Biotechnology Focus’ top 10 stories of 2017

by • December 21, 2017 • Feature Slider, Feature-Home, Featured-Slides-HomeComments Off on Biotechnology Focus’ top 10 stories of 2017341

Taking a moment to look back at the last year and reflect upon some of the innovative work that has impacted the life science community within Canada, Biotechnology Focus has compiled the top 10 stories that hit headlines this year.

1) WHAT IS BLUEROCK WORKING ON? By Nestor Arellano

Described as the country’s second-largest biotech underwriting, the US$225-million deal between Versant Ventures and Bayer to create BlueRock Therapeutics could be taken as a signal that Canada’s regenerative medicine space is ready for the big time.

For the full story, follow the link: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/what-is-bluerock-working-on/

2) SPOTLIGHT: ONTARIO’S REGENERATIVE MEDICINE PIPELINE By Lisa Willemse

As the developmental pipeline for cell-based therapies rapidly accelerates worldwide, Ontario-based researchers continue to push the envelope with home-grown clinical trials.

Of the $3.6 million in research funding awarded in May 2017 by the Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) and supported through funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science, $3 million went to five large OIRM Disease Team grants. These projects focus on delivering new curative therapies for conditions that drive large costs to the healthcare system, as well as forging global opportunities for economic development based on stem cell based therapies.

For the full story, follow the link: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/spotlight-ontarios-regenerative-medicine-pipeline/

3) THE BIG GUYS ARE HERE TO STAY By Dr. Raphael Hofstein

Last year alone, Toronto welcomed J&J as it launched JLABS outside the United States for the first time, and Celgene established a strong strategic presence, also in Toronto. Add to it Bayer’s recent decision to include Ontario’s Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine and University Health Network as partners in their strategic commitment to cell-based therapy (via a new company called BlueRock) and EVOTEC’s establishment of a Canadian presence via a new partnership with MaRS Innovation, and we have the scent of some serious international clustering dynamics in the air.

For the full story, follow the link: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/the-big-guys-are-here-to-stay/

4) CCRM HOSTS BRM 2017, PROMOTES INNOVATION IN REGENERATIVE MEDICINE By Nestor Arellano

The Business of Regenerative Medicine (BRM 2017) is celebrating its 10th anniversary and being hosted, this year, in Toronto. BRM 2017 kicks-off on July 17 at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Hosted by the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, a Toronto-based leader in developing and commercializing cell and gene therapies and regenerative medicine technologies, and the Rotman School, the three-day interactive event will generate discussions on the key issues on the business side of regenerative medicine industry.

For the full story: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/ccrm-hosts-brm-2017-promotes-innovation-in-regenerative-medicine/

5) BEYOND PILL HILL By Contributed Article

The future of life sciences is bright in Mississauga, Ontario. One of the foremost objectives of Mississauga’s recently-crafted economic development strategy is to “build a cohesive life sciences community by sustaining an ongoing dialogue among leaders in academia, industry, and healthcare.” The city’s life sciences sector, once recognized mainly as only a pharma hub, has grown over the past several decades to be the second largest life sciences cluster in Canada.City leaders recognize the sector’s value to the economy and community, as well as the growth potential, and are taking the right steps to ensure that Mississauga becomes not only a national life sciences powerhouse but a global leader.

Full story: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/beyond-pill-hill/

6) OUTSOURCING AND TECH TRANSFER IN CANADA’S BIOTECH ECOSYSTEM By National Research Council of Canada

It’s evident that outsourcing has become a leading mode of drug development for both large pharma and biotechs: in 2014, 21 per cent of global R&D spending was outsourced, and the trend is expected to grow to 32 per cent by 2019.1 In Canada, drug development is led by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) focused on biologics for oncology and central nervous system diseases.2 Our SME developers leverage many types of organizations to help drive innovation, and each player fulfills a necessary and unique role in advancing new biologics toward patients.

Full story: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/outsourcing-and-tech-transfer-in-canadas-biotech-ecosystem/

7) BUILDING A PAN-CANADIAN MOLECULAR REGISTRY: A NETWORK FOR PERSONALIZED CANCER CARE By Gerald Batist, Richard Fajzel, Valerie Higenell

The past 20 years have brought major advances in understanding the molecular pathways underlying cancer, and new recognition that each cancer type represents a collection of molecularly diverse diseases. Each patient’s cancer bears a unique pattern of molecular alterations, which can be analyzed to help develop a treatment strategy. Increasingly, clinicians can tailor therapy to the molecular profile of a patient, a personalized approach which increases the likelihood of response while sparing patients the expense and toxicity of therapies unlikely to be effective. The emergence of personalized medicine has brought a paradigm shift to both cancer care and drug development: identifying biomarkers which predict drug response has become a research priority for industry, with personalized therapies representing almost a quarter of all new molecular entities approved by FDA in each of the past three years.

Full story: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/building-a-pan-canadian-molecular-registry-a-network-for-personalized-cancer-care/

8) CANADIAN FEDERAL BUDGET 2017 – RESEARCH & INNOVATION INVESTMENT SUMMARY By Robert Merson

The federal Liberals have presented their second budget since coming to power, and what was originally touted as being the “Innovation Budget” has been downplayed in recent months.Innovation however remained a key theme, but whether or not it has delivered on its innovation mandate is still up for debate. Many of the items presented were already introduced in the 2016 budget, but there was some additional detail provided on the previously announced $800 million – now revised to $950 million for innovation networks and clusters, and there are a few additional nuggets of interest for the innovation economy.

Full story: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/canadian-federal-budget-2017-research-innovation-investment-summary/

9) CAN CANNABIS BE POTENTIAL SUBSTITUTION FOR OPIOIDS? By Chirag Dave, Jason Moreau, Sabrina Ramkellawan

Canada is in the midst of an opioid addiction crisis, in part created from the good intentions of our modern-day healthcare system.  Approximately 20 per cent of Canadians experience chronic pain, and healthcare providers are tasked with providing pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to manage this disease.

Full story: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/can-cannabis-be-potential-substitution-for-opioids/

10) UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO COLLABORATION BRINGS TOGETHER MBA AND PHD STUDENTS TO MAP REGENERATIVE MEDICINE ECOSYSTEM By Ann Perry

When Arif Aziz learned last fall about a new independent study project that was bringing together MBA candidates and PhD students in health sciences and engineering to map the global market for stem cell therapies, he jumped at the opportunity. The for-credit project — part of a unique collaboration launched in fall 2016 between Rotman and U of T’s Medicine by Design initiative — offered Aziz a chance to combine his business training with his expertise in regenerative medicine.

Full story: https://biotechnologyfocus.ca/collaboration-brings-together-mba-and-phd-students-to-map-regenerative-medicine-ecosystem/

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