NRC and KalGene targeting brain cancers

National Research Council and KalGene Pharmaceuticals

July 21, 2014— Ottawa, Ontario

Lakshmi Krishnan, Ph. D., Team Lead, Immunomodulation, Human Health Therapeutics; Mr. Ahmed A. Zafer, Technical Officer, Immunomodulation, Human Health Therapeutics; Dr. T. Nathan Yoganathan President and Chief Scientific Officer, KalGene; Abedelnasser Abulrob, Ph. D., Research Officer, ADME and Imaging, Human Health Therapeutics in the FACS lab, in front of the FACS (Fluorescence-activated cell sorting) instrument that will be used to identify which of KalGene’s antibody candidates bind to brain cancer cells. KalGene’s lead antibody candidate will then be coupled to NRC’s single domain antibodies, which will carry the medicine across the blood-brain barrier to the cancer cells in the brain.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and KalGene Pharmaceuticals are proud to announce an agreement to co-develop a new treatment against aggressive brain cancers.

By combining their research, NRC and KalGene are targeting glioblastomas, which are severe brain tumours associated with a median patient survival of about 15 months. The collaboration couples KalGene’s proprietary therapeutic antibody with NRC’s single domain antibodies to enable delivery inside the brain, a promising strategy that may lead to improved outcomes for patients. Acting as carriers, NRC’s antibodies will shuttle KalGene’s antibody across the challenging blood-brain barrier to target the tumour cells in the brain.

Quick Facts

  • The blood-brain barrier is composed of tightly woven cells that safeguard the brain by repelling harmful agents such as bacteria, while allowing the passage of critical nutrients. Overcoming the barrier is a significant challenge in addressing many diseases affecting the brain; virtually 100% of large molecule medicines are unable to cross the barrier.
  • NRC has engineered a pipeline of single domain antibodies that exploit the mechanisms needed for the entry of nutrients in order to enable the delivery of medicine, like a Trojan horse.
  • KalGene is committed to oncology programs that improve clinical and survival outcomes through precision medicine, which seeks to predict which patients will respond to a particular therapy in advance of treatment.


"NRC is proud to add significant value to and accelerate development of KalGene’s promising treatment, which may lead to improved outcomes for patients."

Dr. Roman Szumski, Vice-President of Life Sciences at the National Research Council of Canada

"We are very much looking forward to our collaboration with NRC. This partnership will certainly help accelerate the global development and commercialization of our oncology innovation, and allow KalGene to bring innovative personalized oncology products to patients."

Dr. T. Nathan Yoganathan, President and Chief Executive Officer, KalGene Pharmaceuticals.

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Contact information

Media Relations Team
National Research Council of Canada
Telephone: 613-991-1431
Toll-free: 1-855-282-1637 (24/7)
Twitter: @nrc_cnrc

Dr.T. Nathan Yoganathan
President and CEO
KalGene Pharmaceuticals

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