Stem Cell Research in Canada has never been Stronger

December 12, 2016 (Ottawa) – Stem cell research in Canada has never been stronger. Today, Bayer AG and Versant Ventures announced a $225 million investment to establish a new stem cell therapeutics company, BlueRock. This firm will focus on developing stem cell based therapies to fight cardiovascular disease and degenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s.

“We are a nation of leaders and innovators, it is in our DNA,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki, OC, Scientific Director & CEO, Stem Cell Network. “I am thrilled to see Dr. Gordon Keller, an SCN supported investigator, and Dr. Michael LaFlamme from UHN providing the scientific support and backbone for this new venture.”

It is because of the scientific strength of Canada’s stem cell research sector that companies such as Bayer and Versant are choosing to invest here. Canada is well positioned to realize greater economic and health value from the regenerative medicine sector in the coming decades. However, this will only be possible with balanced and stable support for science across the research and commercialization pipeline.

In Canada, chronic diseases absorb approximately 67 percent of all direct healthcare costs and their burden on the health-care system continues to outpace economic growth. Treating chronic disease costs a staggering $68 billion a year. However, the disruptive power of stem cells makes it possible to turn the page in the decades to come. Today’s announcement is a clear demonstration that stem cell research will be a game changer for Canada’s economy and the health of Canadians.

“The Stem Cell Network would like to congratulate its commercialization partner, the Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) on being selected to provide support in the production of various stem cell types to be used by Blue Rock. Today’s announcement demonstrates the important role they are playing within the sector, stated Dr. Rudnicki.”


Cate Murray

Director, Communications & External Affairs