This blog post was written by Deniz Temelli, Business Analyst at TechAlliance.
After the recent success of one of our life science clients, Jack Lee of MDDT Inc. who was awarded an OBI-OCE Fellowship award, I was invited to attend the inaugural Ontario Brain Innovation Council (OBIC) Plenary Session hosted at the McMaster Innovation Park.
Over the past year at TechAlliance I have worked with client companies that work in many different areas of the life science sector. Through our clients, I get to learn bits and pieces of different niches of the sector, but don’t get many opportunities to dive into the industry as a whole.
The OBIC event really opened my eyes to the great research and initiatives that are happening across Ontario within neuroscience.
The event started with David Bogart, VP of Research Programs and Industry Relations, who gave an overview of current OBI cluster development activities. In a nutshell, OBI aims to improve brain health through a unique innovation system that encompasses everything from fundamental research to entrepreneurial training.
The delivery of this system is focused around three Integrated Discovery Programs which focus on cerebral palsy, epilepsy and neurodevelopment disorders. These programs facilitate industry and government involvement within the fundamental research to improve the commercial success for new technologies.
Following that, the Associate VP of Research for McMaster University, Fiona McNeill, announced the formation of a neurotech building located at the McMaster Innovation Park which will house research facilities and incubation space for associated start-up companies. This is an exciting development that will further cement Ontario as a leader in brain research and commercialization.
This plenary session also included two breakout sessions which focused on getting feedback from stakeholders within the neurotech ecosystem about current assets and capabilities within Ontario as well as performance metrics that could be used to evaluate the cluster.
It was a great discussion that included stakeholders from across the commercialization spectrum. It’s encouraging to see organizations like OBI requesting this type of feedback in the very early stages of forming a cluster.
OBI is a great resource for anyone involved in the neurotech space and if you would like to get involved, please feel free to check out the OBI website or reach out to the TechAlliance advisory services team for more information.
I look forward to seeing the progress of the new incubator space that will be built in Hamilton to grow the neurotech cluster, and I hope that other organizations in any niche can look to OBI for guidance on how to become leaders in their industry.