Statement - Rx&D Applauds STIC Report and Agrees that Canada Must "Aim Higher" to Reap the Rewards of Innovation



    OTTAWA, May 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement by Russell
Williams, President of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)
responding to today's report by the Science, Technology and Innovation Council
"State of the Nation 2008" benchmarking Canada's innovative performance
against 50 international standards of excellence.
    "The Science Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) has done a
commendable job in measuring Canada's performance on the world stage in terms
of innovation. We fully agree with Council Chair Dr. Howard Alper that being
in the middle of the pack is not good enough and Canada must improve its
performance to "translate knowledge into marketable assets."
    "The report identifies pharmaceuticals and medicine as one of the key
sectors responsible for a "disproportionately large share" of the total
Research and Development (R&D) performed in Canada. Our member companies
collectively invest more than $1 billion annually in R&D in Canada. However
knowledge industry jobs and investment will not grow unless Canada improves
the climate to encourage the private sector to commercialize discoveries
working in partnership with academia and governments.
    "We are especially impressed by the Council's call for collective action
to "aggressively pursue strategic international science, technology and
innovation partnerships to advance Canadian interests." The report points to
successful partnerships such as Montreal's biotech / pharmaceutical cluster
and the MaRS District in Toronto. Canada needs more of these types of
partnerships if we are to win the fierce global competition for the estimated
$100 billion being spent on R&D life sciences annually.
    "By building on these types of private-public partnerships, we can
together show the world that Canadians have the expertise, the skills and the
ingenuity to discover and provide access to new and safe innovative treatments
that will improve and save lives.
    "We see this as an excellent basis for the Government of Canada to move
forward with a strategy that will improve the environment for life sciences
and lead to more medicines and vaccines being developed in Canadian
laboratories. Prompt action is critical and our industry is eager to work in
partnership with the government and other stakeholders to ensure Canada reaps
the rewards of innovation including high paying jobs and a better quality of
life."

    About Rx&D

    Rx&D is an association of leading research-based biopharmaceutical
companies dedicated to improving the health of all Canadians through the
discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community
represents 20,000 men and women working for 50 member companies and invests
more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's
knowledge-based economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our
membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare
professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.




For further information:

For further information: François Lessard, Communications, (613)
236-0455; E-mail: flessard@canadapharma.org

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Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)

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