“The partnership announced today with the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre will expand our province’s leading genetic research, including life-saving cancer and medical research,” said Premier David Eby. “This will help improve health care for people, while benefiting our economy and people working in forestry, agriculture, marine science and many other sectors. Our government will continue working with key partners to implement a new vision for the centre that will ensure the benefits of being home to some of the best research in the world are delivered to people in B.C.”
Through the B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy, the GSC will play an increasing role in supporting the wide range of life sciences that are crucial to the future of B.C., Canada and the world. In addition to continuing its critical and groundbreaking work for cancer and other health issues, the genomics centre will play a key role in understanding areas such as forestry, marine science, agriculture, biodiversity and the effects of climate change.
“B.C. is a global leader in genomics, thanks to work done at the centre, especially around cancer research,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Hundreds of scientists, technologists and analysts have been trained at the facility and this funding means even more work will be done that will lead to better health outcomes for people.”
The Province and BC Cancer, Genome BC, the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU), the BC Cancer Foundation and other national partners will work together to develop and implement an updated vision for the GSC as a provincial hub that serves the broader life-sciences community, enabling access to this centre for additional purposes to benefit the people of B.C.
“By supporting this expansion, we are providing more opportunities for B.C. life-sciences businesses to grow and create quality jobs for people in B.C.,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We’ll continue to invest in the GSC as part of our commitment to the success of a strong and sustainable economy and health-care ecosystem in B.C.”
The B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy outlines key actions developed in close consultation with industry and academia to position British Columbia as a global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing, and as a leading centre for commercial-scale biopharmaceutical and medical manufacturing.
Dr. Kim Chi, chief medical officer, and Heather Findlay, chief operating officer, BC Cancer –
“Advancing life-changing research for people with cancer is integral to B.C.’s 10-year Cancer Action Plan. We look forward to helping lead a new future for the Genome Sciences Centre and advancing genomic research throughout the health sector and beyond for the benefit of all people in B.C.”
Gail Murphy, vice-president, research and innovation, University of British Columbia –
“UBC welcomes investment by the Province in the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, a world-leading research centre that we have partnered with and supported for over 20 years, along with BC Cancer Research, and the Provincial Health Services Authority. This multi-faceted partnership allows for research capabilities beyond genomic sequencing, enabling innovation in the use of genomics in health care and other sectors. This investment is a critical step in expanding genomics capabilities and positioning B.C. as a global life-sciences hub as part of B.C.’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy.”
Suzanne Gill, president and CEO, Genome BC –
“Genome BC is committed to ensuring that B.C. maintains its world-class genomics capabilities to enable meaningful research and innovation impact. The GSC is a globally recognized centre of excellence and plays a pivotal role in transforming health care and environmental stewardship for the benefits of people in B.C. The GSC is a strategic asset to this province in delivering on this promise and vital if B.C. is to remain at the forefront of this transformative field.”
For more information about the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, visit: www.bcgsc.ca
To learn more about Genome BC, visit: https://www.genomebc.ca/
For information about B.C.’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy:
A backgrounder follows.
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation will work with other partners, including Genome BC, BC Cancer, the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the BC Cancer Foundation, as well as other national partners, on leading a scientific-visioning and operational-planning exercise for the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC), which will inform the next several decades of activity and serve the broad life-sciences sector in B.C. and beyond.
The GSC will remain at its current facility and will continue to have a close relationship with researchers, clinical scientists and clinicians at BC Cancer, and now others from the broader life sciences community who will engage with the centre. GSC staff will remain with their current employers.
Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre
GSC was founded and positioned as part of BC Cancer in 1999 by Nobel laureate Michael Smith.
There are 350 faculty members at UBC, SFU and BC Cancer/PHSA, in addition to other staff.
GSC is a world-leading research entity and is one of nine research departments and programs that operate as part of the BC Cancer Research Institute (BCCRI). The GSC has received significant support and partnership from the BC Cancer Foundation, which has funded $43 million over 15 years. The BC Cancer Foundation is planning to fund cancer genomics at BCCRI for a further $24 million over the coming three years as part of B.C.'s 10-year Cancer Action Plan.
More than 1,000 research collaborations utilizing the genomics and bioinformatics platform have occurred over the lifetime of the GSC to date, involving scientists from B.C., across Canada and worldwide.
Over the two decades, the GSC has organically grown and evolved to have three functional pillars: technology platform, scientific research, and clinical programs.
GSC has also been a lighthouse for innovation and collaboration for B.C.'s life-sciences community and ecosystem, which includes some of Canada's largest life-sciences companies: AbCellera, Xenon Pharmaceuticals, and Aspect Biosystems.
It has also been a major training centre for scientists, analysts and technologists in the area of genomics technology, bioinformatics and proteomics for B.C.
B.C.'s 10-year cancer action plan
The B.C. government's 10-year provincial cancer action plan is designed to meet the growing care and treatment needs of residents in B.C., with a strong focus on the importance of research where genome research plays an essential element in its success.
Cancer and health genomics will continue to be central to the work of the GSC, but it will expand to provide access to the genomics platform to scientists form other domains and sectors to meet the evolving priorities of Canada and B.C.
B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy
The strategy outlines key actions developed in close consultation with industry and academia to position British Columbia as a global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing, and as a leading centre for commercial-scale biopharmaceutical and medical manufacturing.
The success of B.C.'s life sciences and related discoveries are directly connected to provincially funded organizations and funding streams that support scientific research. By supporting more seamless co-ordination between researchers and industry, B.C. can accelerate commercially viable products and processes and academic research for new therapeutics and biomanufacturing.