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Future Opportunities and Challenges for Canada in Life Sciences and BioAgrifood Research


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Title: Future Opportunities and Challenges for Canada in Life Sciences and BioAgrifood Research


Future Opportunities and Challenges for Canada in
Life Sciences and Bio-Agrifood Research
Arthur J. Carty National Science Advisor to the
Prime Minister
Ag-West Bio Inc. Annual General Meeting Saskatoon
Saskatchewan 7 September 2005
Canadas 21st Century Challenges Opportunities
  • Our economic future productivity, trade and
  • Canada is a small, highly trade-dependent nation
  • Swift adaptability to change and speed of
    innovation listed as greatest management
    challenges by senior executives1
  • Transforming to a Knowledge-based Economy
  • Global knowledge system leading to increased
    competition for Highly Qualified People and
  • Substantial investment needed in key sectors of
    ICT, biotechnology, manufacturing technologies,
  • Must create a culture of innovation and
  • Our new partners and competitors emergence of
    new economic powers China, India
  • Moving quickly from low-cost manufacturers to
    knowledge-based economic powerhouses

1. Economist Intelligence Unit Survey, Business
2010 Embracing the Challenge of Change, 2005.
Canadas 21st Century Challenges and Opportunities
  • Our natural resources
  • Need to gain sustainable competitive edge through
    innovations in extraction and production to
    harness value-added benefits
  • Our health and security
  • Changing demographics
  • Increasing virulence and rapidity of infectious
  • Our environment Global Warming A fundamental
    effect on our economy, ecology and society
  • North and coastal regions are particularly
    vulnerable to climate change
  • Opportunities for Canadian industry in meeting
    environmental challenges

Canadian RD Overview
  • In 2004-2005, total Canadian RD expenditures
    are expected to reach 24.5 billion
  • Total Canadian federal ST expenditures in 04-05
    are projected to be 9.2 billion of which 63
    (5.8B) will be for RD
  • RD spending per capita in universities and
    research institutes is the highest in the G-8
  • 13 billion in incremental investments committed
    to basic research from 1997-98 to 2003-04
  • Almost 70 of this has been allocated in the last
    4 years
  • Research environment has improved significantly
    in the academic sector

Federal direct and indirect expenditures on RD,
by performing sector (1992/93-2003/04)
Source Statistics Canada Cat No. F88-0006XIE and
Finance Canada
Canadas ST and Innovation Challenges
  • Maintain leading G8 position for HERD/GDP and
    build on strong research base
  • Harvest economic and social benefit to Canadians
    of RD investments through knowledge transfer and
  • Stimulate industrial RD expansion and
    collaboration through clusters
  • Increase global linkages across the innovation
  • Revitalize government science to respond to the
    priority policy challenges facing Canadians
  • Develop national strategies in emerging areas
    e.g. biotechnology and life sciences,
    nanotechnologies, quantum information technology,
    sustainable energy, photonics, high performance
    computing, environmental technologies northern

Bio-economy potential impacts
  • Bio-Economy and accelerating advancements in
    biosciences is creating opportunities to
  • enable innovative and environmentally sustainable
  • improve health, safety, integrity and reliability
    of producing, processing and distributing food
  • produce and market agricultural products in
    increasingly sophisticated and demanding
    food/non-food markets
  • expand agriculture beyond food and feed to
    include bio-materials, bio-medical products,
    bio-health products, bio-energy products,
    bio-chemicals and bio-pharmaceuticals

US, European, Canadian Australian Biotech, 2003
Source Conference Board of Canada Canadian
Biotechnology Secretariat., May 2005
Number of Biotechnology Firms in Canada by
Sector, 2003
Total 496 firms
Source Conference Board of Canada Canadian
Biotechnology Secretariat., May 2005
Canadian Strengths Biotechnology
  • Canada 2nd in firms, 3rd in revenues and 1st in
    RD expenditures per employee, 2 500 external
    patents applied for annually

Biotechnology Sector in Canada, 1997-2003
  • Agriculture and Energy
  • Transgenic plants
  • Molecular farming
  • Biofuels, bioprocessing
  • Industrial enzymes
  • Human and Animal Health
  • Therapeutics vaccines biodiagnostics
    infectious diseases neurodegenerative diseases
    cancer clinical medicine
  • Genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics
  • Stem cells, regenerative medicine,

A new frame of reference for the future of
agricultural biotechnology
Towards a future in Canadian Agro-biotechnology
  • Shift from a commodity industry competing on
    low-cost production to a differentiated product
    industry competing on the basis of
  • safety, quality and environmental attributes
  • responsiveness to changing consumer demands
  • speed of entering new markets
  • alignment with production/marketing/distribution
    value chains
  • securing competitive advantage and market share
    for Canada in a globalized market place

Steps Forward
How do we achieve our vision?
  • Commitment to world-class RD
  • Continue to produce highly skilled scientists and
    engineers and increase interdisciplinary training
  • Build a cohesive ecosystem of risk financing
  • Build manufacturing capabilities in key areas
  • Improve regulatory standards
  • Integrating and enabling national strategy

Our Strengths Plant and Agricultural
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Pulse crop improvement
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Innovation Place for start-ups transgenic
  • NRC-Plant Biotechnology Institute
  • Molecular and Developmental Genetics
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Hormone profiling
  • AAFC Saskatoon Research Center
  • Crop breeding and diversification
  • Genomics and molecular and developmental biology
  • Protein Oils Starch Pilot Plant
  • Scale up technology for processing and extraction

Strengths and New Opportunities Vaccine and
Immunization Technologies
  • Canada is emerging as a world leader in animal
    and human vaccine and immunization technologies
    for infectious diseases
  • VIDO INTERVAC (Level 3 disease capacity)
  • Genome Canada funding for Pathogenomics for
    Innate Immunity Research Platform
  • Gates Foundation funding for Single Dose Vaccines
    for Neonates
  • International Centre for Infectious Diseases
  • BioMed City
  • Canadian Centre for Human and Animal Health
  • Successful companies ID Biomedical (Fluviral)

Bioproducts and Bioprocesses
Foresight for Bio-products Bioprocesses
ONSA is leading a foresight with the Bio-Products
community to assess Canadas policy needs and
resilience against several plausible scenarios
  • Canada a world leader in selected bio-fuels
  • Significant contribution to Canadas energy
    security and to APEC economies need for
    expertise, non-conventional energy sources
  • Contributions to environmental sustainability,
    Kyoto climate change, rural economy renewal,
    cities agenda and regional prosperity
  • Still Hewers of Wood ..?
  • Losing Resource Ownership
  • One Fry Pan to Another
  • 21st is Canadas Century

Looking Ahead - Nanotechnology The Opportunity
for Canada
  • Increased miniaturization, reliability and cost
    reduction, sensors can be used for real-time
    monitoring of large systems (field growth,
    drought, fertilizer concentration, etc)
  • Advances in ICT through nanotechnology will lead
    to higher levels of automation and processing
  • Lab-on-a-chip microfluidics will allow
    expensive and time-intensive tests to be done on
    site (i.e. at the field) shortening diagnosis
  • Wear resistant nano-materials and coatings could
    have substantial impact on equipment and capital

Major Science Investments Canadian Light Source
  • A major investment in Canadian science that will
    open the doors to new opportunities for Canadian
    research and Western Canada Biotechnology
  • Examples include - Ultra bright protein
    crystallography x-rays for biochemistry,
    biology, biophysics, chemistry, microbiology,
    immunology, pharmacy, and plant science to obtain
    atomic resolution on often very small crystals
  • Identification and exploitation of trace organic
    mineral nutrition for animal feed and
  • Analysis of protein structure of plants to
    improve resistance to extreme cold and drought

Photo courtesy of Canadian Light Source Inc.
Innovation Commercialization Strengths
The next challenge is to turn more of Canadians
bright ideas into dynamic businesses, great jobs
and growing export earnings. To that end, the
Government will ensure a supply of venture
capital, particularly for early-stage
businesses. -Speech from the Throne,
October 2004
  • Strong research base and highly qualified
  • Extensive industry/university collaborations
  • Excellent university, NRC and AAFC spin-off and
    technology transfer rates
  • Development of new industry-university and
    government laboratory partnerships
  • Second to the US for venture capital investment

Barriers to commercialization and trade in Canada
Source Biotechnology Human Resource Council,
2004 Canadian Biotechnology Human Resources
Smart Regulation Biotechnology and Life Sciences
Regulation 47 The government of Canada should
make it a priority to develop and implement a
comprehensive, government-wide biotechnology
regulatory strategy that would
  • Identify and address legislative gaps
  • Identify ways to access expertise from domestic
    and international scientific sources
  • Give due consideration to ethical issues
  • Provide opportunities for stakeholder input
  • Translate into detailed work plans and report on
  • Be reviewed and updated regularly to deal with
    changes in biotechnology
  • Assign clear and effective accountability

Expert Panel on Commercialization
  • Minister Emerson has asked the Panel to report
    this fall with recommendations for government on
  • How to simplify and encourage the introduction of
    new processes and products with protecting the
    public interest
  • How to better harness the potential of new
    knowledge and technologies generated by public
  • Whether Canada has created the right environment
    for commercialization
  • Includes Germaine Gibara (Avio Management) Mike
    Lazaridis (RIM) Cindy Lum (B.C. Innovation
    Council) John Risley (Clearwater Seafoods)
    Indira Samarasekera (U. of Alberta) Joe Rotman,
    Chair (UofT)

A Vision for the Future
  • Competitive business environment
  • Taxes, incentives and procurement to stimulate
    innovation and adoption of leading edge
  • Smart Regulatory System
  • A highly qualified workforce
  • Solid research base
  • Healthy eco-system of risk financing
  • Strong linkages between business and the research
  • High value-added global interactions at all
    stages of the innovation process

Future Opportunities
  • Made in Canada commercialization vehicle to get
    economically valuable technology to Canadian
  • Federal and Provincial governments work together
    to establish pre-commercialization strategies to
    support ST start-ups to spur economic
  • Development of multiple crop platforms to produce
    a host of products from industrial to
  • Public/Private research programs for developing
    tree cultivars adapted to Western Canadian
    conditions for Western Canadas pulp and paper

Conclusions and Summary
  • The global Bioeconomy is upon us and evolving
  • Canada has made considerable progress in the past
    decade in becoming an important player in
    biotechnology and life sciences research
  • Challenges still remain in commercialization of
    the technology and building a viable
    biotechnology industrial sector in Canada
  • Western Canada has enormous potential to become a
    major player and benefit from the advancements in
    science and commercialization of products and
  • Canada can achieve its goals through strategic
    investments and strong partnerships between
    industry, academia and governments nationally and

(No Transcript)
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