Innovative partnership aims to offer less invasive cancer treatment for New Brunswick patients 

Photo, from left: Damon Goodwin, CEO of Research NB; Brigitte Nolet, President and CEO of Roche Canada; Bruce Fitch, New Brunswick Minister of Health, and Margaret Melanson, President and CEO of Horizon Health Network, are shown following at BIO 2024 in San Diego, California.

(SAN DIEGO, CA) – Horizon Health Network (Horizon), through an innovative partnership with Roche Canada, the New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program, the Government of New Brunswick and ResearchNB, and with the support of the Vitalité Health Network, is poised to deliver to patients in the province a cancer treatment formulation with the potential to be more accessible and less invasive.

The initiative, which originated with a research study led by Horizon medical oncologists Dr. Mahmoud Abdelsalam, Dr. Luisa Galvis and Dr. James Michael was formally announced by the New Brunswick delegation during the annual BIO International Convention taking place in San Diego, California.

Through this innovative research initiative, patients in New Brunswick who have been diagnosed with lung cancer will have the opportunity to receive a new, Health Canada authorized subcutaneous cancer immunotherapy formulation administered in their place of residence, delivered through a simple injection.

“Through our commitment to harnessing innovative partnerships and cutting-edge research, Horizon Health Network is dedicated to delivering better access and care for patients,” said Jennifer Sheils, Horizon’s VP Strategy, Transformation and Chief Innovation Officer. “I’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partners and lead investigators in this ground-breaking study for their invaluable collaboration, which has made this exciting initiative possible.”

Up until now, patients were required to travel to a hospital to receive treatment via an IV infusion formulation, which can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, compared to approximately 7 minutes through subcutaneous injection.

By bringing this newer formulation – which will be administered by nurses with the New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program (EMP) – directly to patients, this study hopes to demonstrate an improved patient experience, by eliminating the need for travel, while potentially improving the patient experience through a far less invasive process.

“We are very pleased to work with our partners at Horizon to help New Brunswickers receive important treatment in the comfort of their homes,” says Ginette Pellerin, Vice-President of the Extra-Mural Program. “Our health care professionals at the Extra-Mural

Program take great pride in caring for our patients, and this partnership is another innovative way to expand and evolve the care we provide.”

Some of the key benefits of subcutaneous formulations to the patient, compared to      traditional IV formulations can include:

  • Reduced treatment time, helping patients to spend less time receiving their treatment.
  • Potentially less discomfort, pain and irritation during treatment.
  • Patient-tailored care, enabling treatment both in and out of hospital, to best meet the patient’s needs.    

This approach to care delivery may also free up valuable time and resources for health care system operations, by relieving strain on infusion centres and enabling more patients to be treated more quickly, while also having a positive impact on the hospital workflow, helping health services maximize value and reducing overall costs per patient. Through this innovative research framework, our expectation is to demonstrate these benefits for patients, providers, and the healthcare system in New Brunswick.

“We would like to commend Horizon Health and all partners for their important demonstration of what it means to be a learning health system. This project not only allows us to learn and prepare for future innovative treatment formulations, including subcutaneous options, but also looks to make accessing and receiving cancer treatment easier for patients in need,” said Brigitte Nolet, President and CEO of Roche Canada Pharma. “By understanding the impacts and potential benefits of this new model of care delivery on patients, caregivers, providers, and the healthcare system in New Brunswick, we can all benefit from their leadership and commitment to driving innovation in Canadian health care.”

Horizon would like to recognize the critical role of our partners at ResearchNB for identifying exciting opportunities such as this and for serving as a connector between industry and health care organizations like Horizon to help drive innovative solutions forward.

“Research powers discovery,” said ResearchNB chief executive officer Damon Goodwin. “It can change lives and strengthen our health care system. Our organization is pleased to champion intentional research projects such as this one that improves access to care, fosters a more efficient use of healthcare resources and reduces travel for New Brunswick patients.”

Horizon promotes a culture where research and innovation can flourish. Horizon Research Services carries out approximately 250 clinical trials for various treatments and solutions annually, in addition to roughly 300 investigator-led studies.

About Horizon Health Network

Horizon Health Network is the largest regional health authority – and one of the largest employers – in New Brunswick, and the second-largest health authority in Atlantic Canada. Our leadership and health care providers are experts in diverse areas of health and community services and provide services to a half a million people. Horizon has an annual budget of approximately $1.4 billion and has more than 14,000 employees, 1,242 physicians and many volunteers, as well as 17 foundations and 16 auxiliaries and alumnae organizations.

About Roche Canada

At Roche, patients and science are at the heart of everything we do. Our passion for science and our commitment to relentlessly pursuing the impossible for patients have made us one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, in vitro diagnostics, and diabetes care management companies.

With our combined strength in diagnostics and pharmaceuticals, we’re driving personalized healthcare forward, while ensuring we deliver meaningful benefits for patients and a sustainable healthcare system. Because we’re committed to making quality healthcare accessible to everyone.

And we’re adding our expertise in new areas, such as artificial intelligence, real world data collection and analysis and collaborating with many different sectors and industries.

Having the courage to reinvent ourselves and question the status quo is what patients and the healthcare system expect from Roche—and our commitment is as strong today as it was on the first day of our Canadian journey in 1931. Today, Roche Canada employs more than 1,800 people across the country through its Pharmaceuticals division in Mississauga, Ontario, as well as its Diagnostics and Diabetes Care divisions in Laval, Quebec.

For more information, please visit or follow Roche Canada on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @RocheCanada.

About ResearchNB

ResearchNB is the province’s research and innovation enabler. With offices in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton, it provides New Brunswick’s research sector with critical leadership and support including advocacy, initial funding, connections to potential partners, and the translation of science into economic opportunities. Projects developed in partnership with ResearchNB help New Brunswickers to thrive through research that leads to new, innovative business practices and products.

About New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program

The New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program (EMP) delivers primary health care services to New Brunswickers of all ages in their homes and communities. EMP, known by many as the “hospital without walls”, includes a team of over 850 professionals who provide quality home health care services to eligible residents when their needs can be met safely in the community. EMP operates on a client and family centered model with a focus on building and maintaining partnerships with clients and their families, physicians, agencies, departments and other service providers to best meet patient needs.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid

Horizon Media Relations


Amy Haddlesey
Strategic Communications, Roche Canada

Patti Ryan

Chief Operating Officer, ResearchNB