TELUS’ contribution helps accelerate Canada’s leadership opportunity to pilot innovative COVID-19 research

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TELUS today announced a $500,000 donation to the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC), Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and University of British Columbia (UBC) Hospital Foundation to assist in the search for therapeutic antiviral treatments for COVID-19. Led by Professor Art Cherkasov, VPC and UBC scientists have joined forces with experts around the world including collaborations with Cambridge in the UK, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, University of North Carolina Pharma Science, and Enamine, the biggest small molecule supplier in the world, in the Ukraine. This Vancouver-led team brings together some of the best talent in the world in medicinal chemistry and virology.

‘‘We are encouraged by the incredible expertise of the researchers that make up this global consortium as they rapidly search for COVID-19 treatments. As a world leader in social capitalism, it is our hope that this inaugural TELUS donation to a leading institution at the forefront of healthcare research will positively impact the lives of Canadians and of others internationally,’’ said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO. ‘‘As TELUS actively helps customers and citizens to support better health outcomes during this unprecedented time, we are also providing funding to bolster public healthcare capacity, enabling virtual healthcare to reduce risk of exposure, repurposing our mobile health clinics to support COVID-19 testing, and sourcing medical supplies and technology for healthcare workers.”

“TELUS’ generous support will fast track the ability to screen this shortlist and provide BC and global colleagues an enormous push towards developing an antiviral small molecule therapeutic for COVID-19 as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Larry Goldenberg, Director of Development at VPC and UBC, Professor of Urologic Sciences, and recipient of the Order of British Columbia, and Member of the Order of Canada. “Funding will help to expand our resources including scientists, research assistants, reagents, equipment and operational costs. We encourage more organizations to help fund this vital research.”

Research teams around the world are seeking development of vaccines, antibodies or protease inhibitors. The VPC’s cutting-edge platforms, highly developed for precision cancer drug discovery, have been rapidly repurposed to address today’s health crisis by shaving significant time off the process of finding a cure for COVID-19. VPC, with its expertise, facilities and capabilities in cutting edge Artificial Intelligence (AI), is poised to make a remarkable difference in the global race for an anti-protease treatment for COVID-19. Its unique AI system allowed for accelerated computerized screening of 1.3 billion chemicals to create a shortlist of 100 potential therapeutic compounds in one week, as opposed to conventional methods that could take up to three years.

Organizations interested in funding this critical research can learn more by visiting https://vghfoundation.ca/COVID-19-response/. To learn more about the research visit www.prostatecentre.com.

For the latest information about TELUS’ support during the crisis, visit telus.com/covid19.

The Editor

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