“We are in a global innovation race” – the words today of Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains.

He was speaking in the context of Global Biotech Week, which got underway yesterday. The event’s origins lie in Canada and Navdeep used this year’s official launch to applaud the strength of the country’s biotech industry.

In a Linkedin post, he said Canada “has led the way in the global biotech industry for so many years with advances in areas like genomics, stem cell and regenerative medicine, and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, with the discovery of insulin. It is one of our government’s priorities to ensure the biotech industry continues to enjoy a high-profile and international success.”

And as we reported yesterday, Canada’s 2003 national biotech week was the event that ultimately spawned today’s global platform.

“The world sees Canadian biotechnology innovation delivering game-changing solutions to the global marketplace. Recent successes can be found throughout the spectrum of innovation with hundreds of small start-up entrepreneurs striving to bring scientific discovery to the global marketplace,” Andrew Casey, President and CEO, BIOTECanada, said in a recent edition of Innovators Magazine.

He highlighted the impact being made by a string of Canadian companies, including Linnaeus Plant Science, which uses genetically modified castor plants to produce castor oil as a substitute for petroleum-derived products.

Andrew added: “Biotechnology is becoming more central to supporting the economic and environmental transformation of Canada’s traditional economic cornerstone and job intensive industries, namely: forestry; energy; mining; agriculture; aerospace; manufacturing and resource management. Biotechnology innovation will support these sectors as they transform and compete in the emerging global bio-economy.”