McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster collaborates to commercialize stem cell technologies

Published: May 29, 2012
Mick Bhatia
Dr. Mick Bhatia, scientific director of McMaster's Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute (SCC-RI)

McMaster University and Actium Research Inc. have entered into a landmark collaboration covering McMaster’s proprietary adult human stem cell lines, cancer stem cells and the directed differentiation platform developed by Dr. Mick Bhatia and his team at the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute (SCC-RI).

Together these technologies and the expertise at the institute will provide leading edge tools for drug discovery and better treatments for serious illnesses.

Actium is a drug discovery and development company targeting two types of stem cells; cancer stem cells to improve survival and health outcomes and normal tissue stem cells to promote healing and address the need for cure in chronic diseases. Actium was founded by David Young and Helen Findlay, and Bhatia joined as the chief scientific officer earlier this year. The team will put their experience with managing drug discovery platforms, development pathways and product pipelines to work to build Actium into a leading biotech company.

"Much has been written about Canada’s commercialization gap and desperate need to move our research from the bench into the clinic so that we benefit from medical innovation both as patients and as a society," said Actium CEO David Young. "Our agreement with McMaster represents a great example of academia working with the private sector to achieve these goals."

McMaster University is committed to creating collaborations that help accelerate the pace intellectual property is transferred from its labs and to the marketplace, where it will have the greatest impact. 

"This specific initiative will assist us in doing just that," said Mo Elbestawi, McMaster Vice-President, Research and International Affairs.  "These discoveries from Dr. Bhatia’s lab show great promise and we’re delighted with his efforts to commercialize the results of his research, from which many will benefit."

Initially, Actium will develop anti-cancer stem cell drugs that are directed against a newly identified cancer stem cell marker in leukemia and breast cancer.

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