Ontario Genomics investments drive cutting-edge R&D in health, environmental sustainability and agricultural resilience

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced federal support through Genome Canada for three late-stage Ontario Genomics research and development projects tackling major challenges in health, environment and agriculture through genomics.

The Government of Canada, in collaboration with the provincial government, industry and healthcare organizations, as well as other partners, is investing a total of over $16.3 million into Ontario projects out of the $56.7 million funding announced for projects across Canada.

Genomics research is driving innovations and delivering solutions to global challenges like climate change, public health and food security. Ontario\’s robust research ecosystem has developed world-class strength in genomics with major investments over more than 23 years to solidify our position as a world leader in the field.

Genomics is a key technology that is instrumental in responding to national and global challenges. Projects like the ones announced under the Genome Canada’s Genomics Applications Partnership Program are central to make sure the Canadian research system grow and remain at the forefront globally, leading to more cutting-edge genomics science that delivers real impacts for the health and economic growth of Canadians.

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne,
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

The projects announced today will harness cutting-edge genomics science to deliver real-world impacts for healthier, more sustainable and prosperous communities across Ontario. The GAPP program leverages world-leading expertise to accelerate the translation of scientific knowledge into broad economic and societal benefits for Ontario, such as job creation and revenue generation.

Enabling impact-focused research partnerships between academia, industry, public sector institutions and other partners is a powerful vehicle for generating long-term growth, low-carbon productivity and a healthier future for Canadians. Genome Canada is proud to mark the 10th anniversary of the Genomics Application Partnership Program (GAPP) and invest in our 100th GAPP with the vital support of the Government of Canada.

– Dr. Rob Annan,
President and CEO, Genome Canada

Ontario Genomics plays a vital role in advancing these projects by supporting the development of their proposals, helping them access diverse funding sources, and finding the right industry partners to take this research out of the lab to apply it to the world’s most pressing challenges. Since its inception in 2000, Ontario Genomics has raised more than $1.27 billion for genomics applied research in Ontario and directly supported more than 9,100 trainees and jobs. We have 110+ active projects, 500+ impactful partnerships and have secured $1.34 billion in follow-on investments.

Partnerships between the researchers and industry are the cornerstone of Ontario’s thriving innovation community. By supporting the development and uptake of new technologies that provide game-changing solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, Ontario Genomics is helping to nurture healthy people, a healthy economy, and a healthy planet for generations to come.

– Dr. Bettina Hamelin,
President and CEO, Ontario Genomics.

This investment will support researchers at the Western University, University of Toronto, and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. In collaboration with industry partners, including Greenlight Biosciences, Inc., Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, Metso-Outotec, and Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health, these genomics-based projects will have real, positive impacts on our healthcare system, as well as the environment.

Marking a decade of impact-focused research investment
The projects announced today are funded through GAPP. Marking its 10th anniversary this year, and its 100th funded project, GAPP leverages world-leading expertise and diversified partnerships to accelerate translation of scientific knowledge into broad economic and societal benefits for Ontario and Canada.

  • Biopesticide with new modes of action for control of highly polyphagous mite agricultural pests
    Receptors: Greenlight Biosciences, Inc. and Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
    This project will develop, register and commercialize RNAi biomiticide (biopesticides specific for mites) against the two-spotted spider mite to effectively manage its outbreaks. This novel biopesticide will not only provide the sector with potential economic benefits of ~$600 million per year, but it will also provide growers with an alternative to synthetic chemical insecticides, thus reducing their environmental footprint.
  • Developing novel bioleaching process for Ni recovery from pyrrhotite streams
    Receptor: Metso-Outotec
    This project will use genomics and bioleaching technologies to characterize and engineer microbial populations to treat pyrrhotite tailings, waste streams of current mining practices, for nickel extraction. The extraction of nickel from pyrrhotite tailings in Canada has a potential value of $26 billion, can provide a source of critical minerals for production of electric vehicle batteries, and enable significant (>75%) reduction in waste generation from mining processes.
  • Enabling personalized genomics in health with the CanPath data safe haven
    Receptor: Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health
    This project will build upon CanPath’s existing infrastructure to democratize access to the platform, developing a secure environment within which researchers, clinicians and industry in Canada can access deeply characterized population health and biobank data. It will support the development of Canada’s biotechnology sector and industry research as well as creating the ability to harmonize with other national precision medicine programs. The ultimate result will be earlier diagnosis of disease and medical interventions for Canadians.

Related Articles