Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending BIO International
Convention 2019. I was excited for the opportunity to meet with many
bright-minded individuals from across the biotechnology industry to
Hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this year, BIO is facilitated
by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a group representing
over 1,000 organizations across 30 countries.
This year, one of my main goals for the conference was to gain a
better understanding of healthcare priorities from provincial and
federal governments, as well as developments in the policy space. I
was pleased by the dialogue with government leaders and stakeholders,
and learned there is a real willingness to further explore areas of
common interest—addressing the rising prevalence of diabetes is a
common priority. There is a lot of motivation for Canada to maintain a
strong life sciences sector: it produces jobs, investments and patient
focused innovations. That’s good news for all.
In addition to learning from other attendees at the conference, I
was also thrilled to share
news about an important Novo Nordisk partnership initiative.
In 2018, The University Hospital Foundation (UHF), Government of
Alberta and Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. announced the
establishment of the Novo Nordisk Alberta Diabetes Fund (NOVAD). This year at BIO, we announced the
winners of the 2019 NOVAD Fund Competition.
The three winners, Dr. Diana Mager, Dr. Denise Campbell-Scherer, Dr.
Padma Kaul, are leading groundbreaking investigations to determine
gaps in diabetes and obesity care and develop future innovations to
benefit patients. In 2020, the three funded projects will report on
the outcomes of their research, and one project will be selected by
the NOVAD steering committee to be further developed based on those outcomes.
The announcement was well received on the convention floor. We’re
pleased by the success of this partnership in Alberta, and are hopeful
that similar partnerships in other provinces may be possible in future.
What makes the NOVAD project particularly rewarding is that it
enables me to be a part of a bigger team that goes beyond Novo
Nordisk. Programs like NOVAD allow us to collaborate with like-minded
stakeholders and improve health outcomes for the millions of Canadians
living with diabetes and obesity. By working more collaboratively with
the public sector, initiatives like NOVAD allow us to have a broader
impact on healthcare delivery—keeping the patient at
the heart of our work. This is not only good news for patients, but
also serves to live up to the Triple
Bottom Line philosophy that is so central to Novo Nordisk.
From start to finish, the conference proved, once again, to be a
vital opportunity to gain and share knowledge.
Back in our Mississauga, Ontario head office, we continue to make
learning an ongoing priority as evidence of the Novo
Nordisk Way. For me, this means following my interests in
broader public policy, building my knowledge beyond the pharmaceutical
industry. Between formal training and personal research, I let my
curiosity drive ongoing learning, year in and year out.