30 September 2015

A second successful International Life Sciences Summit in Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke Innopole - SILS 2015

PRESS RELEASE – Organized by Sherbrooke Innopole, the second edition of Sherbrooke International Life Sciences Summit (SILS – was a success, with more than 250 participants from eight countries in Europe and North America, a selection of lecturers from the major players in the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries, and more than 350 B2B meetings. Several major partnership announcements were also made during the event.

» SILS 2015 Pictures!

Under the honorary presidency of Patrick J. Cashman, President and General Manager of Lundbeck Canada—celebrating its 20th anniversary in Canada in 2015—the Summit offered an enhanced program under the theme Autonomy and Aging—Challenges and Outlook.

The opening presentation featured biomedical informaticist Joel Dudley—named one of the top 100 most creative people in business in the world by Fast Company in 2014—speaking about his advances in personalized genomics. Director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and the Center for Precision Wellness and Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai, Dr. Dudley is conducting research at the crossroads of big data and precision medicine: his work uses modelling to predict the most efficient therapy according to the unique molecular structure of each tumour.

For his part, renowned international entrepreneur Steven G. Arless shared his rewarding experience in the cardiovascular industry. With more than 45 years of experience in the development, marketing, and sales of medical devices, Mr. Arless led, among others, CryoCath Technologies, CardioInsight, and Cryologix Medical, and is currently CEO of Soundbite Medical, a project based on a Université de Sherbrooke technology.

About 20 other speakers from large corporations and research institutions—AbbVie, Industrial Alliance Research Chair on the Economics of Demographic Change, Eli Lilly, GE Healthcare, Lundbeck, Philips, Merck—discussed innovation and collaboration with small and medium-sized enterprises, researchers, investors, and the governmental representatives in attendance.

In addition to the presentations, more than 350 private business meetings were held, enabling new business opportunities and collaborations to be explored and developed. A new short-presentation component was also successfully integrated in the program: about 30 small and medium-sized enterprises and researchers, many from Sherbrooke, took advantage of this opportunity to describe their innovative products and services.

Participants could also learn about innovative projects related to the challenges of an aging population and support for autonomy, thanks to a panel led by Québec’s Chief Scientist Officer, Rémi Quirion, and including international stakeholders: Flanders’ Care (Belgium), Lund University (Sweden), Hebrew SeniorLife (United States), and Swansea University (Wales). Another pioneer initiative was presented during a conference lunch: De Hogeweyk, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is a residential district where senior people with dementia live with the help of a specialized team.

The 2015 Sherbrooke International Life Sciences Summit was just the right occasion to launch the promotional brochure Drug Development and Autonomy in the Estrie Region: From Bench to Bedside. Created by Sherbrooke Innopole in cooperation with the ACCORD SAGE-Innovation cluster for excellence and the Université de Sherbrooke’s Pharmacology Institute, the document describes the best of the Estrie region ecosystem, with a variety of expertise in the world of business and research. The brochure is available in English and French and can be downloaded at

Sherbrooke Innopole’s Director of Business Development—Life Sciences and Micro-Nanotechnologies, Josée Blanchard, was thrilled with the success of this second edition of the Summit: “With participants from Canada, the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Spain, the event has gained unquestionable international renown. This year, more than a quarter of the participants came from outside Québec; this is a golden opportunity to promote regional expertise in autonomy and aging, to initiate business and research partnerships, and to draw on best practices. Ultimately, it will be patients around the world that benefit from the solutions created through collaborations started at the Summit.”

More than 150 Summit participants also enjoyed two major attractions in Sherbrooke during the opening cocktail next to Lac des Nations and during the Monte-Carlo evening organized at the mythical Granada Theatre.

Sherbrooke Mayor Bernard Sévigny underlined the success of this second International Life Sciences Summit in the city: “The theme of autonomy and aging is central to our concerns and actions in Sherbrooke: we are proud to be among the seven Québec cities designated as Age-Friendly Cities; our research institutions and businesses distinguish themselves with their expertise and innovative advances in the field. An event such as this, which attracts a prestigious international clientele, helps position Sherbrooke as a preferred living, business, and research environment internationally.

Major announcements

The Summit also provided the backdrop for several major announcements. The Université de Sherbrooke’s Pharmacology Institute and the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) unveiled a new collaborative project as part of their recent association to create a Sherbrooke-ACCESS-CDRD medication development hub. The goal of the partnership is to develop an oral formulation for the PACE4 enzyme inhibitor, which could become an important treatment for patients with prostate cancer.

Sherbrooke Innopole and LifeTech signed a partnership to foster cooperation between the life sciences hubs in Sherbrooke, Québec, and Limburg in Belgium. Similarly, Sherbrooke Innopole and Medicon Village AB, in Sweden, used the opportunity to renew their cooperation agreement first signed in 2013, during the first edition of Sherbrooke International Life Sciences Summit. For their part, Immune Biosolutions of Sherbrooke and Ontoforce of Belgium formalized a new business partnership.

Sherbrooke also hosted the event Go Global, in conjunction with SILS. This annual meeting brings together the partners of Medicon Village—Sherbrooke Innopole, Life Sciences Hub Wales, and LifeTech—as well as other international guests for a day of presentations and visits.

For Sherbrooke Innopole’s chairman, Pierre Tremblay, “the Summit, with its international and intimate setting, constitutes an outstanding place for discussions and meetings for members of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries from here and abroad. The two final days led to the identification and acceleration of interesting opportunities for collaboration and innovation so that together we can meet the challenges of an aging population.

The 2015 edition of the Summit was organized in cooperation with Rx&D (pharmaceutical research companies in Canada) and MEDEC (Canadian medical technology companies), with financial support from the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et des Exportations (MEIE) du Québec, Ville de Sherbrooke, and several private organizations.

About Sherbrooke Innopole

Sherbrooke Innopole is the City of Sherbrooke’s economic development organization. Its mission is to ensure innovative, dynamic, and consistent economic growth by leveraging the start-up of companies that are the product of Sherbrooke research and ingenuity; by attracting new businesses; by supporting the expansion, innovation, and globalization efforts of existing manufacturers; by putting the multidisciplinary expertise of our team to good use; and by focusing on our five forward-looking key sectors: Life Sciences, Cleantech, Micro-Nanotechnologies, Information and Communication Technologies, and Advanced Manufacturing.

Source: Sherbrooke Innopole

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Sherbrooke Innopole’s mandate ends on March 31, 2024. We invite you to contact Entreprendre Sherbrooke or the Service du développement économique of the Ville de Sherbrooke for further services.
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