Paul Lucas of GlaxoSmithKline announces innovation fund

From a speech by Paul Lucas, President and Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline Inc.:

Today, GlaxoSmithKline is taking a major step towards addressing the innovation challenge. We are establishing the GSK Canada Life Sciences Innovation Fund.

This Fund will provide $50 million to significantly advance the commercialization of scientific innovation in Canada by investing in early stage breakthrough research.

The fund will identify strategic investment opportunities within Canada’s Life Sciences industry including academic and health institutions, translational research centres and start-up companies. It will provide a competitive advantage to our Life Sciences industry and help advance the commercialization of research.

Our purpose in doing this is straightforward: we want to “prime the pump”, so to speak, to ensure a continuous flow of new medicines that we can bring to market for the benefit of patients.

The GSK Canada Life Sciences Innovation Fund is a direct and strategic investment in the Life Sciences value chain upon which our business depends. It enhances GSK’s reputation as an R&D leader and a trusted partner in the Canadian Life Sciences sector. Finally, it represents a novel approach to fulfilling the pharmaceutical industry’s commitment to invest 10% of our Canadian sales in R&D.

This new fund is precisely the kind of private sector initiative that is needed to help close Canada’s innovation gap. My colleagues and I at GSK are very proud of the contribution this fund will make to Canadian science and innovation.

Another of the key recommendations made by the ‘Innovation Coalition’ was for Canada to adopt the world’s strongest intellectual property regime.

It goes without saying that the protection of new ideas and inventions is important to a broad range of Canadian venture companies involved in innovation. It is especially crucial in the pharmaceutical and Life Sciences.

As it stands, Canada’s pharmaceutical industry today does not have a globally competitive intellectual property regime, and this is a major deterrent to the commercialization of new medicines.

The Canadian Government and the European Union are now in the final rounds of negotiating a comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, with the goal of finalizing a deal by next year.

This is a stellar opportunity for our governments to press for a final agreement that guarantees Canadian venture companies, and our research-based pharmaceutical industry, the robust intellectual protection they need to become world innovation leaders.

The task of lifting Canada from a “D” grade to an “A” grade on innovation will not be quick, and it will not be easy. But today, the pool of risk capital for R&D spending is $50 million deeper.

Read his full remarks here.