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Genome BC Launches C$8.7M Effort for Genomics Commercialization

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genome British Columbia today unveiled a new project that will provide C$8.7 million ($8.8) million) to provide bridge funding to research projects that seek to advance genomics technologies toward commercialization.

The new Genome BC Proof of Concept (POC) program is structured to speed up the commercialization process for life sciences technologies. It is a partnership between Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Province of British Columbia, with C$4.35 million coming jointly from those partners, and the other C$4.35 million coming from other co-funders for each research project.

The goal of the program is to help researchers advance their genomics discoveries from the innovation phase to the creation of a viable proof-of-concept model or a prototype.

The POC effort is an expansion of a small pilot program, the Technology Development Innovation Fund (TDIF), which supported projects that showed near-term commercialization potential. Some of those TDIF projects have already sold prototypes or resulted in commercial licensing agreements.

One such TDIF project that Genome BC hopes to replicate with the POC program funded development of a microfluidic nanoparticle technology for delivering genetic materials that has resulted in a spinoff company from the University of British Columbia, Genome BC said.

"The primary challenge associated with commercializing a product in BC revolves around the chasm that exists between idea conceptualization and making it a reality," Don Enns, president of the industry group Life Sciences BC, said in a statement. "Genome BC's Proof of Concept Program represents an attempt to 'bridge' that chasm in such a manner that that it not only accelerates the overall product development but also increases the probability of a successful launch."

Genome BC plans to announce the five winners of the POC grants in the near future.

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