According to a press release announced on Global Newswire, Pascal Biosciences Inc., a drug discovery and development company and spin-off from the University of British Columbia, today announced a partnership with Mitacs for a multi-year cancer research project at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation, will provide equal funding for research efforts at UBC that will directly support Pascal’s leading cancer development programs.
The research project will be directed by Dr. Wilfred Jefferies at the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC. Dr. Jefferies, the scientific founder of Pascal, was the first scientist to discover specific cannabinoids that can increase the immune recognition of both mouse and human cancer cells.
The project will support the ongoing advancement of the PAS-393 program, which the Company believes may broaden the use of checkpoint inhibitors. “We’ve recently demonstrated cannabinoids recruit immune cells to tumors,” said Dr. Jefferies.
Pascal’s PAS-393 product candidate is an immuno-stimulatory cannabinoid designed to be used in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. Pascal’s product development pipeline also includes PAS-403, its lead cannabinoid-based program for glioblastoma, which has shown activity in animal glioblastoma models and ability to cross the blood brain barrier.
“We are pleased to partner with Mitacs, a leader in supporting innovation in Canada, for these efforts connected with the acceleration of our leading cancer development programs,” said Dr. Patrick Gray, CEO of Pascal. “Dr. Jefferies’ previous work discovered the immune activation with cannabinoids, and this funding will advance animal models of cancer necessary for clinical trials.”
“Through this program, Mitacs, in collaboration with Pascal, is supporting significant research efforts that could impact the future of cancer treatment,” said Dr. Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs. “We are pleased to collaborate on this partnership and actively contribute to Pascal’s and UBC’s efforts in supporting cutting-edge research.”