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Life-saving research gets provincial funding boost, expanded mandate

June 9, 2023 at 9:58 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People in B.C. will benefit from sustained cutting-edge research, especially focused on improving health care, as the Province provides $20 million over two years to the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC).

“The partnership announced today with the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre will expand our province’s leading genetic research, including life-saving cancer and medical research,” said Premier David Eby. “This will help improve health care for people, while benefiting our economy and people working in forestry, agriculture, marine science and many other sectors. Our government will continue working with key partners to implement a new vision for the centre that will ensure the benefits of being home to some of the best research in the world are delivered to people in B.C.” 

Through the B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy, the GSC will play an increasing role in supporting the wide range of life sciences that are crucial to the future of B.C., Canada and the world. In addition to continuing its critical and groundbreaking work for cancer and other health issues, the genomics centre will play a key role in understanding areas such as forestry, marine science, agriculture, biodiversity and the effects of climate change.

“B.C. is a global leader in genomics, thanks to work done at the centre, especially around cancer research,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Hundreds of scientists, technologists and analysts have been trained at the facility and this funding means even more work will be done that will lead to better health outcomes for people.”

The Province and BC Cancer, Genome BC, the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU), the BC Cancer Foundation and other national partners will work together to develop and implement an updated vision for the GSC as a provincial hub that serves the broader life-sciences community, enabling access to this centre for additional purposes to benefit the people of B.C.

“By supporting this expansion, we are providing more opportunities for B.C. life-sciences businesses to grow and create quality jobs for people in B.C.,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We’ll continue to invest in the GSC as part of our commitment to the success of a strong and sustainable economy and health-care ecosystem in B.C.”

The B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy outlines key actions developed in close consultation with industry and academia to position British Columbia as a global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing, and as a leading centre for commercial-scale biopharmaceutical and medical manufacturing.

Quotes:

Dr. Kim Chi, chief medical officer, and Heather Findlay, chief operating officer, BC Cancer

“Advancing life-changing research for people with cancer is integral to B.C.’s 10-year Cancer Action Plan. We look forward to helping lead a new future for the Genome Sciences Centre and advancing genomic research throughout the health sector and beyond for the benefit of all people in B.C.”

Gail Murphy, vice-president, research and innovation, University of British Columbia –

“UBC welcomes investment by the Province in the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, a world-leading research centre that we have partnered with and supported for over 20 years, along with BC Cancer Research, and the Provincial Health Services Authority. This multi-faceted partnership allows for research capabilities beyond genomic sequencing, enabling innovation in the use of genomics in health care and other sectors. This investment is a critical step in expanding genomics capabilities and positioning B.C. as a global life-sciences hub as part of B.C.’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy.”

Suzanne Gill, president and CEO, Genome BC –

“Genome BC is committed to ensuring that B.C. maintains its world-class genomics capabilities to enable meaningful research and innovation impact. The GSC is a globally recognized centre of excellence and plays a pivotal role in transforming health care and environmental stewardship for the benefits of people in B.C. The GSC is a strategic asset to this province in delivering on this promise and vital if B.C. is to remain at the forefront of this transformative field.”

Learn More:

For more information about the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, visit: www.bcgsc.ca

To learn more about Genome BC, visit: https://www.genomebc.ca/

For information about B.C.’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/technology-innovation/life-sciences-biomanufacturing

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