BIO2016: Showcasing Ontario innovation to the world

LSO coordinated Ontario’s presence at the BIO International Convention in San Francisco from June 6-9, in conjunction with the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

To give an idea of the scope and impact of this convention, BIO2016 was attended by approximately 16,000 delegates from 76 countries, and facilitated a record 35,700 partnering meetings. Ontario was strongly represented, with more than 250 delegates from approximately 100 companies and organizations.

Based on preliminary feedback, Ontario – and Canada’s – presence at BIO was a resounding success. We received many positive comments from exhibitors and delegates, notably that our booth appeared welcoming and modern, with a design conducive to both partnering meetings and networking.

As one attendee from a US pharma company put it: “Everyone is asking what’s going on over at the Canada pavilion – you look like you’re doing a lot of business over there!”

Indeed we were. In the Ontario booth, we set out to track and follow up on as many leads as possible through use of a new lead-retrieval app; we’ll be reporting on this data soon.

As always, BIO was packed with events from the provinces and a host of partners; this was a true team effort to represent Ontario and Canada and increase the visibility of our sector on the world stage, while strengthening our capacity for collaboration here at home.

Here are some highlights from the Ontario and Canadian presence at BIO:

The Hon. Navdeep Bains, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, gave a rousing speech at the Gowlings Lunch, opened the Canada Pavilion, and presented BIOTECanada’s Gold Leaf Awards.

Minister Bains was a fantastic ambassador for Canadian innovation throughout BIO and we were grateful for this critical demonstration of support from the Federal government.

The Ontario Networking Lunch featured remarks by ADM Greg Wootton, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and Rebecca Yu, head of JLABS@Toronto and LSO Board Member. She remarked that J&J very deliberately chose Ontario for its first JLABS outside of the US, due to our amazing life sciences and tech ecosystem.

Mayor Crombie, another key supporter of our sector, highlighted Mississauga’s strong life science assets, and touted the province as an incredible place to do business.

Innovation was also the theme of a panel featuring Ontario’s Chief Health Innovation Strategist, Bill Charnetski.

Further strengthening collaboration between Ontario and Quebec, CQDM and OCE announced $1.8 million to accelerate drug discovery in the QC-ON Life Sciences Corridor. Dominique Anglade, Quebec Minister of Economy, Science & Innovation, further emphasized the value of this corridor during her remarks at the Clinical Trials and Rare Diseases session hosted by Clinical Trials Ontario and Montreal InVivo.

Other key collaborators partnered to present topical panels and roundtables, including EY, RBC, and BLG; TO Health! and Montreal InVivo; and IMC/ CCTCC.

And, of course, there were fantastic receptions from BLG, Rendezvous Quebec, J&J, Atlantic Canada, and BioAlberta.

Last but certainly not least, none of this would have been possible without the support and collaboration of our fantastic partners: MaRS Innovation, MaRS Discovery District, Clinical Trials Ontario, City of Mississauga, University of Toronto Mississauga, TOHealth!, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ontario Brain Institute, OICR, FACIT, and BIOTECanada.

On behalf of the LSO team, a sincere thank you to all our partners for their hard work. We hope to see you at BIO2017 in San Diego!