The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) is among 11 organizations to be named Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs). The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, made the announcement on behalf of the Government of Canada. CDRD will receive $15 million over five years to accelerate the translation of health research into high value medicines.

"This is a great time for CDRD and we applaud the Government of Canada for recognizing and addressing the gap between great Canadian discoveries and new therapeutics that improve the health and economic well-being of Canadians," says Natalie Dakers, Chief Executive Officer for CDRD. "Our unique hybrid model that brings together academic researchers from BC's institutions and provides a path to commercialization, exactly addresses what the Government of Canada is hoping to achieve with these Centres of Excellence. This funding recognizes that we are well on our way to tackling this issue, builds on our existing foundation and significantly accelerates our progress and increases our capacity."

In addition to CDRD, three other Vancouver-based initiatives also received $15 million in funding through the program: Advanced Applied Physics Solutions, Inc., The Prostate Centre's Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development and the CECR in the Prevention of Epidemic Organ Failure.

"The CDRD looks forward to working with these groups to accelerate the commercialization of Canadian research and innovation. The fact that BC- based initiatives have garnered 4 of the 11 Centres of Excellence designations speaks to the world- class calibre of our researchers, science and life sciences industry," Pieter Cullis, Scientific Director for CDRD commented.

The CECR competition and program are administered by the secretariat of the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), successful research partnerships between universities, industry, not-for- profit organizations and government. The NCE program is an initiative of the three federal granting agencies-the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research-in partnership with Industry Canada.

"The NCE program is proud to be a part of the Government's vision for a more prosperous, advanced and competitive Canada," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and President of NSERC. "We welcome these 11 CECRs into the NCE family. We look forward to working with their directors, researchers and partners to help them achieve their maximum potential and impact."

About the Centre for Drug Research and Development

CDRD is a unique hybrid organization that brings together researchers, institutions and industry to bridge the gap between primary research and the successful development of new medicines. CDRD combines an academic research infrastructure that enables B.C. researchers in universities and hospitals throughout the province to focus and amplify their drug discovery and development efforts, with a commercialization arm that drives drug development projects and brings the technology to market either by creating companies or licensing to an existing company. The CDRD network includes more than 250 life sciences researchers across the province.