Life Sciences in Québec: BIOQuébec Welcomes The Ambitious Yet Realistic Goals Set Forth In The Québec Government's Strategy
BROMONT (Québec) May 5, 2017 – BIOQuébec welcomed the Québec government’s life sciences strategy which was unveiled earlier today, the contents of which will support the creation of value generated by the biotechnology and life sciences industry.
“The government’s overall objectives are ambitious yet realistic,” states Anie Perrault, BIOQuébec’s Executive Manager. “In fact, Québec has the talent, research centres, companies, and innovations that allow it to not only rank in the top five hubs in North America, but also to attract substantial private investments.”
On a provincial level, the strategy unveiled today by Minister Dominique Anglade includes the creation of a Bureau de l’innovation, which reflects the recommendation made to the government by the life sciences working group in May of 2016. Several industry members, including representatives of BIOQuébec, participated in this working group created by the government in 2015.
“Our province’s biotechs market their innovations in the U.S. and in Europe, yet their innovative tests, drugs, and treatments are rarely found in our own healthcare institutions, and the patients and practitioners in Québec who would benefit from them are often unaware they even exist. We hope that this bureau will speed up the integration of innovations into the Québec healthcare network, which is a main concern of the province’s biotechnology and life sciences industry,” adds Anie Perrault, who also spoke about this important issue in a recent interview in La Presse.
BIOQuébec reiterates that it is essential to promote Québec’s strengths so it can set itself apart in Canada and abroad when it comes to integrating innovations into the healthcare system, which will be advantageous to the entire population of Québec.
To this end, “we hope that one of this new bureau’s main goals will be to optimize the evaluation process for promising, innovative technologies,” says Anie Perrault.
In fact, BIOQuébec congratulates the government on creating, within the INESSS, a unit dedicated to assessing technological innovations, which will help to support the Bureau de l’innovation’s mandate.
She also states that “in addition, we encourage the government to use the working group it created to act quickly in reinforcing one of the main factors that attracts investments, namely quicker access to the marketplace for drugs and other health innovations, for the benefit of the patient above all else.”
In terms of integration, the government also announced the creation of a fund to support innovation in health and social services which will allow for the evaluation of innovations in real-life care situations.
With an $18 million budget over five years, “we hope that this fund will help us to collect the strong data necessary to endorse the integration of innovations into Québec’s healthcare system”, continues Anie Perrault.
BIOQuébec applauds this initiative and offers the government its support in implementing this action, which could benefit several of its members.
BIOQuébec also welcomes the creation of a new Health Collaboration Accelleration fund valued at up to $75 million to accelerate the establishment of health alliances, through which money will be directly put towards the implementation of structuring initiatives and collaborative public-private projects with a total value of $150 million.
Anie Perrault adds that “by choosing to prioritize precision medicine and the mining of big data on health, Québec is providing itself with a tool to create better collaborations within the life sciences sector in Québec, and we congratulate the province on this measure.”
In addition, BIOQuébec is pleased with the strategy’s focus on the international component, particularly with respect to promoting Québec’s attributes. The province’s biotechs and other organizations that make up the life sciences innovation chain clearly have the expertise, the talent, and the infrastructure to drive Québec’s economy. This open to the world approach matches that of BIOQuébec’s members, as most of them export their products or have international partnerships.
“Our association has recently been working on strengthening our industry’s relationships with globally-recognized life sciences hubs such as the ones in Switzerland, with which we recently signed a cooperation agreement, and the one in Massachusetts, with which an agreement is pending,” added BIOQuébec’s Executive Manager.
Last year, BIOQuébec welcomed the creation of the BioMed Propulsion program. The strategy mentions this $100 million fund (over five years), which is an important measure but one with limited power as a Phase ll clinical trial costs between $30-35 million; that investment doubles for a Phase lll trial. BIOQuébec would have preferred to have the life sciences applied to human and animal health innovation financing chain reinforced by an increase in life sciences investments through Investissement Québec’s programs or other government programs, such as the issuance of Treasury bonds with the yields being allocated to research and innovation. BIOQuébec will continue to request that the government institute creative new financing strategies to foster and support the growth of life sciences companies.
With more than 135 biotechnology companies and 75 contract research organizations in Québec, not to mention the research centres, valorization corporations, and the many other organizations working closely with this sector, life sciences and health technologies are clearly an industry which is vital to the province’s development.
“The strategy which was introduced today is one more step in recognizing the importance of our industry to Québec’s economic development. We hope that it will also serve to promote our industry and our innovations as well as to create a well-deserved sense of pride within Québec,” concludes Anie Perrault.
To increase public awareness of the industry, its members recently launched a Web-based campaign called L’innovation au Québec, c’est dans notre ADN. View all the information capsules at www.innovationsante.quebec.
BIOQuébec is committed to supporting the growth of Québec’s biotechnology and life sciences industry which creates wealth and specialized jobs, is focused on innovation and marketing, and is dedicated to improving everyone’s health and quality of life. For more information, go to www.bioquebec.com
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Anie Perrault, Executive Manager, BIOQuébec