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Government of Canada invests in promising treatment that could fight COVID-19

Canadian scientists, businesses and manufacturers are finding new ways to fight COVID-19 and save lives. The Government of Canada is investing in projects that will support Canada in the global race to find treatments for COVID-19 while building domestic capabilities to fight future pandemics.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, today announced a contribution of up to $6.7 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to Arch Biopartners, a Canadian clinical-stage biotechnology company that aims to advance its lead drug candidate Metablok as a treatment for organ inflammation in severe cases of COVID-19. Metablok is designed to block inflammation in the lungs, liver and kidneys, helping alleviate complications in the worst cases of COVID‑19.

This funding will help Arch Biopartners advance Metablok through Phase II clinical trials to prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute kidney injury and other organ injuries caused by inflammation in hospitalized patients with severe cases of COVID-19. It will also help Arch Biopartners advance studies for optimal dosage; perform chemistry, manufacturing and controls to support the drug’s approval as a COVID-19 treatment; and ultimately prepare for a Phase III trial. This project will support Canada’s fight against COVID-19. Arch Biopartners has received Health Canada approval to conduct its Phase II clinical trials in Canada and is preparing to begin dosing patients in Canada.  

The Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force, composed of some of Canada’s leading scientific and industry experts, reviewed the proposal and provided its recommendation to inform the funding decision. 

This contribution is part of Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Science to fight COVID-19, which was introduced on March 23, 2020, with additional measures announced on April 23, 2020. The plan includes significant investments in Canada’s world-class research community to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID‑19 and to diagnose the disease. These investments in research, combined with investments in innovation and manufacturing capacity, will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and, ultimately, facilitate our return to work and economic recovery.

Through this investment, the Government of Canada is contributing to breakthrough technology, efforts to advance the development of a treatment for COVID-19, and the commercialization of a made-in-Canada solution.

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