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BC Plans $4.7M for New Genomics Economic Development

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Canada will use more than C$5 million ($4.7 million) to support the development and commercialization of new genomics technologies in Western Canada as a part of a program to stimulate economic development and research in the region, the BC Ministry of Small Business, Technology, and Economic Development said yesterday.

The funding will come from the Western Economic Partnership (WEPA) agreement, a joint effort by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, and part of the BC government’s C$50 million strategic plan to support Genome BC between 2010 and 2015.

Under the plan, local organizations will apply to Genome BC for funds to be used to move projects from the technology development stage to commercialization. Genome BC expects to fund around 30 projects over the coming three-and-a-half years that will lead to spinoff companies and licensing agreements.

“British Columbia is world-renowned for its genomics research, and this funding will help our scientists take their discoveries from the lab to the marketplace,” Joan McIntyre of West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, said in a statement on behalf of Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development Iain Black.

“Their creativity and focus will lead to spinoff companies with new solutions to current problems, with benefits for individuals and industry here in BC, and further afield,” McIntyre added.

“We recognize that converting cutting-edge, genomics-based discoveries into useful, clinic-ready and market-ready applications is challenging,” added Alan Winter, Genome BC’s president and CEO.

“Through this exciting and unique funding program we will be able to support projects that have demonstrated proof-of-concept, but require additional funding for development before they can be licensed or commercialized,” Winter said.

In total, both the federal and provincial government plant to contribute C$25 million to the WEPA.