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New Molecular Medicine Research Centre to be Headquartered in Thunder Bay



September 6, 2006


Click to listen to this page using ReadPleaseToday, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), Lakehead University (Lakehead U), and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC) from Toronto announced a landmark partnership for Northwestern Ontario. Highlighted by millions of dollars of investment, the Molecular Medicine Research Centre (MMRC) is the culmination of years of planning and partnership. Today was a cause for celebration as the consortium announced its industry partner, medical technology giant Philips Medical Systems, a division of Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG: AEX: PHI), and a provider of industry-leading technology and research.



The future of healthcare is rooted in molecular medicine and its potential applications, and SHSC has an already burgeoning research program that will lend itself to the Thunder Bay initiative extremely well. “Research at Sunnybrook Research Institute spans the spectrum from basic science to translational research to knowledge transfer,” stated Dr. Michael Julius, Vice President, Research, SHSC. “In creating a partnership with Thunder Bay, we saw the potential to not only further our research agenda in cancer, and in heart and circulation, but also to create resource and knowledge sharing based on the plan to invite a private industry partner. Philips R&D is very well aligned with our research goals, and with Philips as an industry partner, the MMRC now has access to an incredible pool of research talent, resources, technology, and funding support from a global healthcare technology leader.”


With deep roots in Canada dating back to 1934, Philips is the market leader in medical diagnostic imaging, patient monitoring, and clinical monitoring systems, realizing that the future of healthcare is in imaging and molecular medicine. This complements another partnership of its kind -- Capital Health, in Edmonton, Alberta. Through these partnerships, Philips is able to create awareness and contribute answers to questions concerning unprecedented potential healthcare benefits.


After a year-long due diligence and selection process, Philips was chosen over other industry competitors, based on the strength of its overall global research and development capabilities, as well as the importance of its overall commitment to the project and to the region. “We were impressed by Philips’ commitment to the Thunder Bay region and by the obvious alignment of Philips’ global research interests and capabilities with the objectives of the MMRC and our Strategic Plan,” said Ron Saddington, President & CEO, TBRHSC. “With the addition of Philips as our industry partner, we have now put in place all of the necessary steps to build a world-class research environment here in Thunder Bay. The MMRC will help drive the region’s economic development transition. With final government support announcements expected in the next few weeks, we look forward to being able to formally launch the MMRC’s important work as early as this fall.”


Joint research to be conducted at the MMRC will include new molecular imaging treatment agent testing and development, validation and testing of emerging technology, and fundamental and translational research on new diagnostic and treatment tools in the area of oncology, cardiology, and neurology.


This partnership and research ‘revolution’ falls specifically within the goals and strategy of Lakehead University’s plan to become one of the top 25 research universities in Canada in the next ten years. With external research funding more than tripling, graduate programs increasing by one third (stimulating the creation of the Faculty of Graduate Studies), the creation of new research clusters, the recruitment of seven Canada Research Chairs, and the hiring of many new faculty – all within the past five years – Lakehead University is taking an aggressive stance in fulfilling its commitment to research and student opportunities. “In surveying the marketplace and academic trends, we saw a strong opportunity to further develop research here in Thunder Bay,” stated Dr. Fred Gilbert, President, Lakehead University. “We fully believe that our institutional goals are attainable, given our research achievements over the past five years and our strategic planning. This partnership further enhances the activities of Lakehead University and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in the areas of research and healthcare innovation.”


Upon the finalization of the multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership agreement expected before the end of 2006, Philips will become an equal partner of the MMRC, providing expertise and resources in several key areas of research and development. “This research alliance is significant for Philips globally and represents a large scale investment into the MMRC by Philips. Over time, this commitment by Philips will accelerate the opportunity for the Molecular Medicine Research Centre to become a global focal point for molecular R&D,” said John Cieslowski, Vice President, Philips Medical Systems Canada. “We are delighted to join our efforts to the research acumen of Sunnybrook Research Institute and Lakehead University, and we are proud to align ourselves with TBRHSC’s clear vision to be a leader and innovator for excellence in research directly affecting patient care.”


It is only within the last decade that the fields of academics and healthcare have presented some economic development potential in Northwestern Ontario. “When City Council approved $5 million to kick start the development of a molecular medicine research centre, it was with the belief that the health sector is the most promising economic driver for our community and region,” said Mayor Lynn Peterson. “The announcement of an industry partnership with Philips confirms that we are not only on the right track, we are on the fast track.”


Thunder Bay is uniquely prepared to lead a major regional shift into a knowledge-based economy and establish itself as a hub of investment in people, infrastructure, capability, and opportunity.


mmrc 06
Ron Saddington, TBRHSC President & CEO, Dr. Fred Gilbert, President Lakehead University
Lynn Peterson, Mayor City of Thunder Bay, Dr. Michael Julius, VP Research SHSC, John Cieslowski, VP Philips Canada


Additional Related Information:

Molecular Medicine Research Centre FAQ

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Research Background

Lakehead University Research Background

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Research Fact Sheet

Philips and Healthcare Background



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