2015 – 2016 Annual Report

Building A
Sustainable World

Sustainability is the capacity to endure, to maintain, and to produce indefinitely.

Maintaining a healthy world is a multifaceted, constantly evolving challenge. New technologies are helping manage the delicate balance of sustaining a healthy environment, healthy living conditions, healthy populations and a healthy economy.

Genomics is the science that aims to decipher and understand the entire genetic information of an organism. This is generating an unprecedented wealth of knowledge and information. This ‘digitization of biology’ is transforming our world and finding solutions to complex biological challenges. The innovations emerging through this field are already driving a new wave of technology and having an impact on human health, our food supply and the responsible development of the world’s resources.

BC's Bioeconomy

Genomics is a powerful engine for innovation – and BC is a global leader in research and application of this technology, helping to drive BC’s bioeconomy.

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This increased focus on translation is influencing our priorities, programs, partnerships and operations. As part of this, Genome BC is increasing support of entrepreneurial activities.

Enhancing BC’s recognition as a bioeconomy leader, attracting top talent and new investment;

Promoting and supporting world-class genomics research;

Developing a vibrant life sciences cluster;

Supporting innovation and sustainability in BC’s key sectors through translation of research; and

Enhancing recognition of the value of genomics, while addressing societal concerns.

Genome BC At Work

Message from the Board Chair

Ian de la Roche

It has, indeed, been a remarkable year. A time of change – a remapping of directions, a change in leadership but, throughout, there remains a steadfast commitment to enabling and catalyzing the role of genomics in bettering the lives of British Columbians. And, as Chair of the Board, it is my privilege to share a few messages from the Board of Directors. We would like to thank the Province of British Columbia for its commitment to Genome BC’s current five year strategic plan and initial two year investment of $34 million. This is a testament to the trust and understanding of Genome BC’s vision and mission.

I would like to thank my fellow Board members for their dedication and wisdom this year. We have two new members, Len Boggio and Paul Terry. Both bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to impart. I would also like to welcome Ida Goodreau into the role of Board Chair and John Thompson as Vice Chair. This duo brings an ideal balance of health and natural resources, private and academic expertise to the Board leadership.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we would like to thank Alan Winter for his many years of service, dedication and exceptional leadership. Under his guidance, Genome BC has flourished and is now set on a course to shift to a more balanced portfolio of discovery, applied and translational outputs. With team members dedicated towards industry innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization, the goals set out in the current Strategic Plan will be achieved.

In closing, I wish to thank the staff and management of Genome BC and welcome Pascal Spothelfer into the role of President and CEO. I know that I speak for us all when I say we are looking forward to working with him and continuing to keep Genome BC at the forefront of genomics advancement and excellence.

Message from the President and CEO

Alan E. Winter

This year represents a time of unprecedented growth and significant advancement of the vision set out by Genome BC’s founders, notably Michael Smith, some 16 years ago. I joined Genome BC shortly after this vision was set into motion by Roger Foxall, and many of you know that this has been my final year at the helm of this tremendous organization. In my time at Genome BC, the changes we have seen are much more fundamental than just a few applications. Genomics has become an enabling technology and is now integrated across communities, the environment and the economy.

Genomics is the next wave of technology and is moving along a similar trajectory to the IT industry some decades ago. When Genome BC was formed, the human genome project was the ‘moon shot’ and now people are getting their full genome sequenced and delivered on an iPad. Personal, precision healthcare is a reality. And we have learned that DNA is not destiny, but rather environmental influences interact and play a significant role in determining outcome.

In closing, I would like to say how proud I am to have been part of this inspired enterprise for nearly 15 years. It has been a joy to come to a stimulating work environment where staff, partners, researchers and government have worked with us to prove the value of genomics in BC. I have no doubt that the next 15 years will be even more successful and entrust the leadership to Pascal Spothelfer. It has been an honour to work alongside the extraordinary team members of the Genome BC family which includes staff, the Canadian genomics enterprise, Board members, in particular our Chairman for the past two years Ian de la Roche, and others. I thank you all for your ongoing support of Genome BC.


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