Genome Canada announces federal funding for seven new projects under the Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP), three of which hail from Ontario. This will be driving $2.9 million of federal funding into the province and an additional $5.9 million from investments in the industry, government, and funding partners. For a total of $8.8 million, this could heed rewarding results.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.
Vineland is partnering with a team of University of Toronto researchers to develop genomics-based technologies that will induce broad-spectrum disease resistance in greenhouse vegetables, allowing new varieties of vegetables to thrive and reducing waste. This will give growers across Ontario and Canada a competitive advantage in a national industry that already generates more than $1 billion annually from retail sales and exports.
In another GAPP project, researchers at McMaster University are partnered with Hamilton-based start-up Adapsyn Bioscience Inc. to use its proprietary technology platform that combines genomic and metabolomic data with artificial intelligence and machine learning to redefine and accelerate drug discovery for novel treatments of a wide spectrum of diseases. This partnership secured significant foreign and domestic investment and is creating new high-tech jobs in Ontario.
The third Ontario-based GAPP project announced brings together researchers at the Sunnybrook Research Institute and the University of Toronto with Canadian start-up Fusion Genomics to further develop novel infectious disease surveillance tools. Their technology is unique in its ability to detect and genetically characterize infectious viral pathogens through bioaerosols to serve as an early warning for disease outbreaks in both humans and agricultural animals. The development of this pre-emergence environmental detection technology will drive a paradigm shift in public health and animal welfare by offering complete genomic data to anticipate outbreaks, inform disease transmission dynamics and enable vaccine design and production.
GAPP is a program that partners researchers with companies and other end-users who will apply their innovations with the goal of increasing and accelerating the positive social and economic impact of Ontario’s and Canada’s genomics R&D capacity. Since 2013, approximately $86.1 million, including co-funding has been invested in 23 Ontario-based GAPP projects, fuelling innovations, spurring job creation and attracting foreign investment in Ontario’s health, agriculture & agri-food, fisheries, environment and natural resource sectors.
In such an emerging industry, there is nothing better than seeing companies and research succeed. With these recent investments, there is high hope that we will see encouraging results in the future.