An Invincible Summer: Lilly Canada and Government of Alberta Announce new R&D Fund

Although summer is a time to kick back and relax and listen to some terrific breezy music, Lilly has been hard at work seeking new research opportunities here in Canada that will support local jobs and create exciting new research to improve patient health.

Following on the announcement in May of this year of Lilly's participation in a new Life Sciences Fund, and with it, the establishment of a Canadian unit of Lilly Chorus in MontrĂ©al, I am really excited about a new Fund recently announced in Alberta.

On July 11, 2012, Eli Lilly Canada and Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions announced a new collaboration called the Alberta/Lilly Translational Research Collaboration Fund. The $1.475 million fund will support health research conducted at publicly-funded Alberta post-secondary institutions.

So what is translational research and why is it important?

Well, building on the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Strategy for Patient Oriented Research, translational research is really about supporting patients. It involves ensuring that the right patient receives the right clinical intervention at the right time, ultimately leading to better health outcomes.

In this case, the research partnership aims to provide Alberta health care workers with more of the tools and medicines they need to support quality primary care and promotes a stronger innovation and entrepreneurial culture in Alberta by connecting it to Lilly's cutting-edge global expertise.

And why Alberta?

Alberta is one of the leading provinces in the life sciences research and development sector in Canada. Alberta is home to more than 200 life sciences companies that operate in the health biotechnology and medical devices & equipment sectors.

Eli Lilly Canada conducts research across the country and spent more than $45 million on R&D initiatives across Canada in 2011.

I am excited about this partnership and the support from Stephen Khan, Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education, his colleague Fred Horne, Minister of Health and Jacques Magnan, CEO, Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions.

With this great innovation news, and as it is July, I can't help but think of one of my other favourite Albertan born innovators, k.d. Lang, and Invincible Summer.