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Dr. Marianne Sadar, PhD

Distinguished Scientist, Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer

Phone 604-675-8000
Fax 604-675-8178


Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia

Professional Profile

Dr. Sadar has served in leadership roles internationally and was the first Canadian to serve as Chair of the USA Army’s Department of Defence’s Programmatic Panel for Prostate Cancer Research. She was President of the Society of Basic Urologic Research (USA) and a board member of education, research, and scientific advisory committees and boards for American and Canadian non-profit societies. Of note, Dr. Sadar was appointed to the Board of Trustees for Canada’s National Museum of Science and Technology by the Minister of Heritage. She has served on over 50 grant panels including five years on the NIH study session for Drug Discovery & Molecular Pharmacology. Her research has gained considerable media attention over the years with many interviews on radio, newspapers, television, and on the internet. Her research has also received awards such as an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Letters, honoris causa), the USA SWIU/SBUR Award for Excellence in Urologic Research, Simon Fraser University’s Outstanding Alumni Award for Academic Achievements, and the Terry Fox Young Investigator Award. Dr. Sadar is an expert witness for Astellas, Pfizer, and University of California on patents covering Xtandi®, used for the treatment of prostate cancer in the USA with global sales greater than $3.5 billion per year. 

Research Projects

Dr. Sadar’s research accomplishments and experience over 22 years is essentially entirely focused on the development of therapeutics for prostate cancer. In 1999, Dr. Sadar discovered a novel drug target for prostate cancer. She then partnered with a chemist, Dr. Andersen, to screen drugs against this target, and discovered a clinical candidate of this drug. Dr. Sadar Founded a biotech company in 2009, called ESSA Pharma Inc,  to develop the drug for testing in clinical trials. This was successful and First-in-human clinical trials completed at 4 sites in USA and 1 site in Canada Clinical/ Identifier: NCT02606123. Only one in a thousand drugs that show promise in laboratory studies and animal models ever reaches human testing. Dr. Sadar’s drug is the first drug in clinical trials that directly binds to an intrinsically disordered protein region and a first in class drug to the N-terminus of the androgen receptor. The work is precedent in the entire field of steroid hormone receptors, with no other small molecule inhibitor reported to bind to the N-terminus of any other steroid hormone receptor (Andersen et al Cancer Cell 2010; Myung et al JCI 2013). Validation of the novelty of her drug was provided by the USAN council and her drug was given a new stem class “-aniten” and the generic name “ralaniten”. In 2016, Dr. Sadar developed the first imaging agent to detect androgen receptor and its active splice variants in prostate cancer (Imamura et al JCI Insight 2016).