Another year has gone by and it’s time to celebrate National Biotechnology Week (NBW) once again! NBW is a week dedicated to biotechnology with events across Canada celebrating all aspects of the industry from food science and nutraceuticals to medical devices and hospital systems.
Over the last year, we have had many local successes in London that demonstrate the capacity we have locally for biotechnology research and innovation.
This year in London, we developed the world’s first treatment of localized prostate cancer
This past April, Dr. Joseph Chin, chief of surgical oncology at LHSC, and his team from Lawson Research performed the world’s first treatment of localized prostate cancer using an innovative minimally invasive procedure. This breakthrough procedure minimizes the side effects common with traditional treatment methods. A clinical trial is underway to further test the effectiveness which, if successful, will hopefully lead to wide spread use of this locally developed technology.
This year in London, we completed phase 1 trials for an HIV vaccine
Another recent innovation that garnered world-wide attention was the successful result of Phase 1 trials of an HIV vaccine developed by Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, a scientist at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. This news created so much buzz that Dr. Kang was invited to do a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session this past week where he talked about the work he is doing with his team right here in London.
This work is being financially backed by Sumagen Inc., a Korean biotech company and the research team is looking for a larger multinational to invest in future studies.
This year in London, we made investments to support our biotech industry across the city
In addition to global investment for specific projects, further investments are being made by city council and the federal government to develop the infrastructure needed for continued successes in the biotech industry.
This includes a $10 million investment into a medical device center by London City Council and a $90 million transformation of the Western Research Parks to expand and improve facilities. Both of these projects will ideally attract more talent in the biotech space to turn London into biotech hub for Canada.
This week, let’s celebrate local success
It is often easy to overlook success stories that are happening right in our own backyard. During NBW, I think it is important to acknowledge the success that our city has had in this sector – and we’ve had a great year with many accomplishments to celebrate.
I can see the growing amount of activity happening at the ground level as I work with great people in the field trying to commercialize their technologies through start-up companies. I hope that in the years to come, we’ll have many more successes to talk about.