Vancouver, Canada – December 3, 2013: CDRD Ventures Inc. (CVI), the commercialization vehicle of The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), announced today the launch of a new spin-off company, Sitka Biopharma Inc., a biotechnology company developing a new bladder cancer treatment.

There are very limited effective chemotherapeutic treatments for intermediate and high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, with other treatment options being undesirable or ineffective in the long term. Sitka’s technology combines a nanoparticulate drug delivery technology based on hyperbranched polyglycerols (HPG), with docetaxel, a well characterized chemotherapeutic, in a single proprietary formulation designed for intravesical instillation into the bladder. The platform also has the potential to be combined with other drugs for a variety of therapeutic uses. This technology and its application were initially developed through a collaboration between the University of British Columbia (UBC) and CDRD, and further advanced toward a product candidate via CVI.

In preclinical studies, Sitka’s candidate formulation has been demonstrated to significantly improve bladder tissue uptake when compared to the commercial docetaxel formulation. Further, in animal models of bladder cancer, the proprietary HPG-docetaxel formulation demonstrated superior efficacy over commercial docetaxel — providing a preclinical proof-of-concept.

The collaboration was led by Dr. Helen Burt, Associate Vice President of Research at UBC with a history of commercially successful drug-delivery technology development, along with Drs. Don Brooks, Professor and Jay Kizhakkedathu, Associate Professor, both of Pathology at UBC whose groups developed the drug binding HPG polymers; while Drs. Martin Gleave, a world-leading urologist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre/UBC/PC-TRiADD and Alan So, Associate Professor, Department of Urologic Sciences at the VPC/UBC provided the preclinical bladder cancer studies and clinical feedback.
CVI President and CEO, Ms. Natalie Dakers stated, “Preclinical data strongly supports the potential of Sitka’s polymer platform technology to address the absorption challenges of current intravesical treatments. Among the number of promising technologies being developed at CDRD and CVI, we are excited that Sitka’s technology platform is now ready for further advancement towards clinical development and commercialization.”

Ms. Karimah Es Sabar, President and CEO of CDRD commented, “Sitka Biopharma is a great example of the innovative technologies being developed in Canada that require development and specialized resources in terms of both infrastructure and expertise to bring about their full commercial potential and value. Without CDRD and CVI, this technology would have made very limited progress and would lack the necessary data needed for commercial success.”

CDRD de-risked and added value to the Sitka polymer project by carrying out the drug development activities, including pK, ADME and toxicology studies to support preclinical proof of concept and selection of a lead candidate, filing patents, and securing funding to support these development activities.

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About Sitka Biopharma Inc.
Sitka Biopharma has developed a novel polymer platform technology that improves drug absorption for cancer treatments. Its lead candidate is a formulation that allows taxane drugs to adhere and penetrate into the bladder wall, enhancing treatment benefit for bladder cancer. Preclinical proof-of-concept has been established and the company’s near term goal is to enter clinical trials. Sitka is a spin-off company of CDRD Ventures Inc. (CVI), the commercialization vehicle of The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), and the University of British Columbia (UBC).

About CDRD Ventures Inc. (CVI)
CVI is the commercialization vehicle of The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). With a first right to negotiate for any of the technologies developed at CDRD, CVI has a continuous and unparalleled pipeline of the most innovative and commercially-promising pre-validated and thus de-risked technologies in Canada. From CDRD’s drug development projects and/or external opportunities, CVI licenses select promising technologies with the goal to further advance them to a stage where they can attract licensing partners, form the foundation for a new spin-off company, or secure the investment needed for clinical development.

About The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
CDRD is Canada’s fully-integrated national drug development and commercialization centre, providing expertise and infrastructure to enable researchers from leading health research institutions to advance promising early-stage drug candidates. Its mandate is to de-risk discoveries stemming from publicly-funded health research and transform them into viable investment opportunities for the private sector — thus successfully bridging the commercialization gap between academia and industry, and translating research discoveries into new therapies for patients. Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program has recognized CDRD as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR).

For additional information, please contact:
Barry Gee
Director, Communications
CDRD & CDRD Ventures Inc.
Direct: 604-619-4805

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