Canada is building the future of innovation in biotechnology

What do you imagine when you think of a lab researcher and where they work? Do you think of someone in a long white coat, testing various specimens while using complicated-looking laboratory equipment? Perhaps they are diligently using a microscope while surrounded by vials and beakers that contain coloured substances.

Regarding where researchers conduct their work, you may have heard that they do it “wet labs.” Not to be confused with “dry labs,” a wet lab is where drugs, chemicals, and other types of biological matter can be analyzed and tested using various liquids.

Now, when we say “wet lab,” what first comes to mind?

Now, you’ve probably already guessed that we’re not going to pivot and talk about dogs. (But that was a cute distraction, wasn’t it?) Instead, we’re going to talk about one wet and dry lab in particular, where Montreal-based academics and researchers conduct experiments, observation, and practice their field of study.

And this isn’t your typical research centre or university lab; you may be inclined to say it’s both. Plus, those working inside are doing something unique: participating in programs that help them create products and build a startup based on their scientific discoveries. So are you curious? While you may not understand life sciences like the researchers we’re talking about, you likely have a better grasp on the importance of biotechnology (especially during the pandemic) and the need to grow and innovate in this field.

A lab-to-market opportunity for researchers in Montreal

A few minutes west of Montreal’s downtown core is Canada’s epicentre of where biotechnology and interdisciplinary science meet opportunities in entrepreneurship: the BioHub. This state-of-the-art facility is a biotech accelerator run by District 3 (D3), offering life sciences innovators much-needed assistance and access to one-on-one coaching, programs, expertise, lab space, and equipment.

The idea of creating BioHub was no simple task and took years to ideate. After touring similar spaces in North America and Europe, Xavier-Henri Hervé, Co-Founder & Executive Director of District 3, knew that Canada needed a biotech accelerator to nurture all the incredible talent we have and help them realize new opportunities.

We’re super honoured to welcome Xavier-Henri Hervé, who will tell us more about the BioHub in detail..Join us this Friday 22nd at noon for INNOVATORS, our online live talk-show.

The endless opportunities in biotechnology: How District 3 supports innovation

The push from basic science to technology is needed in many fields such as health, climate change, and many industries. All of the challenges that today’s society is facing require an interdisciplinary approach.

As an example, machine learning and mathematical modelling are being used to predict outcomes in the context of numerous pathologies such as cancer, epilepsy, cardiovascular diseases.

For instance, AI algorithms are trained on encephalography data to predict future seizures in epileptic patients https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0099334). Another example is cancer biology, where integrated mathematical oncology has grown to be a promising field. In this kind of approach, mathematical modellers, biologists, and clinicians work together to predict cancer evolution with mathematical models integrated with biological and clinical data (https://www.nature.com/articles/nrc2329/).

Moreover, novel biotechnologies like DNA barcodes (https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3841 ), aallow for the availability of quantitative data that renders the use of mathematical models more potent than ever in this field. Such interdisciplinary approaches typically involve computer scientists, biologists, physicians, mathematical modellers, and engineers as all the skillsets are required at different stages of the process.

District 3 is where all the innovations listed above could become products consumers and industries use. At BioHub, it’s the perfect example of an intersection between academia and industry, opening opportunities for scientists and researchers in emerging technologies to understand the market viability of their discoveries and ideas.

Join us on Friday, January 22nd, for INNOVATORS: our live talk at noon to know more about the BioHub.

Any project in biotechnology? Looking for a super-friendly place to develop products based on your scientific discoveries and ideas? Check out District 3’s open winter programs and apply today!

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