2014 – 2015
Annual Report

It’s In Our DNA

What is Genomics?

Genomics is the science that aims to decipher and understand the entire genetic information of an organism (i.e. plants, animals, humans, viruses and microorganisms) encoded in DNA and corresponding complements such as RNA, proteins and metabolites. Broadly speaking, this definition includes related disciplines such as bioinformatics, epigenomics, metabolomics, nutrigenomics, pharmacogenomics, proteomics and transcriptomics.

The knowledge and innovations emerging from genomics are finding solutions to complex biological challenges including applications in health, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, mining and energy and agri-food. In addition, these new approaches give rise to the need for dialogue regarding societal, economic and ethical implications.

Connecting Genomics to the “Real” World

Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) is fueling BC’s bioeconomy by connecting ideas to funding, research to industry, BC to the world and people to solutions. The ‘digitization of biology’ through genomics offers problem solving with unparalleled efficiency and precision.

The knowledge and innovation catalyzed by Genome BC is delivering economic and social benefits to BC, Canada and regions around the world. Genome BC provides an essential link between end-users, researchers and funders, and ensures genomic efforts are tailored to address issues of economic and social concern.


to date

Genomics is Transforming 
“Patient First” Health Care

BC’s health care accounts for 47% of the provincial budget

In 2014, sequencing a human genome cost just under $1,000

Genome BC has funded 136 projects in health totaling $335 million

Every day 210 Canadians die from cancer – Genomics has the potential to detect cancer at an early stage thus helping save lives

500,000 Canadian children are diagnosed with a rare disease. Now a single genomic test is capable of identifying between 6,000 and 7,000 known genetic disorders

Genomics has the potential to identify the right treatment for the right patient –
with fewer side effects and more effective use of healthcare dollars

Genomics is Helping Protect Our
Natural Resource Sector (Forestry)

Forest-related business accounts for approximately $5.8 billion of BC’s GDP and supports 7,300
related businesses

Genome BC has
invested $77.6 million
in forestry projects, including breeding programs and forest pests and pathogens

Genomics is helping to fight pathogens that cost the forest industry over $22 million dollars annually

Genome BC has
invested $14.9 million in environment projects such as managing watersheds and creating biofuels

Genomics is Helping Protect Our
Natural Resource Sector (Mining)

BC’s gross mining revenues were $8.2 billion in 2014

Genome BC has invested $34 million in mining & energy projects

Genomics is helping drive new long-term strategies for tailing ponds, metal leaching and acid-rock drainage risks as well as breaking down pollutants at industrial sites

Genomic research is
creating greener production and extraction of hydrocarbon energy (souring control), modeling and pipeline corrosion prevention

Genomics is Helping BC Farms and
Fisheries and Aquaculture Feed the World

Each year, BC seafood is served in approximately
2 billion meals in 74 countries

61,600 British Columbians are employed in agriculture, seafood and food processing

BC exports more than $2 billion a year worth of agri-food products to over 130 countries

Genomics is playing a role in food safety and security

Genome BC has invested in 31 (20 agri-food and 11 fisheries) projects totaling over $78 million in BC’s agriculture and fishery sectors with the goal of creating healthier food and increasing productivity

Making an Impact

The Evolution of
Funding Innovation

Year in Review


Genome BC's Success Stories

Message from the Board Chair

Ian de la Roche

The last 15 years at Genome BC have seen huge changes but I would suggest that the last five, 2010-2015, have been the most transformative.

We have been funding discovery, applied and some translational work and have now shifted to a more balanced portfolio with the addition of a new entrepreneurial stream. Now launching our fourth Strategic Plan, we are taking an even bolder step towards commercialization.

Genome BC is well-positioned to succeed over the next five years and optimize the potential of genomics for the benefit of BC while proactively addressing the societal implications of these advancements. We are focused on linking good science with user needs in BC and demonstrating applications across sectors – from health to forestry to energy, mining, agriculture, and fisheries and aquaculture.

We will continue to act as a beacon for innovation, work to create jobs, and nurture the bright minds in our province. Our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan lays out a clear roadmap, a blueprint if you will, to guide us and ensure we continue to remain aligned with the priorities of the Province.

I would be remiss if I did not say how honoured I am to chair the Board and note that I do have very big shoes to fill. I want to thank the Board Directors, Alan Winter, the management team and the Genome BC staff for enabling this organization to continue as it has – unwavering, diligent and making a difference in the lives of British Columbians.

Message from the President and CEO

Alan E. Winter

This last year has been a time of great effort and transition for Genome BC.

We saw growth in companies advanced, increased our investment into innovation and saw a huge uptake in our public outreach and education initiatives. While achieving these many milestones we have remained steadfast and focused on core objectives.

Some of our most promising projects have come to fruition this year and it has been satisfying to see the linkages between industrial partners and BC scientists blossom into significant relationships. We also expanded our hub to include new stakeholders and partners: our contacts with the mining industry continue to grow, new health partners like the BC Pharmacy Association have co-invested with us, and we are expanding our network to include groups like the Sumas Regional Consortium for Hi Tech (SRCTec).

I extend my thanks to Alan Pelman, Board Member for ten years, Board Chair for four years, and trusted adviser throughout. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside him – all of us at Genome BC have benefited from his energy and wisdom. We are fortunate to have great depth of leadership on our Board and our staff and I look forward to a great year ahead under the leadership of our current Board Chair, Ian de la Roche.

We will continue to act as a beacon for innovation, work to create jobs, and nurture the bright minds in our province.

While achieving these many milestones we have remained steadfast and focused on core objectives.


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