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  • Partnership will put city on medical map

    Partnership will put city on medical map
    New biotech centre involving city, Capital Health and U of A aims to be 'national leader'
    David Finlayson, The Edmonton Journal
    Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2006
    EDMONTON - Edmonton could become a world-class cash-generating centre for medical research and clinical trials if a new three-way partnership takes flight.

    The goal of the Northern Alberta Clinical Trial and Research Centre (NACTRC), a joint venture between the University of Alberta, Capital Health and the city, is to generate $75 million in annual income from biotechnology companies within five years, centre director Richard Fedorak said Monday.

    "And that's a very conservative estimate. We have all the components to make (the research centre) a national leader.


    Email to a friend

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    Font: ****"There is no other partnership like it in Canada, and we believe we can really make something happen here."

    Most of the 85 biotech companies in the capital region have to go to eastern Canada or the U.S. to do human clinical trials on their drugs, Fedorak said.

    A billion dollars worth of clinical research is being done in Canada, and Edmonton's share is currently only $1 million, he said.

    But with the research expertise at the U of A and Capital Health, and the marketing skills of Edmonton Economic Development Corp., Edmonton should attract companies from around the world, he said.

    "There's no reason we shouldn't be like California's Silicon Valley. The U of A is a leading research centre and Capital Health is rated number one in Canada by Maclean's magazine."

    The centre started operations in 1999, but Monday's relaunch, with the city joining the partnership, will give it a big push, Fedorak said.

    The cost of running the centre is minimal, Fedorak said. They are using office space in College Plaza near the

    U of A campus, and have open access to all the university and Capital Health facilities.

    A new centre for conducting Phase 1 clinical trials, which test the safety of new drugs, will open in March.

    And Fedorak said the area population is large enough to conduct Phase 2 and 3 trials, which assess the effectiveness of drugs in large groups of patients.

    Although the centre is set up as a business, any profit will be reinvested into technology and research, said Fedorak, a medical doctor specializing in gastro-enterology. And because the costs are relatively minimal, the return should be substantial, he added.

    Capital Health CEO Sheila Weatherill called the partnership a "bold and important move" that sends a strong message the region is serious about creating a world class clinical trial centre.

    It will create strong competition for Toronto and Montreal, and keep biotech companies here when they are ready to go into clinical trials, she said.

    Mayor Stephen Mandel said the initiative is a great opportunity to continue to diversify the region's economy.

    "It's the most significant way to diversify -- by using our brain power."

    U of A research vice-president Gary Kachanoski said the centre will provide timely, cost-effective and high quality service to biotech companies, and strengthen the reputation of the capital region's health research and delivery.

    [email protected]




    © The Edmonton Journal 2006


    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  • #2
    Good news for Edmonton! A little more diversification for the region to cushion against incase of an oil/gas implosion.

    Wish we would start seeing more renewable/alternative energy R&D here as well. You've got oil/gas giants in the region that tout they are all about sustainable development. Let's hold 'em to it. Maybe Steady Eddie's restructuring of the oil/gas royalties could funnel some of the proceeds to green energy development in Edmonton.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by glasshead
      Good news for Edmonton! A little more diversification for the region to cushion against incase of an oil/gas implosion.

      Wish we would start seeing more renewable/alternative energy R&D here as well. You've got oil/gas giants in the region that tout they are all about sustainable development. Let's hold 'em to it. Maybe Steady Eddie's restructuring of the oil/gas royalties could funnel some of the proceeds to green energy development in Edmonton.
      recall that Edmonton is tied for 2nd in Canada for most diverse economies.


      Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

      Comment


      • #4
        Hope you are right. In 2002 we were not doing so well against other major Canadian cities according to the study link below. Maybe it's changed over the last few years.

        http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collectio...MIE2003003.pdf

        Comment


        • #5
          interesting read....which is strange because i had always always heard and seen that it was:

          1. MTL
          2. WINN/EDM
          3. TOR

          for diversity index.


          Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

          Comment


          • #6
            70% of all statistics are wrong....
            My hope is that you can finally get rid of the anger in your heart, and fill it with peace, compassion, understanding, and a desire to uplift rather than suppress.

            After all, we are all together on this home, this pale blue dot, the "only home we've ever known.”

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RichardS
              70% of all statistics are wrong....

              with a CI of 95% and a SD of 5 +/- 3% of the time


              Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by IanO
                Originally posted by RichardS
                70% of all statistics are wrong....

                with a CI of 95% and a SD of 5 +/- 3% of the time
                ^


                ..but don't politicians want numbers?

                I chuckle to myself remembering the ol' political days in BC when, during a debate, how "Amazing-Grace" McCarthy relentlessly prodded poor Mikey Harcourt "I want numbers Mike...show me numbers Mike!!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by IanO
                  interesting read....which is strange because i had always always heard and seen that it was:

                  1. MTL
                  2. WINN/EDM
                  3. TOR

                  for diversity index.
                  That is the order according to the Conference Board of Canada. So you are correct.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    YEG - The Perfect Prescription for Medical Research

                    The perfect prescription for medical research

                    Paula Simons
                    The Edmonton Journal

                    Thursday, December 07, 2006


                    Dr. Richard Fedorak is a busy man. He's an internationally respected gastroenterologist and chair of the Centre of Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research at the University of Alberta.

                    But last September, he took on a new assignment -- director of the Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre, or NACTRC.

                    The centre, based at the U of A, is a joint project of the university, the Capital Health Authority and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. Its job is to become a place where biotech, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetics companies -- both local and international -- can come to test their new drugs, medical technologies or products on human subjects.
                    Its larger goal? To make Edmonton Western Canada's leading clinical research centre by the end of the decade.

                    The U of A, Capital Health and the Alberta Cancer Board already participate in various national and international drug and treatment trials.

                    But given that Edmonton is home to 89 biotech firms, some tiny, some traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ, Fedorak saw a need for something more, something that could put Edmonton in the big leagues.

                    And so, in March, NACTRC will open a remarkable new facility at the University of Alberta Hospital -- a state-of-the-art laboratory for phase-one drug trials -- the so-called "first in man" trials every new treatment must undergo to make sure it is safe for human beings.

                    The site, officially called the Dr. Peter M. Crockford Clinical Investigation Unit, will be the first of its kind in Canada, the first such testing centre built within an active treatment hospital.

                    The new 810-square-metre unit will have beds for 12 patient volunteers. During particularly extreme drug trials, subjects have to eat exactly the same food, drink exactly the same drinks, at exactly the same time. Often, they're not allowed to leave the test site. In some cases, their every heartbeat, twitch and bowel movement has to be monitored, 24 hours a day.

                    The new clinical investigation unit will have everything from a video surveillance system to portable cardiac monitoring units to a secure full-service kitchen to prepare carefully calibrated meals for patients in the study. And because the unit is part of the Walter C. Mackenzie Health Science Centre, researchers running clinical trials will have access to all the hospital's equipment and staff. If test subjects need MRIs or CT scans, if a patient has a severe adverse reaction to an experimental drug, the full services of the hospital will be right at hand. And the U of A's arms-length bio-ethics review panel also will be handy to make sure all trials meet ethical protocols.

                    "There are other phase-one units in Canada," says Fedorak. "But none comparable to this."

                    Staging more clinical trials in Edmonton, he says, pays dividends in several major ways. First, it could give Edmontonians with serious illnesses first crack at experimental treatments and therapies. Second, it gives the U of A's researchers a chance to pilot their in-house research more easily. And the centre should be a huge boon to local biotech firms -- allowing them convenient, affordable access to facilities to test their products, allowing them to spend their research and development dollars right at home.

                    But Fedorak doesn't see the new clinical investigation unit as a facility that will serve only local academics and companies. His dream is to attract major clients from across Canada and around the world.

                    Next week, in fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is sending auditors to Edmonton to inspect the unit and make sure it conforms to all the American criteria for phase-one trials.

                    And in the last few weeks, says Fedorak, he has received calls from some of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, asking about running trials in Edmonton.

                    "Phase-one trials are a very coveted business."

                    And business is the word for it. Private companies using NACTRC's facility will pay for the privilege. In the last couple of years, the centre has brought in annual revenues of about $10 million to $12 million. By 2010, Fedorak foresees revenues of $75 million a year. All profits will be reinvested in local medical and biotech research.

                    It's another encouraging step in Edmonton's efforts to diversify our economy, to put us on the map, not just as an oil and gas town but as a respected centre for medical research and treatment. The clinical investigation unit will add to the critical mass of our biotech sector, making it easier to recruit top researchers and attract investment dollars.

                    Think of it as a phase-one trial for Edmonton -- a chance to see if we really can take this city to the next level.
                    [email protected]

                    DIFFERENT PHASES

                    - A phase-one clinical trial: also known as a "first in man" trial, it's a first-stage test of a new drug or medical device. Testing is done on a small group of volunteers to make sure the treatment is safe for human subjects and to establish effective dosages.

                    - A phase-two clinical trial: testing is done on a larger group of subjects, a control group and a group getting the treatment that's being tested.

                    The goal is to see how well the drug works and to ensure it is safe for human consumption.

                    - A phase-three clinical trial: a much larger trial, which may include thousands of patients in a number of sites around the world and can last for several years. The goal is to establish definitively whether a new treatment or drug works as well or better than the best treatments currently available.

                    --30--© The Edmonton Journal 2006

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