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R&D

NRC Centre to spur Manitoba’s biomed entrepreneurs

WINNIPEG – The $12 million NRC Centre for the Commercialization of Biomedical Technology (NRC-CCBT) officially opened in mid-October. The centre will act as a business incubator for biomedical and healthcare technology companies as they make the transition from the idea stage to actual sales and marketing.

The NRC-CCBT is viewed as a key element of BioMed City, a community driven effort to establish Winnipeg as a hub for public health research, innovation, commercialization, and skills development in Canada and internationally.

(Pictured: Dr. Ian Smith, director general, NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics; David Chomiak, Manitoba's minister of science, energy and technology; Reg Alcock, president, Treasury Board of Canada; Dr. Pierre Coulombe, NRC president.)

The opening of the new four-storey Centre underlines the federal government’s confidence in Manitoba’s booming life sciences community. The NRC-CCBT is designed as a model for public-private sector partnerships in commercialization, which is a key element of NRC’s cluster strategy being pursued at NRC locations across Canada.

“The Government of Canada is committed to creating new networks that support commercialization across Canada, and the NRC is taking a leading role in the national commercialization agenda right here in Manitoba,” said Reg Alcock, President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, on behalf of the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the National Research Council (NRC).

“The NRC Centre for Biomedical Technology will be the vehicle to foster Canadian capabilities in technologies such as biomedical devices, products, and services that will not only be drivers of innovation and productivity in the 21st century economy, but will also touch the lives of individuals here in Canada and around the world.”

The Centre will be home to a wide range of individuals, firms, organizations, and innovation support services and programs. National and international companies will develop diagnostic and imaging hardware and software, create data analysis and informatics products and support, manufacture medical devices, or develop health and health information systems. A prototyping facility for medical devices will also be available.

“Manitoba is home to some of the most innovative research minds anywhere,” said David Chomiak, Minister of Energy, Science and Technology for the province of Manitoba.

“Our $2 million investment in the new NRC Centre builds on our commitment to bring together governments, researchers and the private sector in partnerships to promote research that leads to life-saving breakthroughs for patients and results in new economic activity for our province.

“NRC has established itself as an effective catalyst for strategic cluster development, contributing to economic growth in communities across Canada. The Centre embodies NRC’s approach to cluster building – allowing the entrepreneurial spirit in local industry sectors to tap into NRC’s primary strengths: R&D expertise, scientific and technical information resources, and innovation assistance programs.

“The new NRC Centre adds a valuable dimension to our life sciences expertise in the Winnipeg biomedical technology cluster. Such business development facilities will provide the commercialization and technology advice, competitive intelligence, and intellectual property management services required by Canadian entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking to market novel biomedical R&D,” said Dr. Pierre Coulombe, NRC President.

A special feature of the NRC-CCBT is its partnership with the Government of Manitoba and a national not-for-profit organization, Biomedical Commercialization Canada (BCC).

BCC will help design and oversee the programs and services within the NRC-CCBT, and ensure community and industrial leadership. NRC provided $10 million in funding for the NRC-CCBT as a result of a 2002 Government of Canada decision to support NRC’s community innovation strategy. The Government of Manitoba is contributing $2 million to the project.

Recognized globally for research and innovation, Canada’s National Research Council is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology. For more information, please see the CCBT opening story and backgrounder.

The NRC-CCBT is 5,100 sq. m. facility adjacent to the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD). The NRC-IBD develops and commercializes non-invasive devices and technologies for the diagnosis of serious medical conditions, such as infectious diseases, cancer, and neurological disorders that affect millions of Canadians. With more than 150 skilled professionals, its research programs focus on applications of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy, and a variety of other optical imaging techniques.

A biomedical informatics group develops and adapts state-of-the-art methods for the analysis and monitoring of complex biomedical data, commercializing the resulting software products and providing informatics services.

The new Centre will provide partners with access to NRC’s research teams as well as the services of the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and the NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI).

NRC-IRAP West (Saskatchewan and Manitoba), provides innovation support and mentoring support to Canadian SMEs, and invests in more than 1,000 firms each year. NRC-CISTI is one of the leading science libraries in the world, and provides technical and competitive intelligence services to firms, researchers and universities across Canada. Through these programs, NRC can deliver the important business and technology intelligence, including the road mapping services needed to stimulate and promote the commercialization of innovative biomedical technologies.

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