National Research Council Canada-NRC

National Research Council Canada-NRC

November 16, 2006 11:00 ET

NRC Launches BioAccess Commercialization Centre: Helping Canadian Firms Bring New Products to Market

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 16, 2006) - The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) officially opened a new BioAccess Commercialization Centre in Saskatoon this morning. The Centre was created by NRC to assist innovative firms in Western Canada's nutraceutical, functional food and natural health products industries bring products to market and stake a claim in the lucrative $150 billion global market. NRC-delivered services include research expertise, business development support programs, expert business knowledge, resources and advice.

The Centre was established by NRC in response to research showing that as few as five per cent of Canadian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) survive their first five years of business. In the nutraceutical, functional food and natural health products industries, commercialization hurdles are especially complicated. The low success rate can often be attributed to a lack of support and/or expertise in areas such as marketing, management, technology assessment and the regulatory approval process.

"The BioAccess Commercialization Centre will play a key role in developing the innovative capacity and competitiveness of Western Canada's nutraceutical, functional food and natural health products industries. It is critical that our Western businesses are well-positioned to capture their share of this growing market, which will translate into economic payoffs and significant health and wellness benefits for all Canadians," said the Hon. Carol Skelton, Minister of Revenue and Minister responsible for Western Diversification on behalf of the Hon. Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the National Research Council.

According to Dr. Pierre Coulombe, NRC President, "To ensure that our companies survive their first years of business, we must provide world-class scientific research. And we must bolster that research with the tools that support commercialization and industrial development. The Centre will bring together NRC expertise from across the country to directly raise and accelerate the competitiveness of the Canadian economy and ultimately help Canadian companies succeed."

Kelley Fitzpatrick, President of NutriTech said, "There is no doubt that Canadian companies have a huge opportunity in this market, but the challenge has always been getting small start-up companies to survive their first few years of business and develop into successful long term enterprises. The support, expertise and advice that NRC will offer via the BioAccess Commercialization Centre could prove key for many SMEs across Western Canada looking to take their products from the bench to the marketplace."

On November 7-8, an inaugural workshop, BioMapping: Your Pathway to Commercialization, was hosted at the Centre, bringing SMEs from across Western Canada together in Saskatoon.

Nutraceuticals are foods that have a beneficial effect on human health. Functional foods are also beneficial to human health but in addition they may have disease preventing capabilities. Natural health products are types of medicines/herbs/vitamins that may improve human health and are available without a prescription.

NRC works hand in hand with partners from industry, government and universities to help ignite the spark of innovation in communities across the land and to give Canadian companies a competitive edge in today's marketplace.

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