2020 was an unprecedented year – a global pandemic stopped the world in its tracks. In 2021, we begin our recovery as an economy and a society as a worldwide vaccination effort is rolled out. The importance of biomedical innovation and the biotech sector has never been more evident: the vaccine needed to reopen our societies and economies was quickly developed by a cohort of groups in the biopharmaceutical sector and shown to be effective on a timeline that defied any historical precedent. In Canada, the accompanying momentum in the sector accelerated several companies to the public markets. The Canadian biotech industry took an exponential step forward in 2020 and will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate with continued investment and support. Growing our talent base and creating a constellation of new companies will be essential to realize the economic development and societal impact that the growth of this industry can deliver.
On February 17th, we will hold a virtual Pan-Canadian Showcase to highlight the largest centres accelerating biomedical innovation in our country – Toronto/Hamilton, Vancouver and Montreal. These regions are delivering new discoveries and providing the foundation for new companies and the next generation of biomedical breakthroughs. The world-class science being advanced across the country is laying the groundwork for the development of new treatments for disease, the ability to diagnose disease quickly and accurately, as well as elucidating the biology that underlies human disease. The highly skilled scientific talent being developed gives us a homegrown base of leadership for the biotech companies of tomorrow. It is imperative, however, that we seek new mechanisms to transform our discoveries into companies and retain this talent pool as we continue to grow biotech in Canada. By bolstering biomedical research and using these discoveries to increase start-up activity in Canada, jobs will be created, talented Canadians will have career advancement opportunities, and our economy will reap the benefits. And the next time we are faced with a global pandemic, we will be ready with significantly increased capacity at all levels – from the R&D needed to quickly create anti-infectives and vaccines, to the biomanufacturing infrastructure needed to allow us to produce life-saving medicines.
This showcase will also feature a group of Canada’s successful entrepreneurs and investors. During a panel discussion, CEOs of the latest Canadian biotechs to IPO (Carl Hansen of AbCellera and Lloyd Segal from Repare Therapeutics) and prominent investors (Jerel Davis of Versant Ventures and Jessica Chutter from Morgan Stanley) will discuss their views on what is needed to further build momentum in the sector. Andrew Casey, the CEO of BIOTECanada, will lead this important discussion.
We are excited to present this showcase that will feature opportunities for dialogue & discussion and hope you will join us!
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 17TH, 2021
1:30 – 5:00 PM ET (VIRTUAL)
1:30 – 1:55 Shana Kelley, University of Toronto
“Tackling Disease with Precision Therapeutics and Diagnostics: PRiME and the GTA Ecosystem”
1:55 – 2:15 Pieter Cullis, University of British Columbia
“BC as an Emerging Biopharmaceutical Powerhouse: Therapeutic Antibodies and COVID-19 Vaccines”
2:15 – 2:35 Gerry Wright, McMaster University
“The Global Nexus Initiative: Addressing Current and Future Biological Threats with Expertise and Evidence”
2:35 – 2:55 Philippe Gros, McGill University
“Biomedical Innovation at McGill: Institutional overview and local context”
2:55 – 3:15 Michel Bouvier, University of Montreal
“Successfully Translating Academic Discoveries and Expertise into Therapeutic Solutions for Patients; the IRIC/IRICoR Model”
3:15 – 3:45 Group Discussion
3:45 – 4:00 BREAK
4:00 – 5:00 Panel Discussion: How do we turn more Canadian biomedical breakthroughs into successful Canadian companies?
Andrew Casey, CEO, BIOTECanada (moderator)
Jessica Chutter, Managing Director, Biotech Investment Banking, Morgan Stanley
Jerel Davis, Managing Partner, Versant Ventures
Carl Hansen, Founder and CEO, AbCellera
Lloyd Segal, CEO, Repare Therapeutics