Aspect Biosystems Partners with Merck, GSK, and McGill

Jun 04, 2019

This project will leverage Aspect Biosystems’ microfluidic 3D bioprinting platform to develop highly physiological, high-throughput tissues for the accurate and predictive screening of immuno-therapeutics targeting difficult-to-treat cancers such as triple negative breast cancer.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - June 4, 2019 -  Aspect Biosystems is proud to announce a collaboration with Merck, GSK, and McGill University’s Goodman Cancer Research Centre. This $2.2M project is made possible by contributions from CQDM, the Canadian Cancer Society, Merck, GSK, Aspect Biosystems, and McGill University. These contributions underscore their commitment to driving innovation that will unlock the discovery of novel therapeutic targets and the development of immuno-oncology therapeutics.

Morag Park and her team at Goodman Cancer Research Centre and McGill University Health Centre are collaborating with Aspect Biosystems to reproduce tumours from living cells of breast cancer patients.This collaboration will leverage Aspect’s microfluidic 3D bioprinting platform to create physiologically-relevant 3D tissues containing patient-derived cells to assess the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs and to predict a patient’s response to treatment.

“We are thrilled to partner with global biopharmaceutical leaders, GSK and Merck, as well as world-class groups at McGill and the Canadian Cancer Society that are dedicated to finding cures for cancer,” said Tamer Mohamed, chief executive officer, Aspect Biosystems. “We are deeply committed to forming strategic partnerships to accelerate the impact of our technology on patient outcomes. In addition to our partnerships and programs focused on developing tissue therapeutics for regenerative medicine, our 3D bioprinting platform is also enabling breakthroughs in therapeutic discovery. This public-private partnership is a great example of combining state-of the-art technology and science with world-class expertise and resources to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapies for patients.”
“We are excited to work with Aspect’s innovative team to combine our bio-bank of patient-matched tumour-associated cells with Aspect’s microfluidic 3D bioprinting technology to create programmable 3D tumour models," said Dr. Morag Park, director, Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University. "Solid tumour growth is regulated by complex interactions of tumour cells with the tumour microenvironment. This collaboration seeks to create a powerful new platform for studying these critical interactions in a human-relevant environment and, ultimately, accelerate the discovery and development of novel cancer immunotherapies.”
“As a founding member of the CQDM, Merck Canada is proud to support this investment in R&D with the objective of potentially improving patient response to some treatments for breast cancer patients,” said Anna Van Acker, president and managing director, Merck Canada Inc. “We believe that collaboration between public sector, academia, patients, NGOs, industry and government will lead to innovations that improve patient outcomes and today’s announcement is yet another example of the modern R&D model we are pursuing in Canada.”

About Aspect Biosystems

Aspect Biosystems is a privately held biotechnology company pioneering microfluidic 3D bioprinting of living, human tissue. The company’s proprietary technology is enabling advances in understanding fundamental biology, disease research, development of novel therapeutics, and regenerative medicine. In addition to its internal programs, Aspect is focused on strategically partnering with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as academic researchers, to enable the creation of living, human tissues for medical research, therapeutic discovery, and regenerative medicine products. For more, visit

About the Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University

The Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre (GCRC) is an internationally renowned research institution at McGill University committed to fundamental and translational cancer research and training within a technologically advanced Centre. The GCRC brings together the very best scientists, technicians, graduate students and research fellows and a powerful, multidisciplinary approach to understand and target cancer. Over the next few years the GCRC will heighten its initiative of new target identification and validation for the development of more efficient drugs for cancer diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.

About CQDM

CQDM is a biopharma-based research consortium with the mission to fund the development of innovative technologies to accelerate the drug discovery and development. Its business model is based on a collaborative approach bringing together pharma companies, SMEs and governments who share the costs of R&D. This leverage reduces the risks inherent to early-stage research and fill a gap to drive innovation across the academic and private sectors. CQDM receives contributions from 13 lead Pharma, the Quebec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation and from the Government of Canada. Since 2008, CQDM has supported the development of 64 outstanding innovative technologies totaling $68M in funding.

About Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is a national community-based organization whose mission is to eradicate cancer and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer. CCS is the largest national charitable funder of breast cancer research in Canada, and funds raised through the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure help us further our support for the breast cancer cause. In 2018, the CIBC Run for the Cure raised almost $16 million for breast cancer research and support services.To learn more about cancer, visit  

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