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Stroke is the second leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Each year, approximately 50,000 strokes occur in Canada and almost 16,000 Canadians die as a result of stroke. About 300,000 Canadians are living with varying degrees of disability and permanent injury due to stroke. Imagine if the devastating effects – paralysis, brain damage – could be lessened, even prevented altogether following the onset of a stroke.
That's the dream of Dr. Michael Tymianski, Scientist and Neurosurgeon at UHN, whose medical research at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre uncovered a drug that has the potential to dramatically reduce the damaging effects of stroke. Dr Tymianski has since formed a Canadian biotechnology company, NoNO Inc., which is on the brink of solving one of Canada's most pressing health issues. If successful, this company could also help capitalize on one of the country's most untapped resources: our medical research.
"In Canada, we're great at research but the challenge remains – how do we translate this research to benefit our patients, and make it commercially viable?" Dr. Tymianski says. "Thankfully, UHN continues to be supportive of basic research, and also of NoNO Inc., which bridges this translational gap."
If the trial is successful, the Canadian company would be first in the world to produce a neuroprotective drug that prevents the death of brain cells in stroke patients, thereby reducing the life-altering consequences of stroke. With the support of UHN's Technology Development and Commercialization office and his successful efforts to raise capital from investors, NoNO Inc. has advanced its lead stroke treatment into clinical trials and expanded the company's pipeline to include promising therapies for various conditions including chronic pain and heart attacks. The company has been successful in raising funds even in these adverse financial times, and has advanced Canadian research from the laboratory to human clinical trials at a remarkable rate.
NoNO's success to date is due to the fact that its products are intended for diseases where there is a large global unmet need. They are based on sound scientific foundations and are backed by savvy investors and a Board of directors with extensive business expertise. NoNO has fostered strong relationships with scientists belonging to university research institutes across Canada, and has capitalized on the excellence of Canadian research.