This blog is dedicated to Canada's participation at BIO2014 in San Diego. In the coming month this blog will feature expert life science guest bloggers covering topics including investment, mentoring advice, maximizing your opportunities at BIO2014 with the Trade Commissioner Service, trends and technologies and spotlights on what Canadian stakeholders will be doing at BIO including events and activities.
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Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery
District, Toronto, Canada
The key ingredients for sustaining a
thriving life sciences innovation ecosystem are well known. There has to be a
balance between the global market demand for innovative products, services &
solutions, and the supply of the right knowledge, talent & technologies to
address the market’s unmet needs.
Canada has built a competitive
advantage on several vital supply-side elements of this ecosystem. We have a
highly educated population in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering,
Mathematics) disciplines, globally competitive academic institutions across all
life sciences disciplines, and a single-payer healthcare delivery system with
robust health data repositories.
However, when it comes to seamlessly
linking these supply-side assets to demand-side markets, and cultivating a
robust local health industrial complex, Canada has lagged behind peer
That is, until now…
Long-term thinking coupled with audacious
bets by both national and regional players (industry and government) are now
coming together to make Canada a global address for life sciences innovation.
Here are a few examples of the ways in
which Canada is rebalancing its life sciences innovation ecosystem and
maximizing value for the global corporate and investment community:
•Policies and new public-private
partnerships created to overcome the second major “valley of death"
bottleneck and accelerate the adoption of technologies into health systems, at
scale. Several new initiatives that align Canada’s single-payer health systems
with regional innovation agendas are underway. For example, new strategic
health innovation procurement policies in Alberta, and the world first MaRS
EXCITE pre-market technology assessment program in Ontario.
With these policies, investments and
initiatives now in place, a coherent health innovation system – from discovery
to validation to adoption – is taking shape. And the world is paying attention.
Global life sciences companies and venture capital investors are increasingly
finding Canada to be an attractive destination for breakthrough
R&D collaborations and for exploring new partnership models across the full
continuum of innovation.
Canada is now well positioned as a global
hub for innovators in the life sciences. We have significant capacity in the
traditional domains of pharmaceuticals, devices and digital health
technologies. And we can help innovative companies accelerate the shift in
technology development from a centralized, “bricks and mortar” R&D engine
to a variable R&D model, unlocking the true value of the technologies these
companies bring to market by converting them into "health solutions
providers" capable of partnering with health systems.
Canada has laid the foundation for a
vibrant life sciences innovation ecosystem that can help health systems around
the world address their most pressing needs for maintaining the health of
individuals and populations in their markets. Now, we invite members of the
global pharmaceutical, medical device and health IT communities to partner with
us in developing the next frontiers of innovation.