Ontario Newsroom

Ontario Helps Merck And Leading Research Institutions Fight Cancer

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario Helps Merck And Leading Research Institutions Fight Cancer

Despite some recent improvements in chemotherapy, patients urgently need more effective cancer medications.

That is why Ontario is joining forces with Merck and leading research institutions to develop new drugs to fight cancer.

The province is contributing to an oncology partnership involving Merck, the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and its research arm the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI) -- part of the University Health Network (UHN).  The investment will see PMH join Merck's global oncology research network -- a collaborative group of leading cancer research institutions around the world -- as a centre of excellence for clinical trials of new anti-cancer drugs for cancers with a high degree of unmet need.

The network will develop a new generation of cancer treatments based on genomics, stem cell research and personalized medicine. The partnership will target lung, colorectal, prostate, breast, gynaecological and certain blood cancers, and hopes to achieve a dramatic reduction in the time it takes to bring new medicines to the demonstration stage.

Ontario is investing about $2.6 million in the Canadian arm of the research partnership through its Biopharmaceutical Investment Program. The total project is valued at more than $17 million. This investment will create and retain approximately 10 to12 highly skilled jobs at Princess Margaret Hospital. 

Merck chose the Princess Margaret Hospital to be the Canadian partners in its global oncology research network.  Participating in the partnership will help maintain Ontario's leadership in oncology research. It showcases the province as a jurisdiction that brings together world-leading, multi-disciplinary researchers to pursue breakthroughs in areas of complex research. 



The investment supports Ontario's Innovation Agenda, the province's $3.2-billion plan for driving economic growth in areas where the province already is, or is poised to become, a global leader. Conquering disease through life sciences, biotechnology, advanced health technologies and pharmaceutical research is one of these areas.

This is part of our Open Ontario Plan to create new opportunities for growth and jobs.

Media Contacts