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Posted April 4, 2012


Biotech Challenge Canada Asks Youth "How Will You Change the World?" Through Science

National biotechnology research competition encourages Canadian youth to pursue future studies and careers in Canada's $86 billion biotechnology industry

TORONTO - How will you change the world? That question has been the inspiration for hundreds of students across Canada to compete in the "2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada or SBCC", a national biotechnology research competition that encourages students to pursue future studies and careers in the exciting field of biotechnology.

Today, Canada's bio-economy is worth $86.5 billion (1), or 7 per cent of the country's GDP and supports an employment network of more than 1 million jobs (2). This year, more than 240 high school and CEGEP students across Canada have submitted 192 projects that range from exploring potential new drug treatments for Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer to using mold fungi as an alternative to traditional pesticides. Now in its 19th year, the "2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)" is coordinated by Bioscience Education Canada and includes competitions in nine regions across Canada in March, April and May.

Rick Levick, Executive Director, Bioscience Education Canada commented, "Over the past 19 years, we have helped more than 4,000 Canadian youth bring their passion, creativity and scientific ideas to life. What is unique about the "Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)" is the fact that participating students work with mentors and have access to quality lab equipment and supplies. With the support of our key sponsors we can create our own talent pool in the in biotechnology sector in Canada."

Sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur Limited, Sanofi Canada, the National Research Council Canada/ Conseil national de recherches Canada (NRC-CNRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research/Instituts de recherche en sante du Canada (CIHR-IRSC), Genome Canada, and the Government of Canada's Youth Awareness Program, the initiative is supported by local biotech and educational organizations, in partnership with universities, colleges, government and industry.

The winners of each regional competition will present their work at the national competition, held at the headquarters of the National Research Council in Ottawa on May 7, 2012. The first and second place winners of the "Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC)" will advance to the International BioGENEius Challenge held in Boston, MA on June 18, 2012, in conjunction with the BIO Annual International Convention.

"The Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada (SBCC) competition began because we believed that this initiative is an important social and educational investment in our future and that of the entire life sciences industry in Canada. At Sanofi, we have a responsibility to help support Canada's next generation of leaders who will shape the future of our country," said Mark Lievonen, President, Sanofi Pasteur Limited.

Regional competitions began last week with the first event in Montreal on March 30. Over the next few weeks, competitions will take place in Manitoba (Winnipeg, April 11), British Columbia (Vancouver, April 16), Alberta (Edmonton, April 18), Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, April 18), Western Ontario (London, April 18), Greater Toronto (April 17/18), Eastern Ontario (Ottawa, April 25), and the Atlantic region (Moncton, April 25).

The national competition will see winners of the regional events present their work on May 7 in Ottawa in front of some of Canada's pre-eminent scientists. These include: Dr. Luis Barreto, retired Vice President, Immunization and Science Policy, Sanofi Pasteur Limited (Chief Judge); Dr. Jim Richards, Director General, Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council Canada; Dr. Alain Beaudet, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Dr. Ron Pearlman, Associate Scientific Director, The Gairdner Foundation; Dr. Alison Symington, Vice President, Outreach, Ontario Genomics Institute and Marshall Zhang, 2011 SBCC National Winner, Ontario.

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