Putting Canada on the Drug Global Stage

Canadians invent many things that go on to be globally significant. Drugs or pharmaceuticals is an area of research that we do very well in, especially when it comes to developing cures and treatments for a wide range of health issues.

While we do a good job conceiving of treatments and doing the research, we don’t do a good job of bringing those products to the market. By the time the research has finished, ownership of the intellectual property frequently leaves Canada and moves to its new home in Europe or the United States.

It’s a shame because Canada makes up just point five per cent of the global population, yet we produce over 5% of the world’s research in drug development. We’ve figured out the idea and research part well; what we have trouble with is commercializing our discoveries once the human proof of concept stage has been reached.

Canada is the only advanced pharma market in the world that does not have a billion dollar company to anchor the pharmaceutical industry. We’ve had them only to see them go away. At one time we had QLT in Vancouver, which is an example of our intellectual property being acquired by a larger global player that takes the company offshore.

The result is a loss to ongoing research and to the Canadian economy. How then do we change that? Enter the Centre for Drug Research and Development, a joint effort between Simon Fraser University, UBC and the BC Cancer Agency – an initiative that the Federal Government recognized as invaluable and provided funding to expand the reach of the CDRD across the country.

We invited Gordon McCauley of the CDRD to join us for a Conversation That Matters about nurturing, fostering, retaining and commercializing our world-class ideas, talent and research in Canada.


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Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue presents Conversations That Matter. Join veteran Broadcaster Stuart McNish each week for an important and engaging Conversation about the issues shaping our future

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