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Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)

Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation

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778 587-4521


Facts about the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in B.C.’s health-care system

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation will work with other partners, including Genome BC, BC Cancer, the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the BC Cancer Foundation, as well as other national partners, on leading a scientific-visioning and operational-planning exercise for the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC), which will inform the next several decades of activity and serve the broad life-sciences sector in B.C. and beyond.

The GSC will remain at its current facility and will continue to have a close relationship with researchers, clinical scientists and clinicians at BC Cancer, and now others from the broader life sciences community who will engage with the centre. GSC staff will remain with their current employers.

Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre

  • GSC was founded and positioned as part of BC Cancer in 1999 by Nobel laureate Michael Smith.
  • There are 350 faculty members at UBC, SFU and BC Cancer/PHSA, in addition to other staff.
  • GSC is a world-leading research entity and is one of nine research departments and programs that operate as part of the BC Cancer Research Institute (BCCRI). The GSC has received significant support and partnership from the BC Cancer Foundation, which has funded $43 million over 15 years. The BC Cancer Foundation is planning to fund cancer genomics at BCCRI for a further $24 million over the coming three years as part of B.C.’s 10-year Cancer Action Plan.
  • More than 1,000 research collaborations utilizing the genomics and bioinformatics platform have occurred over the lifetime of the GSC to date, involving scientists from B.C., across Canada and worldwide.
  • Over the two decades, the GSC has organically grown and evolved to have three functional pillars: technology platform, scientific research, and clinical programs.
  • GSC has also been a lighthouse for innovation and collaboration for B.C.'s life-sciences community and ecosystem, which includes some of Canada’s largest life-sciences companies: AbCellera, Xenon Pharmaceuticals, and Aspect Biosystems.
  • It has also been a major training centre for scientists, analysts and technologists in the area of genomics technology, bioinformatics and proteomics for B.C.

B.C.’s 10-year cancer action plan

  • The B.C. government's 10-year provincial cancer action plan is designed to meet the growing care and treatment needs of residents in B.C., with a strong focus on the importance of research where genome research plays an essential element in its success.
  • Cancer and health genomics will continue to be central to the work of the GSC, but it will expand to provide access to the genomics platform to scientists form other domains and sectors to meet the evolving priorities of Canada and B.C.

B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy

  • The strategy outlines key actions developed in close consultation with industry and academia to position British Columbia as a global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing, and as a leading centre for commercial-scale biopharmaceutical and medical manufacturing.
  • The success of B.C.’s life sciences and related discoveries are directly connected to provincially funded organizations and funding streams that support scientific research. By supporting more seamless co-ordination between researchers and industry, B.C. can accelerate commercially viable products and processes and academic research for new therapeutics and biomanufacturing.