Posted: February 8, 2008

Winnipeg's biomedical devices industry gets $5.7 million boost from government of Canada

(Nanowerk News) The Government of Canada announced a $5.7 million investment over three years in Winnipeg's biomedical technology cluster today at the National Research Council (NRC) Institute for Biodiagnostics. The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Secretary of State (Small Business and Tourism), on behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for NRC, reconfirmed the Government of Canada's support for the work NRC has been doing to catalyze science and technology-based partnerships in Winnipeg's biomedical technologies cluster.
Private, public and academia partners have been collaborating in Winnipeg's biomedical technologies sector to develop noninvasive medical diagnostics that enhance the health of Canadians and will potentially save lives.
"Canada's private sector is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises that are looking for partners to share risks and investment, allowing them to take full advantage of opportunities that could make them key international players," said Secretary of State Ablonczy at today's announcement. "Our Government believes that partnerships between industry, all levels of government and universities translate knowledge into practical solutions that will address our country's critical health and wellness challenges a cornerstone of our Science and Technology Strategy, released last May by Prime Minister Harper and reinforced in the Speech from the Throne."
Winnipeg's biomedical technologies initiative is one of six NRC technology cluster initiatives that have received renewed investments of $118 million over three years from the Government of Canada. Others include: Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies in Vancouver; Nanotechnology in Edmonton; Plants for Health and Wellness in Saskatoon; Photonics in Ottawa and Aluminium Transformation in the Saguenay-Lac St. Jean region.
In 2002, the Government of Canada made its first investment of $10 million over five years to stimulate the growth of Winnipeg's biomedical technologies industry.
Funding was renewed in light of the tangible results in this region. Deeply engaged community partners have supplemented the Government's initial commitment by investing over $3 million in the cluster. NRC has spun off seven companies valued at over $300 million, and formal research collaborations between industry, university-based researchers and NRC research teams on themes of national importance have increased.
"By stimulating Winnipeg's biomedical technology industry, NRC has taken a regional approach to resolving significant national issues, resulting in high quality jobs, improved productivity and an enhanced quality of life benefits for all Canadians", said Dr. Roman Szumski, NRC Vice-President, Life Sciences. "This $5.7 million investment will enhance existing networks and create new linkages in Winnipeg, particularly between hospitals and biomedical firms, to create opportunities for new companies."
Technology clusters are broadly-based community partnerships among industry, universities and colleges and all levels of government, focused on building competitive advantage for Canada through research and innovation. These S&T partnerships position communities to attract talent, investment and economic activity.
Since 2000, NRC has brought stakeholders together in regions across Canada via its cluster initiative program, turning ideas into innovations that provide solutions to the country's environment, health, productivity and other related challenges.
In addition to six Western and Central Canada technology cluster initiatives, NRC also spearheads initiatives in Regina: Sustainable Infrastructure; Fredericton/Moncton: Information Technology and e-Business; Halifax: Life Sciences; Charlottetown: Nutrisciences and Health and St. John's: Ocean Technology.
About Winnipeg's Biomedical Technology Cluster
Winnipeg's biomedical technology cluster is recognized internationally as a thriving hub of medical devices and life sciences organizations. The 100 companies and organizations associated with Manitoba's life sciences cluster generate sales of more than $400 million a year a number that grows annually and employs 4,200 people. Although the Winnipeg cluster is young, technology developed by NRC researchers has resulted in the creation of seven spin-off companies with an aggregate market value of over $300 million.
Source: Government of Canada
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