Who We Are

NGDI receives core funding from UBC Administration and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute

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The Neglected Global Diseases Initiative (NGDI) has received core funding of $120,000 to continue its mission to deliver interventions to those in need. Support was garnered from the Offices of the Vice President Academic and Vice President Research & International and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI).  Vice-Provost David Farrar comments, “NGDI’s continues to provide UBC researchers and students with an important forum for their work in this area.”

“The continNGDI logo2ued support of the UBC community highlights the importance of the work in which NGDI researchers are engaged,” said new Director, Dr. Richard Lester, assistant professor of infectious diseases in the department of medicine. “Our ability to advocate for the health of neglected populations and promote UBC’s outstanding research in this area of global health has been enhanced with this funding commitment.”

Dr. Robert McMaster, VCHRI Executive Director and a researcher in visceral leishmaniasis, a neglected tropical disease states, “The majority of these diseases contribute greatly to the amount of suffering and poverty in the world today. The NGDI’s mission to work towards delivering interventions where they are needed aligns with VCHRI’s mandate for healthier lives through discovery.”

“The NGDI’s mandate of research for neglected diseases of poverty really highlights some of the excellent basic research happening in our faculties of science and pharmaceutical sciences,” states Dr. Helen Burt, Associate Vice President Research.

The new funding coincides with a move of the offices of the NGDI to the Vancouver General Hospital UBC site at 564 – 828 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC.

Neglected Global Diseases Initiative at UBC: The Neglected Global Diseases Initiative at UBC (NGDI‐UBC) brings together the technical expertise and perspectives of a variety of disciplines at UBC – including bench science, pharmaceutical and health research, business, social policy, and law – to develop interventions for neglected global diseases and ensure their delivery to those in need. For more information, visit www.ngdi.ubc.ca.

For more information about the VP Academic and VP Research and International Office visit www.vpacademic.ubc.ca and www.research.ubc.ca.

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute:  A world leader in translational health research, is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. VCHRI includes three of BC’s largest academic and teaching health sciences centres — Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre — as well as many other hospitals and public health agencies across Vancouver Coastal Health. VCHRI is academically affiliated with UBC Faculty of Medicine and is one of Canada’s top funded research centres receiving between $80-100 million in research funding annually. Over 1500 personnel are engaged in a variety of research centres, programs and evolving research areas. www.vchri.ca


For more information contact:

Dr. Richard Lester
Assistant Professor, Div. of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine
Director, Neglected Global Diseases Initiative
Director, Global Health & Tropical Medicine Program
Phone: 604-789-2908
Email: rlester@mail.ubc.ca

Jocelyn Conway
Neglected Global Diseases Initiative
Phone: 604-218-4849
Email: jocelyn.conway@ubc.ca

iCo Therapeutics Announces Positive Oral Amphotericin B Study Results

August 19, 2014, Vancouver, Canada—iCo Therapeutics Inc. (“iCo” or “the Company”) (TSX-V: ICO) (OTCQX: ICOTF), today reported results of its Oral Amphotericin B (Oral Amp B) drug candidate targeting latent HIV reservoirs.  The study, conducted by ImmuneCarta®, the immune monitoring business unit of Caprion, evaluated in vitro effectiveness of Oral Amp B in reactivating latent HIV viral reservoirs which remain present in individuals despite intensive treatment with antiretroviral therapy.

Memory cells, or white blood cells, from eight HIV-infected subjects with a durable viral suppression using antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were obtained and exposed in vitro to various concentrations of Oral Amp B. Samples from one  patient were determined not to be susceptible to reactivation.  In the remaining subjects, Oral Amp B demonstrated a reactivation response of HIV viral production in six out of seven in vitro cultures with detectable HIV reservoir.  Some HIV reservoirs are not possible to reactivate and this may explain why one culture did not show reactivation response.

“There are a number of HIV latent reservoirs that are not inducible and our partners at ImmuneCarta were pleasantly surprised that six of the seven samples had inducible latent reservoirs in our study,” said Dr. Peter Hnik, Chief Medical Officer of iCo Therapeutics.  “By turning on expression of latent HIV proviruses, reactivation strategies such as Oral Amp B, could contribute to a reduction of HIV infection.  Given these promising results, we are now evaluating the next steps in the developmental path for Oral Amp B.”

About iCo Therapeutics

iCo Therapeutics in-licenses and redefines existing drug candidates or generics by employing reformulation and delivery technologies for new or expanded use indications. The Company has exclusive worldwide rights to two drug candidates – iCo-007 for Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and iCo-008 for other sight-threatening diseases. iCo-007 is in Phase 2 clinical studies for DME. With Phase 2 clinical history, iCo-008 is targeted for the treatment of keratoconjunctivitis and wet age-related macular degeneration. In addition, iCo holds worldwide rights to an oral drug delivery platform. The first platform candidate is the Oral Amp B Delivery system, utilizing a known anti-fungal drug to treat life-threatening infectious diseases. iCo trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “ICO” and the OTCQX under the symbol “ICOTF”. For more information, visit the Company website at: www.icotherapeutics.com.

No regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the content of this press release. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulatory Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may be considered forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities laws.  Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as: “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “will,” and similar references to future periods and includes, but is not limited to, statements about the intended use of proceeds of the Offering. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements, and therefore these statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. All forward-looking statements are based on iCo’s current beliefs as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to iCo and relate to, among other things, anticipated financial performance, business prospects, strategies, regulatory developments, market acceptance and future commitments. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are based only on information currently available to iCo and speak only as of the date of this press release. Due to risks and uncertainties, including the risks and uncertainties identified by iCo in its public securities filings and on its website, actual events may differ materially from current expectations. iCo disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Mr. John Meekison, CFO
iCo Therapeutics
604-602-9414 x 224
Michael Moore, Investor Relations
TMX Equicom

Promising discovery in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria


UBC’s Bob Hancock and his team of researchers have discovered a peptide that could help destroy biofilms, which are responsible for two-thirds of human infections. Photo: Martin Dee

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have identified a small molecule that prevents bacteria from forming into biofilms, a frequent cause of infections. The anti-biofilm peptide works on a range of bacteria including many that cannot be treated by antibiotics.

“Currently there is a severe problem with antibiotic-resistant organisms,” says Bob Hancock, a professor in UBC’s Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology and lead author of the study published today in PLOS Pathogens. “Our entire arsenal of antibiotics is gradually losing effectiveness.”

Many bacteria that grow on skin, lung, heart and other human tissue surfaces form biofilms, highly structured communities of bacteria that are responsible for two-thirds of all human infections. There are currently no approved treatments for biofilm infections and bacteria in biofilms are considerably more resistant to standard antibiotics.

Hancock and his colleagues found that the peptide known as 1018–consisting of just 12 amino acids, the building blocks of protein–destroyed biofilms and prevented them from forming.

Bacteria are generally separated into two classes, Gram-positives and Gram-negatives, and the differences in their cell wall structures make them susceptible to different antibiotics. 1018 worked on both classes of bacteria as well as several major antibiotic-resistant pathogens, including E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and MRSA.

“Antibiotics are the most successful medicine on the planet. The lack of effective antibiotics would lead to profound difficulties with major surgeries, some chemotherapy treatments, transplants, and even minor injuries,” says Hancock. “Our strategy represents a significant advance in the search for new agents that specifically target bacterial biofilms.”

NGDI Stars in Global Health Awardees from Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada Announces 64 Starts in Global Health Seed Funding

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have received four seed funding grants of $112,000 each in the Round 6 of the Stars in Global Health Program. We congratulate two NGDI researchers for their successful projects, Tim Green and Matthew Wiens.

The Post Discharge Survival ProjectMatthew Wiens, School of Population and Public Health
Country of implementation: Uganda

Some five to 10 per cent of African children with a serious infection die in hospital. Alarmingly, an even higher percentage of children die in the weeks after their discharge. Doctors and parents are often unaware of this period of high vulnerability and are poorly equipped to identify or handle recurrent illness. A mobile phone application developed by this project for hospital use will help to identify at-risk children who need referral to a community health worker, while parents will receive a discharge kit to help guide care for their recovering child.

Video: http://bit.ly/1jThV5T, Pictures: http://bit.ly/1mI8vxJ

Thiamin-fortified fish sauce as a means of combating infantile beriberi in rural CambodiaProfessor Tim Green, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Country of Implementation: Cambodia

Low levels of the vitamin thiamin (B1) in the diet of breastfeeding mothers in Southeast Asia results in widespread beriberi disease in their infants, causing heart failure and thousands of child deaths. In Cambodia alone, the problem kills about 700 children per year. The project will introduce fortified fish sauce to mothers’ diets, a simple, cost-effective and sustainable way to raise maternal blood and breast milk thiamin levels, helping to lower the rate of infantile beriberi.

Video: http://bit.ly/1ni7wVj

Cheap drugs for bad bugs: engineering natural product synthesis – Katherine Ryan, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Country of implementation: India

By engineering bacteria, this project aims to produce natural, low-cost drugs for the developing world. The prototype objective: an antibiotic called violacein, which may help treat diseases such as leishmaniasis and malaria, but stalled in clinical development due to its high cost.

Video: http://bit.ly/1mSjctl

Discovery of new HIV1 viroporin inhibitors from local natural products Ian Tietjen, Research Associate, Cardiovascular Research Group
Country of implementation: Thailand

Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) has significantly reduced HIV1-related illness and death, but less than half of patients in many low and middle income countries have access to it. Using electrophysiology (EP) and cell assays, this project aims to discover natural products from Southeast Asia that block HIV1, leading to local, affordable therapies.

Video: http://bit.ly/1ldFxPz

For a complete press release, click here.

For a database of all Grand Challenges Awardees, click http://www.grandchallenges.ca/our-innovators/.

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