Western Economic Diversification Canada

Western Economic Diversification Canada

August 20, 2013 12:30 ET

Harper Government Strengthens Commercialization Opportunities at the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Aug. 20, 2013) - Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced federal funding to support medical commercialization efforts at the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute at the University of Alberta.

"One of our Government's priorities is to ensure the long term competitiveness of Canada's economy and support a high quality of life for its citizens," said Minister Rempel. "We achieve this by making strategic investments to accelerate innovation and assist late stage R&D activities that enable local start-up companies to retain and commercialize new discoveries, such as vaccines to treat and cure viral diseases."

The federal investment of $3,000,000 through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) will go towards the Institute's purchase of specialized equipment that will be used to conduct pre-commercialization activities for the development and testing of new vaccines and therapies. These activities are expected to attract commercial investments that will help bring new medical products to market.

"This funding will enable University of Alberta researchers to accelerate the process from research discovery to commercial vaccine development," said Lorne Babiuk, the university's vice-president of research. "Increasing the number of vaccines developed and their speed-to-market will save thousands of lives and improve both quality of life and economic productivity. For example, one promising vaccine currently under development by our Li Ka Shing researchers is for hepatitis C. This viral disease affects 170 million people worldwide and is one of the leading causes of cancer and need for liver transplants."

WD's investment towards this initiative will promote the development and growth of Western Canada's knowledge-based economy by translating innovative research and technology into valuable commercial applications. The Institute's resources will increase the number of vaccines and treatments that are developed and commercialized in the Edmonton-area, with the long term goal of establishing a competitive virology cluster in Alberta.

Since 2006, the Harper Government, through WD, has invested in job-creating small- and medium-sized businesses, aerospace, marine and defence industries, and supported innovative entrepreneurs in pursuing emerging markets. By continuing to promote new economic opportunities WD is helping to create jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity.

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Contact Information

  • Emily Goucher
    Office of the Minister
    Western Economic Diversification
    613-954-8097

    Michael Houghton
    Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
    University of Alberta
    780-248-1888
    michael.houghton@ualberta.ca

    WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
    Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-877-303-3388
    WD is online at www.wd-deo.gc.ca