Biotechnology Focus

Biotechnology Focus November 2012

Biotechnology Focus is Canada's leading authority on Canada's life science news. From biopharma and healthcare to ag-bio and clean tech, our readership includes life science professionals, C-level executives and researchers.

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By Alison Fenney NEUROSCIENCE Maximizing the impact OF NEUROSCIENCE: COLLABORATION INTEGRATION What do a physicist, neuroscientist and engineer have in common? If you ask the Ontario Brain Institute: good ideas. The trouble with good ideas is that they don't keep. As famed English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, "something must be done about them." This 'something', in the case of neuroscience in Ontario, was detailed in two seminal re- ports. The fi rst, written by the Ontario Inno- vation Trust in 2009, proposed the formation of a new neuroscience research institute in Ontario, one that would model new methods of collaborative research, bringing together research strengths across the province. The second, commissioned in 2011, confi rmed that Ontario does have the potential for an economic cluster in neurosciences. That potential comes from our well-developed infrastructure as well as patient and customer demand, but is challenged by lack of access to capital and management talent. These reports detailed a call to action, to create a collaborative institution to catalyze research activity, and develop programs to im- 12 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS NOVEMBER 2012 prove access to capital and increase manage- rial talent. In response to this call the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), partially funded by the Government of Ontario, was formed. The Ontario Brain Institute The OBI was established with the goal of maximizing the impact of neuroscience through integrating and funding pan-On- tario research programs, commercialization, health informatics, and knowledge transla- tion to improve the lives of people with neu- rological disorders, create companies and jobs, and improve care for brain disorders in Ontario. These new models of collaborative research, called Integrated Discovery pro- grams yield standardization of tools and the collection of research data. This provides a rich source of information gathered into an informatics bank called Brain-CODE, as well as enhanced knowledge translation through- out the research programs. New Models of Collaborative Research The OBI's Integrated Discovery programs offer an innovative approach to large scale brain research initiatives. These are rooted in the drive to improve patient outcomes by fostering research collaborations between basic scientists and clinical scientists; by standardizing patient assessments across Ontario; and by engaging patients in every stage of research and development. Core innovation teams, composed of major players in research and industry, maximize ENTREPRENEURSHIP

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