Two scientists in a lab

Global Biotech Week: Let’s Celebrate Innovative Partnerships

François Laflamme  | September 25, 2017

Tags |  Policy

Today’s guest post comes from François Laflamme, Director, Government Relations and Innovation at Eli Lilly Canada. 

Global Biotech Week reminds us of the important role of innovation and investment in the life sciences sector. I recently attended the sixth annual TVM Capital Life Science Conference in Montreal. The event brought together more than 200 participants from Asia, Europe, the United States, and Canada. This year, the conference hosted health care experts and venture capital groups from across the globe to talk about the latest trends in our industry.

TVM Life Science Ventures VII is a venture capital fund created to promote research and development of new medical discoveries. TVM Life Science Ventures VII is a unique collaboration between TVM Capital Life Science, Canadian institutional investors, and Lilly to fund and access innovation, to manage risk, and share rewards. Our partnership with TVM Capital in this fund helps ensure companies have the funds and know-how they need to take their discoveries from the lab to clinical trials.

At Lilly, we understand the importance of supporting an innovative life sciences ecosystem in Canada. It’s one of the reasons we're proud to be the cornerstone investor of the TVM fund. Our oldest partnership dates back to the early 1920s. Eli Lilly and Company began a research collaboration with scientists at the University of Toronto, including Canada’s own Dr. Frederick Banting and Mr. Charles Best, which resulted in the world’s first commercially-available insulin. 

Investments in the life sciences are vital to the creation of an innovation economy in Canada. Promoting innovation has long been a key priority for federal and provincial governments, as well as the private sector in Canada. We’ve already celebrated a few successes – like the federal government’s Innovation Agenda, the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, the Quebec Life Science strategy, and the creation of the Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist in Ontario.  

As government and the private sector work together to establish a thriving innovative ecosystem, it’s important to remember which factors help attract investment. An internationally competitive Intellectual Property regime, a world-renowned scientific community, and a thriving biotech industry are all important factors. Integrating more innovation into our health care system and appropriately recognizing the value that it brings are also key. Federal and provincial government departments of economy, science and health must work together to ensure a coherent policy framework for the life sciences industry.

Events like Global Biotech Week remind us that the life sciences are a cornerstone of the global economy, and that we need to invest in progress. By creating an environment with attractive opportunities for investment, we can build a thriving, innovative life sciences ecosystem…and one that will pave the way for the discovery of new and important medicines.