MSBi Valorisation announces the creation of Laurent Pharmaceuticals, a new biopharmaceutical company specializing in rare diseases
Montreal, QC, Canada – April 22, 2013
MSBi Valorisation (MSBiV), McGill University (McGill) and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) today announced the creation of Laurent Pharmaceuticals, a start-up pharmaceutical company specializing in drug development for orphan diseases. Laurent has a lead program focusing on Fenretinide, an intensively explored but never commercialized synthetic retinoid derivative, as novel therapy for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients suffering from lung infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
The research involving Fenretinide in CF was led by Dr. Danuta Radzioch, Professor at the Departments of Medicine and Human Genetics at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, and received financial support from the Quebec’s Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie (MESRST), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and MSBiV. Dr. Radzioch and her team demonstrated that Fenretinide corrects the AA/DHA lipid imbalance in lungs and plasma of Cftr‐KO mice, resulting in reduced lung inflammation as well as the frequency and severity of lung infections from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria responsible for excessive lung inflammation and the primary cause of mortality in CF.

“These data confirm the increasing amount of evidence suggesting that the fatty acid imbalance is part of the pathogenic mechanism by which the defective gene leads to the symptoms in CF patients, and not a reflection of the disease manifestations”, said Dr. Radzioch, who is also a researcher with the RI-MUHC. “I am really excited to continue the development of this extremely interesting technology in the context of the newly created Laurent Pharmaceuticals”.

In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted McGill the “Orphan Drug Designation” for the use of the drug Fenretinide for the treatment of pulmonary infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). McGill and Laurent plan to start a Phase I clinical trial in adult CF patients by the end of 2013.
“The concept of using Fenretinide in CF has the potential to become an important disease-modifying oral treatment in a market dominated by symptomatic inhalation therapies. I’m very pleased with the support received from MSBiV and its academic partners in the creation of this start-up as the commercialization vehicle for the technology developed by Dr. Radzioch and her team”, said Dr. Radu Pislariu, MD, President and CEO of Laurent Pharmaceuticals. “The once-neglected field of rare diseases is now gaining increasing attention from the pharmaceutical industry and I’m confident that Laurent is well positioned to establish a strong presence in this sector”, added Dr. Pislariu.

“MSBi Valorisation is excited to be part of this entrepreneurship initiative, which is at the core of our business model”, said Anne-Marie Larose, President and General Manager of MSBiV. “We have been long-time supporters of the technology developed by Dr. Radzioch and her team, constantly helping through our expertise and network, and we are eager to continue in providing our support and added value to Laurent, which we strongly believe is on its way to becoming a valorisation success here in Quebec”.

Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic, hereditary disease affecting the respiratory and digestive systems of approximately 70,000 people worldwide. Pseudomonas aeruginosa infects more than 80 per cent of CF patients and contributes to the decline in pulmonary function. The infection is a major cause of sickness and death and is difficult to treat since it is resistant to many drugs.
Radu Pislariu, President and CEO
Laurent Pharmaceuticals
1155, René-Lévesque Blvd. West, Suite 2701
Montreal, QC, H3B 2K8
(514) 982-2251 ext. 412
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About Laurent Pharmaceuticals
Laurent Pharmaceuticals is a private biopharmaceutical company dedicated to drug development for orphan diseases. The company has a clinical stage lead program focusing on Fenretinide, an intensively explored but never commercialized synthetic retinoid derivative, as a disease-modifying oral therapy for Cystic Fibrosis patients suffering from lung infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which received Orphan Drug Designation from FDA.
About MSBi Valorisation
MSBi Valorisation (“MSBiV”) provides its academic partners and affiliated entities, the financial resources and complementary expertise needed to accelerate and facilitate the commercialization of high potential technologies. Partner institutions include McGill University, Université de Sherbrooke and Bishop's University, as well as their affiliated hospitals, research institutes and technology transfer entities. MSBiV brings industry knowledge and relationships to the existing effort of bridging the gap between discoveries resulting from university research and the marketplace.
About McGill University
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill is a leading Canadian post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 11 professional schools, 300 programs of study and some 38,000 students, including 8,800 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, with more than 7,700 international students making up 20 per cent of the student body. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including 38 per cent who claim French as their first language.


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