- Sunnybrook research lead to the early implementation of a hospital-based COVID-19 test.
- Sunnybrook team of Dr. Mubareka and Dr. Robert Kozak and team of close collaborators isolated the agent
responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.
- QuestCap to receive a 3.5% Royalty from commercialization of research
- Acclaimed Stanford Immunology professor Dr. Lawrence Steinman joins advisory board
- Senior Public Health Policy Leader Mike McCarthy joins advisory board
TORONTO, April 02, 2020 — QuestCap Inc. (“QuestCap” or the “Company”) (CSE: QSC; OTCMKTS: COPRF; FRA: 34C1) is pleased to announce an investment of $1 million in the Sunnybrook Research Institute’s COVID-19 research. With these funds, Sunnybrook will establish the Sunnybrook Translational Research Group for Emerging and Respiratory Viruses (“SERV”) and QuestCap will receive a 3.5% royalty on any revenues earned by Sunnybrook from the commercialization of any of the research done by SERV.
Led by infectious diseases physician and microbiologist Dr. Samira Mubareka, SERV’s work will focus on three crucial streams of research: vaccines and therapeutics, virus biology and transmission prevention. Dedicated investment in SERV means Dr. Mubareka and her team will be able to accelerate the pace of further research into COVID-19 at a crucial time.
Dr. Lawrence Steinman and Mike McCarthy Appointed as Advisors
QuestCap is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Lawrence Steinman and Mike McCarthy to the board of advisors. Dr. Lawrence Steinman is Professor of Neurology, Neurological Sciences and Pediatrics at Stanford University and Chair of the Stanford Program in Immunology from 2001 to 2011.
Mike McCarthy has more than 14 years of experience with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and 24 years in health policy and delivery. He was appointed Senior Policy Advisor to the Progressive Conservative Minister of Health of Ontario, advising on physician, nursing and primary care, public health, laboratories, OHIP, organ transplant, HIV and blood issues. In 2003, he provided strategic support and counsel to the government of Ontario during the SARS outbreak.
Lawrence Steinman stated that, “The Sunnybrook technology will be a key tool for the development of both powerful and safe vaccines against COVID-19, and for the development of point of care and even home diagnostics to test whether one is immune to the COVID-19 virus. Those who are immune can return to work and can provide safe and needed duties to the community. It would be especially important to know if you are a health care worker, grocer or delivery person whether or not you have immunity. You could then be safe and carry on as a SuperWomen or SuperMan in these times, knowing you are immune!” Mike McCarthy adds “I look forward to advising QuestCap in its visionary efforts to bring innovative testing and vaccine technologies to Canada and the world to combat COVID-19.”
The Company has granted 500,000 stock options to Mr. Steinman pursuant to the Company’s stock option plan. The stock options shall vest in four equal instalments every three months such that all stock options fully vest by the date that falls 12 months from the date of grant and may be exercised at a price of $0.305 per common share for a period of five years from the date of grant. This grant of options is subject to the approval of the Canadian Securities Exchange.
Sunnybrook Translational Research Group
Sunnybrook has been at the global forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic since the first Canadian case was identified, both clinically and on the research front. Dr. Mubareka, along with clinical microbiologist Dr. Robert Kozak and a team of close collaborators, has led Sunnybrook’s research response efforts since the earliest days of the pandemic. Their work has been globally significant, leading to early implementation of a hospital-based COVID-19 test. Most crucially, on March 10, 2020, their team isolated the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The isolated virus is helping researchers in Canada and elsewhere to develop better diagnostic testing, treatments and vaccines, and gain a better understanding of the virus’s biology, evolution and clinical shedding.
“This is extremely time-sensitive research,” says Dr. Mubareka. “As a scientist on the frontlines, I have seen the devastation this virus can cause. We all feel the effects of physical distancing as our lives are fundamentally changed. This is why support from our community is so important right now. The more we understand how this virus behaves, the better we can limit its spread as we race to find a treatment or vaccine. This investment will be put to work immediately toward our human and operational funding needs to rapidly accelerate research into COVID-19.”
“Now is the time to dedicate as many resources as possible to stopping the spread of this highly contagious virus,” explains Dr. Andy Smith, Sunnybrook’s President and CEO. “On behalf of Sunnybrook, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to QuestCap for stepping up with this inspiring investment. Your support will have a direct impact on the lives of countless people in our communities, across Canada and around the world.”
With these crucial tools in hand, QuestCap saw an opportunity to give this research a major boost at a critical juncture. “As countries grapple with the effects of COVID-19, there has been a collective global effort to help minimize the impacts of this deadly virus,” says Stan Bharti, Co-Chairman of QuestCap. “QuestCap, through its investment platform, is looking to do its part by providing a critical investment to help fund the vital research being conducted by Dr. Mubareka, Dr. Kozak and their teams.”
The investment to Sunnybrook will help researchers in Canada and across the world develop better diagnostic testing, treatments and vaccines, and gain a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology, evolution and clinical shedding for the development of commercial applications (“Commercial Applications”). As consideration for its investment, QuestCap will receive a 3.5% royalty on any revenue earned by Sunnybrook from the any Commercial Applications resulting from the research conducted by SERV.
“At a time of global uncertainty as COVID-19 continues to devastate people, families and entire countries, the urgency of research has never been greater,” says Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, Vice President of Research & Innovation at Sunnybrook. “Yet, often times, there simply isn’t enough funding for research. I am deeply grateful to QuestCap for this clear statement on supporting the power of research to save and change lives.”
About the Research
SERV is a three-pronged COVID-19 research response program, consisting of the following critically important areas of focus:
- Virus biology (genomics): Identifying the genetic sequence of a virus is an essential step for identifying key targets for treatments and vaccines. It also tells the story of origin and its relation to other viruses. This approach provides precision genomic data, which will be essential for outbreak investigation. Funds for SERV allow Sunnybrook scientists to turn around whole genome viral sequences at the site of care: Sunnybrook.
- Vaccines and therapeutics: Our ability to identify and isolate the virus that causes COVID-19, based on samples from infected patients, allows us to collaborate on antiviral research and conduct our own vaccine and transmission work. With SERV, Sunnybrook will share our findings about the virus within the Canadian research and diagnostic community, thereby driving further innovative solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Transmission prevention: As part of a World Health Organization’s effort to evaluate risk to health-care workers of providing certain support measures, such as high-flow oxygen use, Sunnybrook is building a simulation space for live virus experiments using mannequins with funds for SERV. This is important because protecting care providers is key to preventing the spread of the virus within hospitals.
About Lawrence Steinman
Steinman is Professor of Neurology, Neurological Sciences and Pediatrics at Stanford University and Chair of the Stanford Program in Immunology from 2001 to 2011. His research focuses on antigen specific tolerance in autoimmune disease and in gene therapy for degenerative neurologic diseases. He has elucidated what provokes relapses and remissions in multiple sclerosis (MS). He is taking forward a pivotal clinical trial with antigen specific tolerization therapy for type 1 diabetes. He serves as attending neurologist at Stanford’s Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. Steinman is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.
Steinman was senior author on the 1992 Nature article that led to the drug Tysabri, approved for MS and Crohn’s disease. Tysabri has been taken by over 200,000 individuals with MS.
Dr. Steinman graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude in Physics. His MD is from Harvard Medical School. He was a post-doctoral fellow in chemical immunology fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science. After neurology residency he remained on the faculty in 1980. He has received numerous honors, including the John M. Dystel Prize in 2004, the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the NINDS twice, the Charcot Prize in MS research, and the Cerami Prize in Translational Medicine. Steinman is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Steinman co-founded several biotech companies, including Neurocrine, Atreca, 180 Therapeutics, and Tolerion. He was a Director of Centocor from 1988 until its sale to Johnson and Johnson.
About Mike McCarthy
Mike is widely recognized across Canada as a stellar health care advocate and system expert. As a volunteer Vice-President of the Canadian Hemophilia Society, Mike was the national spokesperson for Canadians infected by blood tainted with Hepatitis C. His tireless efforts resulted in a landmark $2 billion settlement with the federal government in 2006, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award presented by the Governor General of Canada.
Presently Mike is a Principal at Grosso McCarthy and provides counsel to clients in both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors. He helps clients navigate provincial, federal and international governments – at the levels of the civil service and elected officials. Mike has also been on the front lines of health care, working for 18 years as a psychiatric nurse.
As a principal with Grosso McCarthy, Mike builds on more than 14 years of experience with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and 24 years in health policy and delivery. He was appointed Senior Policy Advisor to the Progressive Conservative Minister of Health of Ontario, advising on physician, nursing and primary care, public health, laboratories, OHIP, organ transplant, HIV and blood issues.
In 2003, he provided strategic support and counsel to the government of Ontario during the SARS outbreak.
QuestCap is an investment company that seeks to enhance shareholder value over the long term by opportunistically making various investments that may include, without limitation, the acquisition of equity, debt or other securities of publicly traded or private companies or other entities, financing in exchange for pre-determined royalties or distributions and the acquisition of all or part of one or more businesses, portfolios or other assets.
For additional information, please contact:
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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Information
This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the investment with SERV; the grant of options; and Sunnybrook and the appointment of advisory board members. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company, as the case may be, to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
NEITHER THE CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER HAS REVIEWED OR ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE.