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UCB Canada supports efforts to identify personalized treatment approach for drug-resistant epilepsy


Genome Canada and Génome Québec are pleased to announce UCB Canada Inc.’s contribution to a four-year study aimed at developing a personalized medicine approach to the early diagnosis of various types of epilepsy. The $10.8 million project, “Personalized medicine in the treatment of epilepsy”, forms the Canadian Epilepsy Network (CENet) and is led by Dr. Patrick Cossette at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre* (CRCHUM), as well as co-leaders, Dr. Jacques Michaud, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center in Montreal, and Dr. Berge Minassian, The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Funded primarily by Genome Canada and Génome Québec, the research seeks to identify genetic changes that not only predispose people to epilepsy but also, and more specifically, the changes that predict the response to various anti-epileptic drugs. Through a $200,000 grant, UCB’s partnership will help researchers determine the genetic sequence of all genes in individuals living with epilepsy who have different ranges of response to anti-epileptic drugs.

“On behalf of CENet, I would like to thank UCB Canada for their generous contribution to this important project,” said Dr. Cossette. “UCB’s funding will help CENet reach our ultimate goal: to foster the development of rational and tailored guidelines for personalized treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy.”

Although there are over 20 different anti-epileptic drugs available today, these drugs are ineffective in about one third of patients. Epilepsy is particularly problematic in children since uncontrolled seizures in the developing brain largely contribute to cognitive decline. Managing epilepsy associated with intellectual disability is especially challenging since these symptoms are associated with a high rate of resistance to anti-epileptic drugs.i

“UCB recognizes the important research that Dr. Cossette’s team is undertaking to help diagnose and treat drug-resistant epilepsy,” said Hervé Lilliu, General Manager, UCB Canada Inc. “We are hopeful that our contribution to this project will help the team reach their goal. The development of personalized diagnostics and treatment will constitute a major advance in preventing brain damage and cognitive impairment in individuals living with epilepsy.”

“The discoveries made over the course of this project will help develop new diagnostic assays and clinical guidelines to help neurologists and general practitioners determine which of their patients would benefit most from alternative therapies, such as surgery or a ketogenic diet,” said Marc LePage, President and CEO of Génome Québec.

“Genome Canada thanks UCB Canada Inc. for their important contribution to this Canadian multi-centre project. In addition to easing the considerable human cost of drug-resistant epilepsy, the development of these diagnostic and treatment guidelines could represent a healthcare savings of nearly $12 million annually in Canada,” said Pierre Meulien, President and CEO of Genome Canada.

About Epilepsy

A disorder of the central nervous system, specifically the brain, epilepsy is the tendency to have recurrent seizures. One in every 100 Canadians has active epilepsy, and the chance of acquiring it at some time during life is between two and four per cent. While most often beginning either in childhood or late in life, anyone can develop epilepsy at any time.ii Each seizure increases the risk of brain damage, especially in childhood.i

About Genome Canada

Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization that invests in genomics research to generate economic and social benefits for Canadians. Genome Canada builds bridges between government, academia and industry to forge a genomics-based, innovation-driven enterprise focused on key life science sectors. We develop these partnerships to invest in and manage large-scale research and translate discoveries into commercial opportunities, new technologies, applications and solutions. For more information,

About Génome Québec

Since May 2000, Génome Québec has been the driving force behind the development of genomics in Québec. By supporting nearly 80 projects and 800 researchers and managing the operations of the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre, Génome Québec is helping to accelerate the discovery of new applications for genomics in strategic areas, such as human health, forestry and the environment. The funds invested by Génome Québec are provided by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, the Government of Canada, through Genome Canada, and private partners. For more information, visit


The CRCHUM improves the health of adults through a high-quality academic research continuum which, by improving our understanding of etiological and pathogenic mechanisms, fosters the development, implementation and assessment of new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The CRCHUM provides a training environment to ensure the development of new generations of researchers committed to research excellence.

About UCB Canada Inc.

Inspired by patients and driven by science, UCB Canada Inc. is a patient-centric biopharmaceutical leader focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe auto-immune and central nervous system diseases. For more information, please consult

*The University of Montreal Hospital and the University of Montreal are known officially as Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal and Université de Montréal, respectively.


For more information, please contact:

Melissa Lee

Cohn & Wolfe, 647-259-3266

Robert Tam

UCB Canada Inc., 905-287-5128


Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal

ii Canadian Epilepsy Alliance. Epilepsy Frequently Asked Questions. Explaining Epilepsy.

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