Monday, December 3, 2012

C&EN: Canadian government helping out Montreal R&D

It's hard not to see these two C&EN articles as somewhat
emblematic of the changes In These Times.* 
From this week's C&EN, an article by Lisa Jarvis talking about the Canadian government's effort to help out the struggling Montreal R&D scene:
As drug companies move their R&D operations out of Quebec in rapid succession, Canadian authorities are trying to sustain the region’s life sciences community. In the latest effort, the government, along with AstraZeneca and Pfizer, is committing $100 million over five years to establish the NeoMed Institute, a nonprofit research center in Montreal. 
NeoMed aspires to bridge the gap between basic research and early clinical studies for drug candidates by offering universities and biotech start-ups funding and services. The hope is to eventually restore some of the hundreds of R&D jobs the region has lost in the past two years. AstraZeneca and Pfizer, along with any other big pharma partners that join NeoMed, will have an option to license molecules developed there. 
AstraZeneca is kicking in its former neuroscience research facility, which was focused on developing small molecules, along with $5 million and intellectual property for three potential pain drugs. The firm values its input at $35 million...
...The research center will provide minimal relief for the victims of pharma-related R&D job losses in the Montreal region. In addition to AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Boehringer Ingelheim all have shuttered R&D sites or significantly cut the number of scientists they employ in Quebec.
Someone (myself?) should track where all these chemists that used to work in the Montreal region have ended up; this is really unfortunate, and does not bode well for pharma R&D in Canada.

Best wishes to all of us.

*Not intending offense to Nigerians or Indians, just noting the choices that multinational pharma R&D is making. 

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