MARC LEPAGE

President and CEO

 
“In the last fifteen years, we have traced a path from research to economic development. At first, our portfolio was composed almost entirely of human health projects, centred mostly on basic research. Our funding came from two sources only: 50 percent from Genome Canada and 50 percent from the Québec government.”

Today, Québec has developed an enviable critical mass of expertise in genomics, and thanks to efforts undertaken since 2000, our researchers are successfully making the transition to applications. Also, the transfer and use of technologies developed for human genomics are now accelerating progress in the agrifood, forestry and environmental sectors. Our portfolio, which was centred almost exclusively on human health, is now far more diversified. The same goes for the way our funding model has evolved: we now have three sources of cash inflow, the third being the private sector at 33 percent.

Genomics and economic development

In its present mature form, genomics is a vector of progress and an incubator for solutions. It is a powerful tool for finding solutions to a wide range of problems. In fact, the potential impact of genomics on crops and livestock is as great as that on human biology and health. For example, genomics will make it possible to:

  • decode entire genomes in record time, at increasingly affordable costs. This will lead to the development of safe biopesticides, or to the creation of tools to facilitate the traceability of food, crops and livestock;

  • identify microbial strains specific to Québec cheeses, to better understand how they develop and eventually, to control the manufacturing process;

  • plant trees that are optimal for each location, depending on sunlight conditions, water availability, risks of infestation, etc. An optimal forest is one that grows fast and well because it is planted with the most productive varieties that are most exactly suited to local conditions.

Of course, such a diversification of fields of application raises its own challenges, particularly in terms of mobilizing the public, whether in the industrial, government, or scientific domains. This will certainly be one of our greatest challenges in the coming years: to demystify what we do and to communicate it through our partnerships with industry and government regulatory agencies. Since the results are so compelling, we will make sure to spread the good news where it will do most good.

It is a fact: the economic benefits of the investments we have made to date are increasingly being felt. This tendency will continue to gain momentum in the coming years. We owe our existence to governments and to the people of Québec, who have supported this strategic sector for the past fifteen years. Over the next fifteen years, Québec will congratulate itself for having the vision and patience to support genomics.

We wish to thank our financial partners for their confidence and the Members of the Board for their cooperation and well-considered advice. We also thank the management team for contributing every day toward achieving our goals. Finally, where would we be without our valued employees? Special thanks to all of you for putting your skills to the service of this great adventure.