ARCHIVED - NRC Nurturing the Growth of a Biomedical Technology Cluster in Winnipeg

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June 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario

In the Spring of 2004, the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) in Winnipeg began breaking ground for a new industry partnership facility. The facility will drive Manitoba's life sciences sector and seed the growth of a biomedical technology cluster.

Image of the Centre for the Commercialization of Biomedical Technology on the left and the existing NRC- IBD building on the right.
Image of the Centre for the Commercialization of Biomedical Technology (left) and the existing NRC-IBD building (right).


Biomedical technology includes the manufacturing or application of advanced devices or device components; the development of data analysis techniques for the treatment or diagnosis of diseases; and the testing of novel therapeutic products.

The facility, known as the Centre for the Commercialization of Biomedical Technology, is the result of a unique partnership involving the Government of Manitoba and a national not-for-profit organization, Biomedical Commercialization Canada. The Manitoba Government is investing $2M in NRC to establish the Centre and create the technology commercialization services. As stated by Tim Sale, Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, "This Centre will be a unique and innovative national centre for the commercialization of biomedical technology. It's part of a bold new plan that adds to the province's commitment to make Manitoba a national centre for innovation in medical technologies and keep commercialization of innovation in Manitoba." Biomedical Commercialization Canada will help design and oversee the programs and services, and ensure community and industrial leadership.

NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) in Winnipeg began breaking ground for a new industry partnership facility.

The Centre will be built on a strong NRC foundation – part of a national network of Industrial Partnership Facilities (IPFs) established by NRC across Canada – integrating in this instance the efforts of NRC-IBD, the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) into a concerted approach using NRC expertise in support of technology commercialization.

In 2002, the global market for health products and services was worth $1 trillion US. If Western Canada could double its medical devices sector from 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent, then this would create an $800 million industry.

Together, NRC and its partners will help Manitoba and Canadian firms and entrepreneurs develop the research, technology and management skills needed to support sustained growth. Located adjacent to NRC-IBD, the Centre's 5,100 square meters facility will have the necessary space to house more than 40 firms, organizations, and innovation support services and programs.

Programs offered by the Centre

The Centre is unique in that it will house tenants from a number of stages of the company lifecycle, such as mature firms with well-established markets and start-up firms working to define their markets. The Centre also plans to offer space for entrepreneurs wanting to start-up a company. Each of these groups has their own distinct needs which will be addressed.

  • New Entrepreneurs Program – This program will focus on inventors or individuals in the formative stage of company creation and is designed to connect emerging entrepreneurs with firm business skills and support. Interns will assist entrepreneurs with business and market planning, intellectual property and organizational design. This arrangement will not only prepare the entrepreneur for successful firm start-up and launch, but also help business interns find employment in the entrepreneurs' firms.
  • Technology Acceleration Program – The Technology Acceleration Program is tailored to help start-up firms get support and solutions at the right time in their development. Firms will be supported in efforts to form networks and linkages with suppliers, customers, research institutions and markets. They will have access to mentors and experts to help get financial support from government and other innovation and business support programs. Participating companies will have already passed through the initial stages of the entrepreneurial process and will be more focused on product development and sales for their first product. These companies may be seeking their first or second round of venture capital.
  • The Tenant Program – The Tenant Program is designed for more mature firms that are active in the biomedical technology community. They will be champions and mentors to the Manitoba life sciences community and the emerging biomedical technology cluster.
MRI shows reduced blood flow to the right cerebral hemisphere during a stroke.
MRI shows reduced blood flow to the right cerebral hemisphere during a stroke.

The Centre will also be home to a prototyping facility for design support and services. A teaching facility is also planned and will provide educational institutions with a place to hold seminars and courses. This will allow the Centre to continue and expand upon the very successful NRC-IBD/Red River College MRI Technologists Program.

Services offered by the Centre

The Centre will supply tailored entrepreneurship and commercialization solutions to its client firms in a wide range of innovation and technology, in partnership with government programs, industry, and community organizations. Services include:

  • Technology and business analysis and planning,
  • Market strategy assessment and planning,
  • National and international mission and partnering support,
  • Technology law and intellectual property protection services,
  • Skills assessment and development,
  • Investment networking and advice, and
  • Mentoring services.

To find out more about NRC's efforts to create technology clusters across Canada:

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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