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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

  • What are the steps to initiate a project?​

    Contact us! We will reach out to you if we have questions and we will quickly evaluate the feasibility of a drug discovery project for your disease. We are usually able to provide an answer within a week. Visit our patient partners page for more information. 

  • What is venture philanthropy?​

    We believe that patients who want to get involved in research by raising funds deserve to know where their money is going, how it is used and how to recoup on this investment in the event of a successful trial. After all, they are the one initiating the project and investing in this venture!

    So what’s hidden? Nothing. We want to work with patients as partners. They could be individuals, associations, foundations, for-profit or non-for-profit entities… Since you participate financially in the drug discovery project, you own a part of it! The percentage owned by the patient partner is proportional to the amount of money invested. Whatever this amount, you are 100% involved emotionally in your project!

  • How much does a project cost?​

    Research is pricy! And so are drug discovery projects! However, we try to minimize the financial risk by segmenting the costs with multiple milestones. In the first phase, we typically generate, characterize, then perform the initial drug screening on worms. This process usually costs between $120,000 and $150,000 CAD. If we get any promising data from this phase, we will budget the next steps that are highly variable for each project. Our patient partners help fund the up front costs of a project, and in return they own a percentage of the upside of any commercial deal that results from their successful clinical trial. 

  • How can I financially support a project?​

    We are passionate about discovering new treatments for rare genetic diseases, and we understand that not all patients will be able to fully fund their drug discovery project. We have a broad network of resources that can support you when trying to raise funds for your project. Contact us to learn more.

    Here are some informative resources from Global Genes: Finding a Fundraising StrategyTips for FundraisingAdvocate for your causeBecoming and Empowered patient


  • Can Modelis run projects on any disease?​

    There are two main limitations for Modelis to be able to conduct a drug discovery project. The cause of the disease has to be genetic and the causative gene must be present in the worm’s and fish’s genomes. This is the case for 80% of the human genes known to be causing diseases. Contact us directly to learn more. There are two main limitations for Modelis to be able to conduct a drug discovery project:

  • Can Modelis help me with an undiagnosed disease?​

    We can support and assist you in your genetic diagnosis journey. In collaboration with genetic sequencing companies and your healthcare professionals, we can look for a pathogenic mutation in your genome. If you are not currently backed up by a doctor, we can also connect you with medical professionals.

    Click here to better understand genetic diagnosis.

  • Are some diseases more important than others?​

    We do not filter on a specific prevalence whatsoever. If we can do it, we will do it!


  • Why is Modelis’ approach different than other drug discovery projects?​

    Modelis is rapid and unbiased, meaning we test every molecule we can. We work with living organisms (in vivo), not just cells in a dish. Lastly, we screen thousands of molecules in living organisms, in just a few months (high throughput). 

    The classical approach usually relies on a specific mechanism (a target) that we suspect to be causing the disease. This approach then looks for specific molecules that would affect this specific mechanism… In contrary, our approach relies on a phenotype-based screening, meaning that we are looking for any molecules that ameliorates the symptoms of our animal models, independently of its potential role in a particular mechanism…


  • Once Modelis has identified a treatment, what’s next?

    After identifying a promising molecule in our animal models, our main priority is to initiate a clinical trial to validate its effect in humans. Depending of the prevalence of the disease, we can initiate a very small (n-of-1) clinical trial or recruit patients more broadly.

    Modelis’ has established partnerships with renowned clinicians with an extensive expertise in clinical trial design and development. If we confirm the therapeutic effect of the molecule, we establish a legal strategy to protect our discovery so we can approach larger biotech or pharmaceutical companies to sell them the rights to commercialize the treatment.

    Our patient partners are involved all along this process and are a driving force in the clinical development. Our patient partners own part of the intellectual property of their treatment, which is why, they are also rewarded financially in the event of a commercial deal.

  • How long does a project take to find a treatment?​

    Previously, we have brought human clinical trials within 3 years. However, timing really depends of the project itself. We need to answer questions such as, which animal models should be used for your particular project? Are the animal models already available? Is there specific challenges associated with the project? We are usually able to complete the first phase (screening on worms) within 6 months. From there, it may require 12 more months to validate them in fish and 18 more months to confirm the results in mammals. Altogether, we believe that we can bring one lead molecule to enter clinical trial in less than 3 years.

    Click here to learn more about our previous projects.

  • Does every project result in a treatment?​

    Although we do our best to de-risk the approach and maximize the chances of identifying a positive lead molecule, we cannot guarantee it. At Modelis, we place the quality of our science above all else, and sometimes the biology just doesn’t work.