Industry and academia make connections at OCE-CQDM life sciences forum

December 4, 2013

The Nov. 28 forum provided a networking opportunity for potential collaborators from Ontario's and Quebec's industries and academia.

More than 100 representatives and researchers from Quebec’s and Ontario’s life sciences industries and academia came together in Toronto on Nov. 28 to lay the groundwork for new collaborations leading to innovations in pharmaceutical research.

Co-hosted by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM), Life Sciences Ontario and BiopolisQuébec, the forum was the first event under the OCE-CQDM Life Sciences R&D Challenge, a $3-million inter-provincial initiative supporting industry-academic collaborations resulting in innovative tools and technologies to improve and accelerate the drug discovery process.

“Today we are embarking on an important exercise aimed at forming specific industry-academic collaborations between Ontario and Quebec,” Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of OCE, told the forum. “The collaborative approach enables the two provinces to build on their own individual research strengths to increase innovation, productivity and job creation.”

Having established a working partnership in 2011 through the Ontario-Québec Life Sciences Corridor initiative, OCE and CQDM are leading the R&D Challenge to help bring research to markets and increase global sales through the launch of groundbreaking new products and processes.

This is the second of three industry association challenge vouchers (VIAs) awarded this year through Ontario’s Collaboration Voucher Program. The other two VIAs are in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Diane Gosselin, President and CEO of CQDM, said the event was a chance for industry and academia to come together and explore the opportunities the R&D Challenge presents.

“There’s already a lot of collaboration between Quebec and Ontario but if we want to increase that we need to get them in the same room to talk one on one,” she said. “This is a great way to start this program and we will be doing more to follow up.”

Through this challenge, OCE and CQDM will support up to four qualified projects (lasting up to three years) which undertake biopharmaceutical research leading to improvements in drug discovery technologies. The challenge is not funding new drug discovery, rather the development of cutting-edge technologies with strong and immediate impact on drug discovery.

OCE and CQDM will each provide $125,000-$150,000 per project (up to $500,000 each in total) with industry partners contributing another $500,000-$600,000 per project (up to $2 million in total).

As industry association partners, Life Sciences Ontario and BiopolisQuébec will promote the challenge to their members and engage in outreach to drive awareness and collaboration.

More information on the project is available through the OCE and CQDM websites.