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Genome BC, Canada Fund New Proof-of-Concept Genomics Grants

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genome British Columbia and the Canadian government have funded four new research projects seeking to develop genomics-related technologies for a range of applications.

Genome BC said today that it has awarded funding to three new projects at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and Simon Fraser University under its Proof-of-Concept Program, which it funds along with the government-supported organization Western Economic Diversification Canada, or WD.

These new grants are the third round of the C$8.7 million (US$8.5 million) POC program, through which Genome BC and WD each provide one quarter of the funding required for these projects — contributing up to $500,000 together for each project — while the researchers identify the other half of the support their studies require.

"This program compels the research community to work hand in hand with end users," Genome BC President and CEO Alan Winter said in a statement. "Genome BC is committed to fulfilling our mandate of facilitating the advancement of genomics based discoveries from innovation through to practical applications."

Among the grant winners, Fraser Hof, an associate professor at the University of Victoria, will use one of the grants to develop and eventually commercialize an epigenetics-based toolkit for use in cancer research.

University of British Columbia Associate Professor Artem Cherkasov and Professor Paul Rennie won a grant to use computational chemogenomics and other methods to advance a new class of drugs being developed by the Vancouver Prostate Centre, where Rennie is director of laboratory research.

Professors Neil Reiner at UBC and Fiona Brinkman at Simon Fraser University will use the funding to identify new drug targets and therapeutics for multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens that could lead to novel classes of antimicrobials.

Professor Paul Sorenson of UBC and the BC Cancer Agency won an award to develop a method to diagnose genetic alterations associated with solid tumors in children. This technology would reduce the overall cost of screening and testing procedures for children with solid tumors and is expected to be ready for commercialization by the end of the project.

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