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Harper Government Strengthens Commercialization Opportunities at the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute

August 20, 2013
Edmonton, Alberta
Minister Rempel (seated) with platform guests at the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute funding announcement.

Minister Rempel (seated) with platform guests at the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute funding announcement.

Corresponding Document: Photo Gallery

Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced federal funding to support medical commercialization efforts at the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute at the University of Alberta.

"One of our Government's priorities is to ensure the long term competitiveness of Canada's economy and support a high quality of life for its citizens," said Minister Rempel. "We achieve this by making strategic investments to accelerate innovation and assist late stage R&D activities that enable local start-up companies to retain and commercialize new discoveries, such as vaccines to treat and cure viral diseases."

The federal investment of $3,000,000 through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) will go towards the Institute's purchase of specialized equipment that will be used to conduct pre-commercialization activities for the development and testing of new vaccines and therapies. These activities are expected to attract commercial investments that will help bring new medical products to market.

"This funding will enable University of Alberta researchers to accelerate the process from research discovery to commercial vaccine development," said Lorne Babiuk, the university's vice-president of research. "Increasing the number of vaccines developed and their speed-to-market will save thousands of lives and improve both quality of life and economic productivity. For example, one promising vaccine currently under development by our Li Ka Shing researchers is for hepatitis C. This viral disease affects 170 million people worldwide and is one of the leading causes of cancer and need for liver transplants."

WD's investment towards this initiative will promote the development and growth of Western Canada's knowledge-based economy by translating innovative research and technology into valuable commercial applications. The Institute's resources will increase the number of vaccines and treatments that are developed and commercialized in the Edmonton-area, with the long term goal of establishing a competitive virology cluster in Alberta.

Since 2006, the Harper Government, through WD, has invested in job-creating small- and medium-sized businesses, aerospace, marine and defence industries, and supported innovative entrepreneurs in pursuing emerging markets. By continuing to promote new economic opportunities WD is helping to create jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity.

For additional information, contact:

Emily Goucher
Office of the Minister
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Telephone: 613-954-8097

Michael Houghton
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
University of Alberta
Telephone: 780-248-1888
Email: michael.houghton@ualberta.ca

WD Toll-Free Number:1-888-338-WEST (9378)
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-877-303-3388
WD Website: www.wd-deo.gc.ca.
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