Alpha-9 Theranostics, a UBC spin-off company founded by three university researchers, has raised $75-million to develop next-generation radiopharmaceuticals that promise to meaningfully improve treatment for people with cancer.
Based on more than a decade of ground-breaking research at UBC and BC Cancer, the cancer drugs act like a homing device — seeking out tumours to deliver targeted radiation treatment, while having minimal impact on nearby healthy tissues. This precision targeting results in drugs that can be more effective and have fewer side effects for patients than traditional radiation treatments.
“We founded this company to turn the research we were doing at UBC and BC Cancer into treatments that will help patients thrive and, ultimately, save lives,” says Dr. François Bénard, company co-founder, and a Radiology Professor at the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Senior Executive Director of the BC Cancer Research Institute. “Seeing these treatments move into clinical testing following more than a decade of basic and translational research is inspiring and the result of a tremendous collaborative effort. This new financing will further accelerate development, bringing new cancer treatments to patients faster.”
Alpha-9 was founded in 2019 by Dr. Bénard alongside UBC professors Dr. Kuo-Shyan Lin, UBC Radiology Professor and Senior Scientist at BC Cancer, and Dr. David Perrin, UBC Professor of Chemistry.
For Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President, Health, Alpha-9 is another example of how UBC researchers are driving innovation to tackle today’s most pressing health challenges. “UBC researchers are accelerating the discovery and development of new treatments for a range of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes,” says Dr. Kelleher. “Investors and companies are taking notice of the talent and expertise that exists here and its proximity to the university. They’re increasingly choosing B.C. as a place to invest and grow their business, which is in turn, creating jobs and bringing new treatments to British Columbians sooner.”
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