personalized medicine and position Moncton as a biomedical hub in Canada.

Other key collaborators in this project include: Exactis (Qc), New England Peptide (MA), Mycodev Group (NB), Soricimed Biopharma Inc. (NB), and Cynvenio (CA), will also be involved in this project.

ACOA’s Innovation Programming

ACOA’s innovation programming, which includes the Atlantic Innovation Fund and the Business Development Program, responds to the evolving needs of Atlantic businesses and researchers. It is designed to help bring to market new products, technologies and services that will improve the competitiveness and productivity of the Atlantic economy. These programs also provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises across the region to acquire or adapt innovative technologies that can improve their productivity and competitiveness, while also enabling them to build the skills they need to innovate and compete in today’s global economy.

Since January 2016, the Government of Canada through ACOA, has announced investments of over $27 million for 13 innovation and R&D projects in the Atlantic region. New investments totaling up to $11 million will be announced over the coming weeks, bringing ACOA’s total investments for innovation projects in 2016 to over $38 million.

Post Tags