Sudbury

Sudbury cancer drug developers work to move product forward

The creators of a cancer drug developed in Sudbury are seeking investors to get the new medication out of the lab and into the hands of doctors. They foresee a day when the city counts medical research as one of its main industries.

The creators of a cancer drug developed in Sudbury are seeking investors to get the new medication out of the lab and into the hands of doctors.

They foresee a day when the city counts medical research as one of its main industries.

Seven years ago, Hoyun Lee started work in his Sudbury lab with a list of 300 chemicals.

Hoyun Lee works at the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada in Sudbury. (Erik White/CBC)

He has narrowed it down to a new drug he called VR23, effective at killing the cancer cells of multiple myeloma and possibly breast and brain cancers.

Lee said during those long hours in the laboratory, he often thought of who might one day take this drug.

"I had a kind of secret dream all the time, that one day my research can help even one person, that would be [an] enormous satisfaction to me," he said.

Lee works at the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada, which has two side companies called Ramsey Lake Pharma and Lilly Creek Vaccines. Ramsey Lake Pharma is working to try and get the drug to market.

Business development vice president Sean Thompson said the company is a long way from making money, but if they do in the future, some of it will go to the Sudbury hospital.

VR23 is a drug that is effective at killing cancer cells for some types of cancer. It was developed in Sudbury. (Erik White/CBC)

Health Sciences North loaned AMRIC its start-up funding.

"So, AMRIC will pay those monies back over time and re-invest the profits in additional research, because at the end of the day, we're trying to improve the treatment of patients," he said.

"The end goal is to have a company that's creating local jobs and diversifying the economy."

Thompson is currently trying to find investors to buy into these small companies and eventually help get made-in Sudbury medications into the hands of doctors.

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