GSK Announces $50-Million Innovation Fund in Canada

Nov 17, 2011

GlaxoSmithKline is looking to advance the commercialization of scientific innovation in Canada with its launch of the GSK Canada Life Sciences Innovation Fund, which was announced at a GSK-hosted event in Toronto last week. The $50-million national fund will identify strategic investment opportunities in Canada’s life-sciences industry, including academic and health institutions, translational research centers, and start-up companies.

“The GSK Canada Life Sciences Innovation Fund will provide a competitive advantage to Canada’s life sciences industry and help advance the commercialization of research,” said Paul Lucas, President and CEO of GSK, according to a press release. “This is an important step in addressing Canada’s innovation gap and we’re excited by the prospect of developing even closer ties with leading research organizations across Canada to enhance opportunities for innovation and create new high-value jobs.”

The fund will be managed by GSK in Canada and the company’s global corporate venture-capital arm, SR One. In the statement, GSK explains that the investment will enable Canadian researchers, academics, and organizations to benefit from the company’s significant R&D experience.

“Canada’s life sciences industry is respected around the world with many innovative companies and organizations engaged in high-potential research,” said Moncef Slaoui, global chairman of R&D at GSK, in the statement. “The establishment of this fund demonstrates GSK’s confidence in Canada to continue to be an important source of development for medicines of value for patients.”

A further innovation boost was also announced for Canada this week via a joint press statement issued by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the UK’s Medical Research Council. According to the statement, the entities have awarded funding via the Canada/UK Partnership on Antibiotic Resistance to two Canada–UK research teams to address the challenges of antibiotic resistance.

Professor Gary Dmitrienko of the University of Waterloo and Professor Tim Walsh of the University of Cardiff will lead a team to focus on hospital-acquired infections, with the aim of developing a new treatment for infections caused by bacteria resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin. Meanwhile, Professor Anthony Clarke of the University of Guelph and Professor Chris Dowson of the University of Warwick will seek to increase understanding of bacterial cell wall growth and production, which may lead to targets for the development of new antibiotics.

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