New fund established to support the advancement of Saskatchewan's most commercially-promising health technologies

A consortium of Saskatchewan's leading innovation organizations have come together with the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada's national drug development and commercialization centre, to establish a new $2 million CDRD-Saskatchewan Innovation Fund. The fund will support and accelerate the commercialization of cutting-edge early-stage health technologies stemming from the province's top research institutions.

By Jennifer Thoma
The University of Saskatchewan's College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, Innovation Saskatchewan, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Centre, and Ag-West Bio Inc. have collectively committed $1 million to be further leveraged with an additional $1 million through CDRD. These resources will be dedicated to de-risking and developing innovative Saskatchewan-based research to help attract additional investment for commercialization. This partnership thereby creates a clear and well-supported pathway to translate these discoveries into new therapeutic products for patients while also maximizing the return on government's investment in basic health research from both an economic and societal perspective.

"Basic research is the lifeblood of Canada's health sciences sector, but we need unique new models to advance that research to a commercial stage, models where stakeholders come together to share risk and reward," President and CEO of CDRD, Karimah Es Sabar said. "Strong partnerships between the investigators conducting the breakthrough research, translational centres such as CDRD, industry, foundations and government will enable provinces such as Saskatchewan, as well as Canada as a whole, to be not only the generators of world-class health research, but leaders in translating that research into world-class innovation."

"This a wonderful opportunity for the province of Saskatchewan to leverage its diverse research activities with support from CDRD to help bring its promising health technologies closer to the clinic," said Professor Kishor Wasan, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition who spearheaded and now leads the Saskatchewan partnership group.

"Ag-West Bio, Saskatchewan's bioscience industry association, works with innovators and investors to help bring research to market, for the benefit of Saskatchewan, Canada and beyond," Ag-West Bio President and CEO Wilf Keller said. "Translating this innovative research to market, and eventually to societal beneficiaries requires equally innovative partnerships, from research through to commercialization. Therefore we are delighted to be a participant in this new partnership."

"Saskatchewan is home to a world-class cluster of institutions, organizations and researchers who are helping to grow our knowledge-based economy," Minister Responsible for Innovation Jeremy Harrison said. "The Government of Saskatchewan, through Innovation Saskatchewan, is very pleased to lend its support to this new fund. Our homegrown health technologies are groundbreaking and have far-reaching benefits for the people of this province and around the world, and we need to commercialize this expertise to make it marketable."


For more information, contact:

Barry Gee                                                                      Â
Director, Communications
The Centre for Drug Research and Development


Deb Young

Media Relations Manager

Ministry of the Economy