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Research commercialization centres receive new funding

Ottawa, February 1, 2013 — One of Canada’s most successful research commercialization programs has awarded additional funding to four Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). Grants totalling $48.1 million, resulting from the latest CECR competition, have been awarded to the following recipients:

  • The Centre for Drug Research and Development – CDRD ($8 million)
  • The Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization – CPDC ($13.8 million)
  • MaRS Innovation – MI ($14.95 million)
  • The Prostate Centre's Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development – PC-TRIADD ($11.33 million)

Since the first centres were opened in 2008, CECRs have helped launch 94 companies and leverage almost $270 million in partner contributions, or $1.85 for every dollar of CECR funding spent by the centres. Companies served by CECRs have created more than 3,600 jobs in the program’s first four years.

“One of our key requirements was for centres to develop a business plan that showed how they can become self-sustainable,” said Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. “We want to ensure that this program continues to generate benefits, even after the end of a funding period.”

“The CECR program has been extremely effective in bridging the challenging gap between innovation and commercialization,” added Nancy Hughes Anthony, Chair of the NCE’s Private Sector Advisory Board. “It occupies a unique place along the innovation continuum, leveraging the expertise and resources of the private and public sectors to translate promising research into tangible benefits for Canada.”

The CECR program is managed by the Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat on behalf of the three federal granting agencies—the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—in partnership with Industry Canada and Health Canada. It was created in 2007 with a $285 million investment over five years. The program’s budget was $31.2 million in 2011-12, and it currently supports 22 active centres based across the country.

The NCE operates a suite of national funding programs that mobilize Canada’s best research, development and entrepreneurial talent and focus it on specific issues and strategic areas. By supporting large scale collaborations between universities, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations, NCE programs focus research capacity on economic and social challenges, help commercialize and apply research breakthroughs, increase private-sector R&D, and train highly qualified people.

For further information, please contact:

Kelly Nolan
Communications Manager
Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat
Tel.: 613-996-0390
E-mail : kelly.nolan@nce-rce.gc.ca


Backgrounder

Overview

The Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program bridges the challenging gap between innovation and commercialization. The program matches clusters of research expertise with the business community to share the knowledge and resources that bring innovations to market faster. Centres advance research and facilitate commercialization within four priority areas: the environment; natural resources and energy; health and life sciences; and information and communications technologies.

Centres adopt different models to best serve the commercialization needs of their sector, including acting as investors, incubators or service providers. With revenue sources that range from fee-for service and membership fees to product sales, royalties and equity in start-up companies, each CECR has a mandate to become self-sustaining while maximizing economic impact for its partners.

The CECR program was created in 2007 with a $285 million investment over five years. The program’s budget was $31.2 million in 2011-12, and currently supports 22 active centres based across the country.

2013 competition

The 2013 CECR competition provided the 11 centres funded in the inaugural 2007-08 CECR competition with the opportunity to apply for an extension in their funding period, and to compete for additional funding. Centres requesting an extension to their funding period had to demonstrate how the extension will maximize the CECR investment by enhancing the centre’s impact. Centres competing for additional funding had to provide a strong business plan that outlines how the centre will become self-sustaining. The competition placed emphasis on enhancing the impact of all centres and supporting those with potential to remain sustainable after the end of the CECR grant funding (through partnerships, memberships, other government funding, and other revenue streams).

Competition results

The 2013 CECR Competition resulted in four applicants receiving additional funding:

  • Centre for Drug Research and Development – CDRD
    Additional funding: $8.0 million

    CDRD translates commercially promising health research conducted at the university level into new therapies that improve and save lives. The centre is a national, not-for-profit drug development and commercialization centre that bridges the commercialization gap between early-stage academic research and industry. It leverages public and private sector funding to create a state-of-the-art drug development and commercialization platform with the infrastructure, scientific and business expertise and professional project management skills to develop innovative health technologies through the pre-clinical stage.
  • Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization – CPDC
    Additional funding: $13.8 million

    CPDC helps researchers at academic institutions and private companies move their innovative discoveries in molecular imaging probes from the lab to the clinic and into the global market. The centre provides expertise and infrastructure to identify and advance promising probe technologies and ensure commercialization of Canadian probe discoveries. CPDC’s areas of expertise include pre-clinical development of new probes, regulatory affairs, GMP manufacturing, and quality assurance needed to achieve Health Canada approval for clinical trials and commercialization of innovative new products.
  • MaRS Innovation – MI
    Additional funding: $14.95 million
    MI reviews, researches, supports and helps transform the intellectual property generated by its member institutions into marketable products and processes.  The centre’s goal is to build on an invention’s value, focusing on breakthroughs in the life sciences, physical sciences, medical devices and information and communications technologies. Located within Toronto’s largest research hub, MI’s members include leading universities, teaching hospitals, specialized research institutions, and the MaRS Discovery District.
  • The Prostate Centre's Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development – PC-TRIADD
    Additional funding: $11.33 million
    PC–TRIADD is a translational research centre focused on improving outcomes in prostate cancer. Its research agenda seeks to discover reasons for cancer progression and treatment resistance at the molecular level and use that information to develop new services and products to improve cancer outcomes. The centre also offers research services such as drug discovery, preclinical testing, tumour biology and clinical research to pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and external researchers.