Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 240

Clinical trials
Canada captures 4% of global clinical trials,
second only to the United States in the number
of clinical trials sites. Canada is recognised for
its ability to conduct clinical research in
complex therapeutic areas with diverse
population bases. It is also known for the quality
and expertise of its research clinicians, many
of whom are globally recognised for major
medical discoveries and innovations. At the
same time, while the quality of clinical trials has
always been high in Canada, this is no longer
sufficient to give Canada a competitive
advantage. High cost and slow implementation
of clinical trials are reasons for the declining
clinical trial activity in the country.
Appearing before a Senate Standing Committee
in 2012, Dr David Hill, integrated vice-president
of research at London Health Sciences Centre
and St Joseph’s Health Care, Ontario, said:
“Clinical trials are a practical example of how
academic healthcare organisations help to
achieve human, social and economic benefits.
Clinical trials enable us to provide leading edge
care to patients and families … attracting
leading clinicians who want to explore the full
possibility of their professions. Studies have
shown that organisations which participate in
clinical trials also have better patient care
outcomes … they also allow us to generate
products, services, jobs and revenues.”
Canada is taking critical steps to improve
clinical trial actively, namely through such
initiatives as the Canadian Clinical Trials Asset
Map. The CCTAM is a web-based, ‘living’, easily
searchable, interactive database of Canadian
clinical research capabilities. The CCTAM will
allow clinical trial sponsors to locate with ease
the needed expertise, suitable researchers, and
investigative sites to partner with for the
conduct of clinical trials.
The overall objective of the CCTAM, which
is supported by CIHR, Canada’s Research-
Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)
and HealthcareCAN and housed at the
Health Charities Coalition of Canada (HCCC), is
S
ince 2006, the Government of Canada has invested more than
$7bn (~€5bn) in health research through our premier granting
council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. CIHR is
supporting more than 13,200 health researchers and trainees across
Canada. Canadian researchers make important contributions to our
understanding of human development and disease.
These contributions go well beyond what would be expected of a nation
with fewer than 40 million people and can be traced back to significant
and sustained public research support in the field. A recent report by the
Council of Canadian Academies identifies medical imaging as one of
Canada’s R&D strengths along with clinical medicine, personalised
medicine, tissue engineering and digital media; nanotechnologies and
wireless technology are also emerging areas of strength.
OECD report
Yet there are clear indications that Canada could be doing better. A report
on science and technology policy released in November 2014 by the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranks
Canada 12th in overall spending, investing less in R&D spending in 2012
(21.8 billion US dollars (~€19.2bn)) than it did in 2004 (US $22.7bn).
The report goes on to say that Canada is the only developed country with
an intellectual property deficit – meaning we spend more to acquire other
people’s technology than the world buys from us. The private sector
continues to underinvest, in spite of repeated warnings about the
consequences. Business spending on R&D stands at 0.88% of GDP,
which is unfortunately near the bottom among OECD countries.
In response to these challenges, Canada has put more money into direct
R&D grants for smaller companies, invested CA $400m in various
venture capital funds, refocused the mission of the National Research
Council on commercialisation and tightened the rules of its flagship R&D
tax credit – the CA $1.5bn Scientific Research and Experimental
Development programme. Ottawa also pledged CA $1.5bn over a decade
to universities by way of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
240
C A N A D A
Staying ahead of the game?
The president of Research Canada,
Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety,
sets out
Canada’s R&D landscape and the multiple benefits on offer when collaborating
with the EU
Deborah Gordon-
El-Bihbety
Canada is
considered to be
losing in the global
race for investing in
clinical trials
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