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National Engineering Biology Steering Committee Releases White Paper

IGPC Ethanol Site, Aylmer, Ontario, Canada. (CNW Group/Ontario Genomics)

Engineering Biology– A platform technology to fuel multi-sector economic recovery and modernize bio-manufacturing in Canada

TORONTO, Nov. 16, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, at the 2020 Canadian Science Policy ConferenceOntario Genomics‘ President and CEO, Dr. Bettina Hamelin, announced the launch of an important and comprehensive White Paper: Engineering Biology– A platform technology to fuel multi-sector economic recovery and modernize bio-manufacturing in Canada.

Led by Ontario Genomics and written collaboratively by the National Engineering Biology Steering Committee, this paper discusses how engineering biology is a national opportunity to advance Canada’s knowledge-based economy and create high-quality jobs and training opportunities. It will also ensure that Canadian biotechnology companies and manufacturers are competitive in the growing global market.

Engineering biology tools and technologies are disrupting global markets and creating incredible opportunities for the most innovative organizations. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the “bio-revolution” promises to generate US$2-$4 trillion in global value between 2030-2040. Leading G20 jurisdictions, including the US, UK, Australia and China, as well as Singapore, are investing greatly in the development of engineering biology and are reaping benefits both economically and in the fight against COVID-19.

“Now is the time for Canada to leverage its tremendous advantage and capacity to collaborate across sectors, bringing together genomics and molecular biosciences with engineering, automation, and artificial intelligence,” said Bettina Hamelin, President and CEO, Ontario Genomics. “Canada must act now to build upon our existing strengths to grow a state-of-the-art and robust engineering biology ecosystem. This way we can make sure that we export products to the world and decrease our reliance on imports.”

Canada already has the fundamental elements necessary to create a world-leading engineering biology ecosystem – with renowned academics and innovative companies and development of biofoundry infrastructure for research, testing and scale-up. However, the organization of a coherent network is lacking, and the fragmented approach taken so far has hindered the realization of Canada’s potential in this field. We need to build a cohesive network that encompasses the entire Canadian engineering biology community to facilitate company growth, innovation and the discovery-to-commercialization pipeline across sectors.

Additional Quotes

“The bio-revolution is here, and Canada must seize the opportunity and benefits it brings. Genome Canada and our partners at the regional Genome Centres are advancing mission-focused research and innovation to drive economic growth across the health, agriculture and natural resource sectors — harnessing the transformative potential of biomanufacturing is key to getting us there. As today’s white paper demonstrates, Canada is in a position to align talent, advanced technology platforms and the right players to be world leaders in this space.” 

– Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO, Genome Canada

“Investing in engineering biology has incredible potential for Canada’s pandemic preparedness from rapid testing and vaccines. It also presents an incredible economic opportunity across industrial sectors like health and agriculture, among many others and, importantly, will create cutting-edge jobs as these technologies are adopted across the globe.” 

– Dr. Keith Pardee, Canada Research Chair in Synthetic Biology in Human Health,
 University of Toronto

“Engineering biology is an innovative technology platform that combines automation, biology and computational tools to harness the power of biological processes for important uses, including agri-food innovation, clean technologies, novel materials and more. By applying the combined tools of engineering biology to research and development in our agri-food and biotechnology sectors, we can help accelerate sustainable innovation and commercialization for Canada, positioning the country as a leader in the emerging field of regenerative agriculture.”

– Dr. Steven Webb, Chief Executive Officer, Global Institute for Food Security

SOURCE Ontario Genomics

For further information: Media Inquiries: Polina Martins, Director of Communications, Ontario Genomics, pmartins@ontariogenomics.ca

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