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Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced a $6 million investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to accelerate the commercialization of life science innovations in southern Ontario. Innovation Factory will expand programming for life science innovators and launch the Southern Ontario Pharmaceutical and Health Innovation Ecosystem (SOPHIE).

While the province works towards recovery from the global pandemic, the funding bolsters the full-service innovation hub in Hamilton and ultimately, will elevate Ontario’s position as a place to develop, test and commercialize innovative healthcare solutions. Innovation Factory, in collaboration with the Synapse Consortium, will provide businesses with advisory services, testing capabilities and financial support needed in the healthcare field to develop and commercialize their specialized health innovations and assist to scale up their companies. At a time when innovators are faced with significant challenges and obstacles that have emerged since the start of the pandemic, SOPHIE is well-positioned to quickly support nimble companies adapt to new opportunities.

“Through this partnership with FedDev Ontario, Innovation Factory will accelerate the commercialization efforts of innovative life science companies emerging from the southern Ontario health ecosystem,” says David Carter, Executive Director of the Innovation Factory. “Innovation Factory will build on our history of supporting start-up and scaling companies, ensuring made-in-Canada solutions can emerge with the support of Hamilton’s dynamic health ecosystem,” Carter adds.

Since 2011, Innovation Factory has been a hub for innovation in the region, supporting over 2,300 businesses, of which approximately 25% have come from the life sciences sector. To date, Innovation Factory has identified that over $400 million has been raised by these companies creating disruptive innovations. The Synapse Life Science Consortium plays an integral role in the health ecosystem, facilitating collaborative partnerships between industry, hospitals, academia, and government that extends beyond Hamilton to the rest of Ontario, Canada and the world.

“Canada’s emerging life science sector represents a fantastic opportunity to create jobs and drive better health outcomes for citizens across the country. The Hamilton region will play a critical role in supporting this growth. Through SOPHIE, the Synapse Consortium’s world-class academic and clinical experts, facilities and infrastructure will work hand-in-hand with SMEs and entrepreneurs to build the next generation of innovative health technology,” says Alex Muggah, Director of the Synapse Life Science Consortium.

“SOPHIE will connect businesses, health care institutions and academia to solve real-world issues impacting healthcare here at home and around the world,” says the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario. “By fostering this collaboration and ensuring our businesses in the life sciences sector have access to the support they need, our government is supporting the health of Canadians at a pivotal time, while creating 50 good jobs so our economy can come back strong.”

Hamilton has a strong history in innovation, healthcare and collaboration, and as a result of the support from FedDev Ontario, SOPHIE has the potential to increase life science investments and contribute to other economic impacts including the creation of 50 jobs, maintaining an additional 100 jobs and encouraging 100 firms to either establish themselves or grow in the Hamilton area. SOPHIE seeks to create a collaborative and dynamic ecosystem, designed to accelerate and sustain economic growth and global competitiveness for Ontario’s emerging and scaling life science companies.

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