Canada-wide call for research proposals to accelerate biotherapies for cancer patients

Media release, Projects


To help position Canada as a leader in the global challenge to fight cancer, BioCanRx will use a rolling, open call to invest in research projects that will develop the most promising cancer biotherapies — therapies that are cost-effective, less toxic and, most importantly, potentially curative.


“We are very eager to see what the Canadian research community is doing to develop innovative, collaborative and multi-disciplinary research programs to advance cancer biotherapies from the laboratory setting into early phase clinical trials,” said Dr. John Bell, Scientific Director of BioCanRx.


Through late-stage preclinical and translational research from leading experts across Canada, BioCanRx aims to improve outcomes for cancer patients worldwide and reduce the global burden of cancer.


BioCanRx’s rolling, open call for proposals builds on past and ongoing investments in the area of cancer biotherapeutics – including oncolytic viruses, adoptive cell therapy and therapeutic antibodies. BioCanRx’s programs will strengthen Canada’s ability to develop this emerging and promising area of cancer research.


As a rolling call, BioCanRx wants to hear from eligible researchers whenever they are ready to take their research to the next stage.


As an open call, any researcher can apply who works at a Canadian institution eligible to receive funds from the three federal granting agencies: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).




  • The flagship Clinical Trials Program supports the clinical evaluation in Canada of innovative biotherapeutic products and platforms.
  • The Enabling Studies Program supports manufacturing and process development, GLP assay development and studies required to position biotherapeutic products or platforms for their translation to clinical testing.
  • The Catalyst Program provides short-term support for collaborative projects that have clear deliverables and will either result in an application to other BioCanRx programs, or will generate tools or methodologies that may be used by numerous BioCanRx members.
  • The Clinical, Social and Economic Impact Program provides support for the implementation or application of research methodologies, tools or assets to identify gaps and advance solutions in the adoption of BioCanRx cancer biotherapeutics (and companion technologies) by receptors, including cancer patients, health-care delivery systems, commercial partners and health-care markets.


Research projects funded by BioCanRx are evaluated through a rigorous peer review process conducted by our Research Management Committee, which includes international academics and Canadian industry experts. Research projects will be selected based on their scientific excellence and their alignment with the network’s collaborative mission.


“Canada has punched above its weight when it comes to innovations in cancer biotherapies,” added Dr. Bell, who is also a Senior Scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at uOttawa. “BioCanRx’s investments are designed to accelerate the arrival in the clinic of these breakthrough discoveries, including new approaches for hard-to-treat cancers.”


The first deadline for this call is March 29, 2016 (11:59 p.m. ET). For full details of the opportunity, please see BioCanRx’s Apply for funding page.


Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Kelley Parato to discuss opportunities and receive guidance in the development of their application to the research programs




  • BioCanRx, short for Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment, is a Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) led by Dr. John Bell. BioCanRx is the only NCE dedicated to cancer research and is accelerating the development of biologically based cancer treatments in Canada and their entry into clinical trials.
  • In BioCanRx’s inaugural call, BioCanRx awarded $6.3M in funding to 14 Canadian research projects.
  • This call for proposals is the next round of funding for BioCanRx and is the first time that the call has been open to the Canada-wide research community.



BioCanRx – Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment


BioCanRx is a national network working to accelerate Canada’s most promising biologically based cancer treatments into clinical trials. These biotherapies are designed to trigger our immune system in a way that attacks just the cancer and leaves our healthy cells unharmed, all without the toxic effects of standard chemotherapy and radiation. BioCanRx is provided funding from the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence, and support from industry, the provinces and many national charities. For more information, please visit: