Ontario Brain Institute and Eli Lilly Canada collaborate to train future Canadian neuroscience leaders

TORONTO, ON – November 12, 2020 Neuroscience is the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system, which is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities, and which includes the brain and spinal cord. The brain is a vital organ in the human body, yet there is so much we don’t know about how it works, or in the case of brain disorders, how to treat them.

The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), a provincially funded not-for-profit organization, is committed to the pursuit of translational brain research, leading to benefits for both patients and the economy. OBI, in partnership with Eli Lilly Canada Inc. (Lilly Canada), is committed to supporting this translational work by filling career development gaps and providing professional training for the next generation of neuroscience leaders. Through its paid Internship Program, the OBI provides opportunities for up to 10 neuroscience graduates per year to intern with organizations such as Lilly Canada.

“Approximately 80 per cent of OBI interns find employment within six months of completing an internship,” says Tom Mikkelsen, President and Scientific Director, OBI. “OBI’s Internship Program allows these post-graduates to explore options outside of a typical research setting, where research comes to life through commercialization and community programs. This hands-on experience allows future leaders to hone those much-needed management and leadership skills to launch their careers.”

Since the Internship Program began in 2012, OBI has helped more than 150 post-graduate students secure internship placements in Ontario. The OBI has placed interns at start-up companies, investment firms, granting agencies, technology transfer offices within universities—in short, anywhere that research moves from lab to life. These placements provide the organizations with access to highly qualified personnel that understand the brain health ecosystem and the needs and priorities of the community.

Lilly Canada is a founding sponsorship member of the OBI, and the only pharmaceutical company to have benefited from intern placements as part of the OBI Internship Program.

“OBI’s ongoing collaboration with Lilly Canada is essential for providing talented individuals with a wealth of development opportunities as they pursue careers in brain health,” says Garth Smith, Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships, OBI. “Three of OBI’s interns have completed internships at Lilly Canada; two of them transitioned to full-time roles at Lilly Canada and the third is a Vice President in healthcare investment banking.  There is a fourth intern currently doing their placement at Lilly, supporting the launch of products in Lilly’s neuroscience pipeline, and we look forward to placing a fifth intern there in the next 6-12 months.”

For Lilly Canada, the Internship Program helps bring skilled people with impressive competencies and expertise to varying roles, where they contribute to Lilly’s mission of transforming the standard of care for these debilitating brain diseases. Lilly is leading a next-generation approach to researching and developing innovative medicines, which includes novel approaches for neurodegenerative and pain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, migraine and other forms of disabling headaches. More than 30 years ago, Lilly established its legacy in neuroscience in the field of psychiatry. Since then, Lilly continues to invest in new research, to bring meaningful solutions for neuroscience-related diseases and disorders.

“Lilly is advancing medical frontiers to address the unmet need for novel therapeutic approaches in neurodegeneration, migraine and pain disorders,” said Dr. Doron Sagman, Vice-President, R&D and Medical Affairs at Lilly Canada. “Lilly Canada’s collaboration with OBI is another great example of our commitment to partnerships, innovation and emerging talent, to ensure advancements in the area of neuroscience continue.”

“At Lilly, we need the best talent to help us continue to research and develop medicines that make life better for people with neurological disorders,” says Rhonda Pacheco, President and General Manager at Lilly Canada. “We want to help people pursuing careers in neuroscience get first-hand exposure to our industry and further develop their skills, and OBI’s Internships Program is one way of doing this.”

Given OBI’s and Lilly Canada’s common interests in accelerating brain research, discovery and innovation, we are committed to working together with the ultimate goal of making life better for people living with brain disorders.

About Ontario Brain Institute
The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially funded, not-for-profit organization that accelerates discovery and innovation, benefiting both patients and the economy.

Our collaborative ‘team science’ approach promotes brain research, commercialization and care by connecting researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, and their advocates to improve the lives of those living with brain disorders. Welcome to Brain Central.

Visit www.braininstitute.ca for more information. Follow us on Twitter (@OntarioBrain). Funding provided, in part by, the Government of Ontario.

About Lilly Canada
Eli Lilly and Company is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by Colonel Eli Lilly, who was committed to creating high quality medicines that meet people’s needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to people who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and contribute to our communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.

Eli Lilly Canada was established in 1938, the result of a research collaboration with scientists at the University of Toronto which eventually produced the world’s first commercially available insulin. Our work focuses on oncology, diabetes, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and pain. To learn more about Lilly Canada, please visit us at www.lilly.ca.

For our perspective on issues in healthcare and innovation, follow us on Twitter @LillyPadCA.


Media Contact:

Helen Stone
Lilly Canada

Fatima Khan
Ontario Brain Institute