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ONCOPOLE: A research, development and investment hub designed to accelerate the fight against cancer


Merck & Co., Inc. and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) are proud to announce the creation of the Oncopole, a research, development and investment hub designed to accelerate the fight against cancer. The Oncopole can move forward on solid footing as a result of a 15-million dollar funding commitment over three years from Merck. The FRQS will oversee the administration of these funds.

A unique model

The Oncopole brings together various stakeholders to work on this structuring project. This partnership is a unique co-creation with an inclusive idea development and implementation process which involved over 50 experts from the scientific community collaborating over the past year to identify its priorities. Recognizing the range of resources and infrastructures currently available as well as the strategic positioning of many researchers here in Québec, this project will strengthen, to the patient’s benefit, the research and innovation ecosystem.

The Oncopole mobilizes the community around a shared vision:

  • to create a flagship hub in oncology, internationally recognized for its cohesiveness, effectiveness and avant-garde approach;
  • to enable the incubation and creation of companies that will capitalize on innovation;
  • to generate direct positive benefits for patients;
  • to position cancer care in Québec among the best in the world in terms of clinical outcome, patient experience and system efficiency.

Looking forward

Based on a thorough analysis of the various hosting possibilities identified across Québec, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal was selected as the establishment which will host the Oncopole’s coordinating offices.

The Oncopole’s launch sets the stage to further strengthen the project and its structure. The Oncopole aims to act as a lever by creating a hub of excellence and leading-edge innovation in the battle against cancer.

The FRQS and Merck hope that this initial investment will attract other partners to join the Oncopole and make this oncology hub a truly collaborative initiative.

Quote from Mrs. Dominique Anglade, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy

“Thanks to its energy and effervescence, and its many high-level research universities and infrastructures, Québec has become the ideal site for large-scale projects. The Oncopole will be a major high-calibre hub that will help position and support Québec experts as we propel our innovations on the Canadian and international scene.”

Quote from Dr. Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services

“This initiative is part of the changes we are making to Québec’s healthcare system. It is a collaborative effort driven by innovation and interdisciplinarity. Patients will be the first to reap the benefits of this project, from both a clinical and a quality of care standpoint. In our collective fight against cancer, this hub of excellence and expertise is destined to become a key partner for Québec, particularly for the cancer network.”

Quote from Mr. Rémi Quirion, Québec Chief Scientist and Chairman of the boards of directors of the Fonds de recherche du Québec

“The patient being the ultimate beneficiary of the Oncopole’s undertakings, I am very proud that Québec, through the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, is playing a central role in this unique initiative. This new endeavour will provide us with the opportunity to position Québec as a hub of excellence, through leading-edge research and innovation in the fight against cancer.”

Quote from Mr. Chirfi Guindo, President and Managing Director of Merck Canada Inc.

“Merck is delighted to have found in Québec the fertile environment needed to build this unique alliance between public and private partners. The collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation is an important asset for a business such as ours. Québec already benefits from significant oncology expertise and the Oncopole will be able to play its part by being an accelerator for promising innovations which will help cancer patients. We may be the first private partner but we hope that other businesses will join us so that we may combine our strengths and reach ambitious well-being goals for our patients.”

About Merck

For over a century, Merck has been a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca and connect with us on YouTube and Twitter @MerckCanada.

About the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé

The mission of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) is to support research in the field of health to promote the well-being of the population of Québec. It was given the mandate of promoting and providing financial support for research in this field, for the dissemination of scientific knowledge as well as researcher training, for the creation of any partnership essential to the development of Québec’s innovation and research system, and, finally, to stimulate research influence around the world. The FRQS reports to the Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation. http://www.frqs.gouv.qc.ca/en/