About D2R Initiative

Advances in genome (DNA) and transcriptome (RNA) and other “omics” technologies have identified the genetic drivers of many human diseases. Yet developing targeted therapeutic interventions, or "precision medicines" through traditional drug development has proven often difficult and costly. RNA therapies have emerged as powerful alternatives that have the potential to target any diseases, including those with seemingly “undruggable” targets, hence improving the health and quality of life for many.

The D2R Initiative aims to rapidly expand the therapeutic arsenal for precision medicine by fulfilling the potential of genomic discovery and capitalizing on the flexibility of RNA therapies to benefit all, including marginalized and medically underserved groups.


To deliver genomic-based RNA therapies to benefit the health of different populations who are affected by infectious, rare and neglected diseases, or common chronic diseases such as cancer.


To develop an internationally leading initiative in the discovery and development of genome-guided, RNA-based precision medicines, associated computational tools, along with a clinical accelerator to ensure application of its discoveries for all Canadians and for the world.

Strategic objectives

Enable discovery

The D2R Initiative will overcome scientific and technical obstacles to realize the potential of genome-guided precision medicine and RNA therapies.

Make an impact

The D2R Initiative is designed to rapidly expand the therapeutic arsenal for precision medicine. To realize the potential of genomic discovery and capitalize on the flexibility of RNA therapeutics, D2R will engage an interdisciplinary research strategy.

Be inclusive

D2R promises to improve knowledge and advance health outcomes for diverse populations globally. Objectives include to engage and consult with patient associations, Indigenous communities, and other under-represented groups to guide research and policy recommendations. To successfully implement and deploy these medicines, particularly for underserved populations, including Canada's Indigenous communities, and vulnerable groups such as the elderly, D2R will create and analyze diverse socio-genomic datasets, and investigate and address ethical, legal, and societal issues linked to RNA therapeutics. D2R will address societal and policy questions to ensure that the diversity of our populations and health needs are considered.

Engage partners

D2R will be a hub for world-leading “next-generation” drug development in Canada, bringing together pharma and biotech to accelerate regulatory approval of life-saving drugs. The initiative’s scope and Canada’s pandemic preparedness will be dramatically advanced through strong international links with leading biomedical research institutions in Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia.


Here is a look at McGill’s game-changing research and the people behind the science.

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