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More Than Engaging with Government – Let’s Work Together

By November 21, 2017No Comments

On November 2, 2017, I had the pleasure and opportunity to represent LifeSciences BC board, together with Nancy Harrison, Chair, Board of Directors, Dr. Lesley Esford, President & CEO, along with other board members, Dr. Pieter Cullis and Scott Phillips. Our visit included breakfast with the NDP caucus and lunch with the Liberal caucus, where Dr. Esford presented an overview of the life sciences sector in B.C.

What we shared with government were several impressive and enlightening facts:

  1. There are 450 life science companies in B.C.
  2. Vancouver is rated as “Best City in the World” to start a new Business by CityUp Index and was rated by as the “#1 Best Startup Ecosystem” by Startup Genome to support entrepreneurs and raise seed rounds in Canada.
  3. B.C. is the only province in Canada, to develop and launch several novel products generating billions of dollars in cumulative revenue. Reflecting that B.C.’s life science companies have a track record of taking blockbuster products with historic regularity, from idea to market.A few of these products are:
    • Visudyne® by QLT
    • Taxus® by Agniotech
    • Mozobil® by Anormed
    • Vyxeos®, developed by Celator (recently acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals) and soon to be launched.
  4. B.C. is the only province and Vancouver one of the few cities in North America, except Boston and San Francisco, with three companies, ZymeworksInnovative Targeting Solutions and Abcellera, signing global partnerships with 15 of the world’s largest global pharma companies, worth billions of dollars.
  5. In 2017, B.C. had the largest IPO in recent Canadian Biotech History when Zymeworks raised $80M. Several other companies including Aurinia, Arbutus and Aquinox raised hundreds of millions of dollars in public markets.
  6. B.C.’s life sciences sector, similar in size to the film industry by most metrics, contributes significantly more to the B.C. GDP than the film industry does. We also contribute to constant growth of solid middle-class jobs that include women, minorities and new immigrants.