New Fund to support Sask's health technologies

Posted on February 02, 2015

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A consortium of Saskatchewan’s leading innovation organizations have come together with The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre, to establish a new $2 million CDRD-Saskatchewan Innovation Fund. The fund will support and accelerate the commercialization of cutting-edge early-stage health technologies stemming from the province’s top research institutions.

The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, Innovation Saskatchewan, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre, and Ag-West Bio Inc. have collectively committed $1 million to be further leveraged with an additional $1 million through CDRD. These resources will be dedicated to de-risking and developing innovative Saskatchewan-based research to help attract the additional investment required for commercialization. This partnership thereby creates a clear and well-supported pathway to translate these discoveries into new therapeutic products for patients while also maximizing the return on government’s investment in basic health research from both an economic and societal perspective.

President and CEO of CDRD, Karimah Es Sabar commented, “Basic research is the lifeblood of Canada’s health sciences sector, but we need unique new models to advance that research to a commercial stage – models where stakeholders come together to share risk and reward. Strong partnerships between the investigators conducting the breakthrough research, translational centres such as CDRD, industry, foundations and government will enable provinces such as Saskatchewan, as well as Canada as a whole, to be not only the generators of world-class health research that they are today, but leaders in translating that research into world-class innovation.”

“This a wonderful opportunity for the province of Saskatchewan to leverage its diverse research activities with support from CDRD to help bring its promising health technologies closer to the clinic,” states Professor Kishor Wasan, Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition who spearheaded and now leads the Saskatchewan partnership group.

Ag-West Bio President and CEO Wilf Keller added, “Ag-West Bio, Saskatchewan’s bioscience industry association, works with innovators and investors to help bring research to market, for the benefit of Saskatchewan, Canada, and beyond. Translating this innovative research to market, and eventually to societal beneficiaries requires equally innovative partnerships, from research through to commercialization. Therefore we are delighted to be a participant in this new partnership.”

“Saskatchewan is home to a world-class cluster of institutions, organizations and researchers who are helping to grow our knowledge-based economy,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Jeremy Harrison said. “The Government of Saskatchewan, through Innovation Saskatchewan, is very pleased to lend its support to this new fund. Our homegrown health technologies are groundbreaking and have far-reaching benefits for the people of this province and around the world, and we need to commercialize this expertise to make it marketable.”

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