Hamilton to play key role in new $5.6 million genomics program

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Published October 25, 2022 at 3:12 pm

McMaster Innovation Park's Synapse Life Sciences Consortium in Hamilton will benefit from a new $5.6 million program that provides genomics seed funding.

Synapse Life Sciences Consortium, located at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, is the beneficiary of a new federal program that provides seed funding and support to help small-to-medium-size enterprises in genomics.

Hamilton member of parliament Filomena Tassi, who is responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced an investment of over $5.6 million for Ontario Genomics to deliver the BioCreate program.

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The program will provide seed funding and support to help genomics enterprises in the health, food and agriculture, and cleantech sectors to bring new products and technologies to market.

“Supporting Canadian innovators is a priority for the Government of Canada, and today’s investment in Ontario Genomics and the BioCreate Program will provide Canadian genomics companies within the health, food and agriculture and cleantech sectors with access to the tools, mentorship and lab space they need for growth and success,” said Tassi.

“This program will create 160 highly skilled jobs across Southern Ontario and help secure Canada’s place as a global leader in research and innovation.”

BioCreate, in partnership with Synapse, Velocity (Waterloo), Toronto Metropolitan University Science Discovery Zone (Toronto), and Cleantech Commons (Peterborough), will provide over 30 successful applicants with access to critical infrastructure, including lab space, business support tools, mentoring, and tech development guidance.

Genomics research, which is the study of all of a person’s genes, including interactions of those genes with each other and with the person’s environment, has led to the development of cutting-edge technologies and innovations in several important sectors, including public health, food, and the environment.

“(We are) helping to further develop a network in leading-edge innovation,” said Bettina Hamelin, Ontario Genomics president and CEO.

“This project will support the development of a healthy pipeline of high-potential start-up companies in health, agri-food and cleantech sectors, and create and maintain up to 160 highly skilled jobs across southern Ontario.”

Southern Ontario is recognized as a world leader in genomics and engineering biology research. Still, innovators often encounter challenges that prevent promising start-ups from scaling up and moving from research to commercialization.

Participating businesses are expected to create and maintain up to 160 highly skilled jobs, as well as create eight new products, services, or processes and more than 30 new patents. As well, approximately 25 percent of the firms participating in the program will be directed to the investment fund, Firehood, which focuses on connecting women founders with mentors, partners, and customers to help develop their businesses.

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