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Genomics advancing magic mushrooms?

Project team photo. L to R: Gerry Wright, Eric Brown, Divya Panchal.
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Fungi may hold key to drug discovery

Fungi have played a key role in the development of many medicines, notably penicillin, however producing the active medicinal ingredients at scale for R&D has been a key challenge to further fungal drug discovery.

A synthetic biology platform to support fungal drug discovery will create a flexible, scalable and cost-efficient synthetic biology platform that supports the synthesis of diverse fungal molecules and produces sufficient compound. Led by Gerard Wright at McMaster University, it will leverage Kapoose Creek Bio’s (KCB’s) proprietary AI-enabled drug discovery platform (unEarth Rx), which mines nature for new therapeutic drug leads.

With over $2.3 million in funding announced in May 2024 as part of a larger $41 million investment, the platform will use genomics and metabolomics solutions to develop a biosynthetic expression system for genetically-encoded fungal compounds.

Project team photo. L to R: Gerry Wright, Eric Brown, Divya Panchal.
Project team photo. L to R: Gerry Wright, Eric Brown, Divya Panchal.

ABOUT GAPP

The Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) supports industry-facing partnered research projects that address real-world challenges. Designed to accelerate the social and economic impact of genomics, GAPP provides the space for research, innovation and application to thrive collaboratively. GAPP projects address real-world challenges and opportunities through greater collaboration between genomics scientists and the users of genomics research. They aim to stimulate public- and private-sector investment in Canadian genomics technologies, advancing technology uptake in receptors and moving technologies across readiness levels. 

Quick facts

  • Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) is a flagship initiative that recently marked its 10th year and 100th funded project.
    • GAPP leverages world-leading expertise and diversified public-private partnerships to accelerate the adoption of genomics solutions to generate broad economic and societal benefits for Canada
  • Budget 2021 provided $400 million over six years, starting in 2021–22, to support the creation of the Canadian Genomics Strategy to drive further innovation in genomics through commercialization and adoption. This funding included $136.7 million over two years, starting in 2022–23, for programming delivered by Genome Canada to kick-start the new strategy and complement existing genomics research and innovation programming.
  • Since 2000, Genome Canada has leveraged $1.6 billion in federal investment into a total investment of $3.9 billion in R&D including co-funding, supported over 13,784 talented research trainees, and spun-out more than 120 new Canadian companies.

Media contact

Nicola Katz
Director, Communications
Genome Canada
Cell: 613-297-0267
nkatz@genomecanada.ca

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