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The competition for research funding is fierce, especially if your field is rare diseases and the source is industry. Five research teams from across Quebec qualified to enter the ring in Quebec City on December 6, challenging a panel of biotech “Heavyweight Champions” for $500,000 in financing. One team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) was prepared to go the distance.
Dr. Nancy Braverman, a scientist at the RI-MUHC, and Catherine Argyriou, a student in her laboratory, emerged the victors in this year’s final KNOCK OUT round of presentations, a highlight of the 11th Quebec City Healthcare Industry Forum. Having worked closely with Dr. Costas Karatzas, Director of the Business Development and Contracts Office of the RI-MUHC, the team delivered a presentation with punch and was awarded first prize from venture capital seed fund AmorChem for the project “Retinal gene augmentation for peroxisome biogenesis (REGAIN).”
It’s no topic for the average elevator pitch, but Dr. Braverman is an authority on peroxisomal biogenesis disorder (PBD), and her team was eloquent. “There is no targeted therapy yet so this award will help us advance therapy for vision in the clinic,” said Catherine Argyriou, a doctoral student in human genetics at McGill University. “This treatment will improve the quality of life for people with PBD by improving their vision, one of the major handicaps for people living with this disorder.”
Dr. Braverman’s work focuses on genes responsible for the proper function of peroxisomes, which are important components of cells that help to metabolize lipids, or fatty acids.
Congratulations to Dr. Braverman and her team as they continue to search for advances in the fight against this disease!
Read the AmorChem press release here.