By building companies, ecosystems, and talent, adMare BioInnovations is helping to translate Canada’s scientific innovations into a sustainable life sciences industry.
Translating medical innovations from academic research into commercially viable companies of scale is no easy feat. “The challenge is to identify what the commercial opportunity is and how to connect compelling academic research at an early stage to that opportunity,” says Gordon McCauley, President and CEO of adMare BioInnovations, a Canadian global life sciences venture dedicated to helping Canadian life science companies get established and scale up.
But that’s not the only challenge. Another is the current industry environment. “While Canada has an extraordinary research enterprise in areas like oncology, neurology, and stem cells, and a strong record of globally competitive scientific discovery, we’ve not been able to translate that into a consistently sustainable life sciences industry,” says McCauley.
President & CEO, adMare BioInnovations
Supporting a sustainable life sciences industry in Canada
That’s why adMare was created. Since 2019, the organization has been working to align and optimize the Canadian life sciences commercialization landscape so it can become a viable and thriving industry. “We’re fulfilling this objective in three ways — by building companies, ecosystems, and talent,” says McCauley.
To build companies, adMare partners with academic researchers and emerging life science companies across the country to identify early-stage research with commercial potential and as a direct investor. “We are the largest seed investor in life sciences, and the 29 portfolio companies we’ve helped to build have attracted more than $2.3 billion of risk capital, employ close to 1,000 Canadians, and have a combined value today of more than $4 billion,” says McCauley.
On the ecosystem front, adMare brings together supporting organizations, produces industry events and connects all facets of the sector through the adMare Community digital platform. adMare also builds physical ecosystems, offering cost-effective lab and office space at its multi-tenant Montreal and Vancouver innovation centres.
To build the talent needed to drive the industry, adMare offers several learning programs through its training arm — the adMare Academy. These include two high-impact talent development programs, one of which is the Executive Institute, a ten-month, custom-designed program for mid-career people who have been identified as having leadership potential. “The participants meet four times over the course of ten months, and it’s focused on developing their leadership talent,” says McCauley.
94 per cent of our alumni work in the industry today, and we’re proud to say that in all our talent development programs, there are more female than male graduates, so we’re really reflecting Canada’s broad diversity.
The other is the BioInnovation Scientist (BIS) Program of online training to enable early-career scientists to develop the skills needed to succeed in the Canadian life sciences industry and build their networks. “Both programs have been tremendously successful in helping to build the pipeline of available talent,” says McCauley. “94 per cent of our alumni work in the industry today, and we’re proud to say that in all our talent development programs, there are more female than male graduates, so we’re really reflecting Canada’s broad diversity.”
Strong anchor companies needed
Ensuring a next generation of highly-qualified leaders will help Canadian life sciences companies grow and become strong anchors, something that McCauley feels is vital to a sustainable life science industry in Canada. “When we started this work a few years ago, Canada was the only advanced pharma market in the world without a research-based anchor company. Today Canada has a couple, but we need to develop more,” he says.
To learn more about adMare and its programs, visit admarebio.com.