16 January 2015

Sherbrooke Innopole and Life Sciences Hub Wales sign partnership agreement

Sherbrooke Innopole - Life Sciences Hub Wales

PRESS RELEASE – Having already signed a partnership agreement with Medicon Village in Sweden, Sherbrooke Innopole has now concluded a new partnership in the life sciences sector with the Life Sciences Hub Wales Ltd. in Wales. Sherbrooke Innopole’s Director General, Josée Fortin, travelled to the United Kingdom on behalf of the Board of Directors for the official signing of the memorandum of understanding. She was invited and accompanied by Québec Premier Philippe Couillard, who was on a political and economic mission in the region. The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, also attended the signing.

Sherbrooke Innopole - Life Sciences Hub Wales

 Professor Chris McGuigan, Executive Chair of Life Sciences Hub Wales, Josée Fortin, Director General of Sherbrooke Innopole, Dr Ian Barwick, Chief Operating Officer at Life Sciences Hub Wales, Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, and Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec.
Photo credit: Life Sciences Hub Wales

» Watch the video of the press conference

» Read Life Sciences Hub Wales press release

» View photos from the press conference

The agreement means that the two organizations will work to promote and stimulate the life sciences industry in Sherbrooke, Québec, and in Wales, in terms of both research and trade. The partnership will also work to support the growth of innovative companies within their respective territories, particularly in terms of developing new markets, and to encourage collaboration between research institutes, universities, and health institutions.

This new partnership stems from Sherbrooke Innopole’s mission in Sweden just four months ago, in September 2014. Sherbrooke Innopole signed an agreement with Medicon Village during the Sherbrooke International Life Sciences Summit in 2013. Medicon Village then invited for the first time all of its partners—the Life Sciences Hub Wales, Sherbrooke Innopole, and LifeTech Limburg (Belgium) to a meeting. At this event, dubbed Go Global, Sherbrooke Innopole and the Life Sciences Hub Wales initiated discussions.

Sherbrooke Innopole’s Director General, Josée Fortin, is delighted with this second international cooperation agreement in the life sciences: “We are very proud to be partnering with the Life Sciences Hub Wales, a major centre of innovation and business that is seeking to distinguish itself globally, as we are. To accomplish this in a field as competitive as the life sciences, it’s essential to form multiple strategic alliances. This enables a mutual acceleration of the development and expansion of our networks and even the creation of partnerships with new industrial clusters, as is the case today. This is the virtuous cycle of cooperation! Our companies and researchers will clearly benefit in sharing their expertise, best practices, and business opportunities.”

Dr Ian Barwick, Chief Operating Officer at Life Sciences Hub Wales, said: “It is an honour to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with Sherbrooke Innopole. The organisation’s ethos mirrors ours in terms of its commitment to stimulating innovation, research in the life sciences sector and making a real difference to the health and wealth of both countries. Our members will benefit from having access to a globally recognised hub which has an advanced research and development infrastructure. In turn we hope Sherbrooke Innopole will benefit from Wales’ thriving life sciences eco-system that boasts world-class research and a dedication to improving human health on an international scale.”

“This agreement reflects our shared interest in strengthening bonds between Quebec and Wales, particularly in the fields of innovation, research, and economics,” said Québec Premier Philippe Couillard. “This new partnership is based on a sector of excellence that is of significant benefit to our two economies and that gives them a distinctive character. It will help keep Quebec on the cutting edge of the life sciences.”

Established by the Welsh Government in July 2014, the Life Sciences Hub Wales is devoted to stimulating interaction, innovation, and collaboration in the life sciences, one of the sectors given priority. The industry has more than 300 companies in Wales and creates 10 000 jobs. The Hub also brings together research centres, health and education institutions, and investment companies. It provides financing, assistance, and advice to its members. Supported by eight universities, Welsh researchers and businesses are leaders in various sectors, such as medical technologies, diagnostics, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, and e-health.

As an economic development agency of the City of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke Innopole offers guidance as well as technical and financial support to companies in five key sectors, including the life sciences, for implementation, innovation, and expansion projects. In addition to Sherbrooke’s University Pole, the city has two scientific parks, one of which enjoys strong synergy in the life sciences, with all the components required for its growth: care, teaching, research, and business. The region is the third largest life sciences hub in Quebec and has specialized expertise in medical technologies and imaging, clinical and pre-clinical research, and autonomy and aging.

“Specifically, this agreement means that Sherbrooke companies will enjoy easier access to the Welsh market, and from there all of Europe,” said the Director General of Sherbrooke Innopole, Josée Fortin. “They will be able to find partners more easily there, whether in research and development or for the distribution of their innovative services and products. A soft-landing program involving temporary offices for companies exploring new markets will also be offered in Sherbrooke as in Wales.”

Ms. Fortin is taking advantage of her trip to the United Kingdom to also participate in a dinner organized by the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Quebec Government Office in London, at which Premier Philippe Couillard is the guest speaker. She will also meet the Finance Director Europe group, whose foreign investment and international location division has expressed considerable interest in Sherbrooke as a location for European companies.

In addition to the collaboration agreements with Medicon Village and the Life Sciences Hub Wales, Sherbrooke Innopole has had an economic partnership with Montpellier Agglomération for more than five years.

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