2017 SubPageImage

Never miss an update! Subscribe to our mailing list.

For a list of media coverage, click here.


Launch of Ground-Breaking Partnership to Accelerate Medical Innovation in BC

The Rick Hansen Institute's BioDesign Partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the only one of its kind to focus on spinal cord injury

Today the Rick Hansen Institute and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering launched a ground-breaking partnership to accelerate medical innovation and improve the lives of people living with spinal cord injury (SCI). The BioDesign Partnership was announced at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre in Vancouver by the Rick Hansen Institute's CEO, Bill Barrable, and included remarks by the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould (whose Vancouver-Granville riding is home to the Institute), the Honourable Bruce Ralston, BC Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Yaakov Nahmias, Director of the Grass Center for Bioengineering, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Bernard Bressler, Director of the Board, Canada-Israel Industrial Research & Development Foundation.

BioDesign photo
Pictured from left to right: Bernard Bressler, Director of the Board, Canada-Israel Industrial Research & Development Foundation; Bill Barrable, CEO, Rick Hansen Institute; Yaakov Nahmias, Director, Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (Vancouver-Granville), Jonathan Miodowski, Manager, Commercialization & Industry Relations, Rick Hansen Institute; Dina Wachtel, Executive Director, Canadian Friends of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Western Region; the Honourable Bruce Ralston, BC Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology; and Rick Glumac, BC Parliamentary Secretary for Technology. Photo courtesy of Jocelyne Hallé Photography.

The goal of the Rick Hansen Institute-Hebrew University BioDesign Partnership is to

  • grow the next generation of medical research entrepreneurs
  • produce original IP with a high potential for commercialization within one year
  • bring innovation back to BC,

enhancing BC's burgeoning innovation ecosystem, while improving the lives of individuals with spinal cord injury.

In concrete terms, the intent is that solutions-focused research will be evaluated for its implementation and impact potential, with the most promising researchers selected to go through a BioDesign fellowship in Israel. The solution will then be brought back to BC for 'incubation' (to implementation stage) within the province's innovation system.

Bruce Ralston, BC Minister of Jobs Trade and Technology: "The Province is helping medical innovators develop more effective, evidence-based medicines to improve health care for British Columbians and patients world-wide by supporting further growth of B.C.'s technology sector. I am confident this partnership will help strengthen our province's existing ties with Israel and hope that our two unique tech sectors can continue to collaborate and inspire new ideas in the future."

Bill Barrable, CEO, Rick Hansen Institute: "The Hebrew University's Grass Center is at the cutting-edge of medical innovation and BC has a wealth of expertise in spinal cord injury medical research and a vibrant innovation ecosystem. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring these complementary strengths together in order to accelerate innovation and provide solutions to British Columbians living with spinal cord injury."

Yaakov Nahmias, Director of the Grass Center for Bioengineering, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem: "Our partnerships weave Canadian excellence with the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit, bringing the best of both worlds to create groundbreaking solutions for spinal cord injury patients."

Bernard Bressler, Director of the Board, Canada-Israel Industrial Research & Development Foundation: "Turning 'research into action' is a major challenge for health research organizations. This Partnership creates an environment where creative ideas, difficult problems and entrepreneurial mentorship can interact in a structured way."

Facts on spinal cord injury in British Columbia:

  • 12,000 British Columbians live with a spinal cord injury
  • The economic burden is an estimated $372 million a year for new traumatic spinal cord injuries: this figure includes direct healthcare (59%) as well as indirect morbidity and mortality related (41%) costs
  • Secondary complications such as pressure ulcers, neuropathic pain, urinary tract infections and pneumonia cost an estimated $70 million in direct costs to BC's healthcare system annually

(All estimates are in 2015 CAD)

- 30 -

Rick Hansen Institute is a Vancouver-based not-for-profit organization that drives spinal cord injury (SCI) research and innovation around the world. RHI networks international researchers, healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs, investors and people with SCI to find solutions to what is one of the most debilitating, costly and life-altering chronic health conditions. RHI improves the lives of people living with SCI globally, while bringing leading-edge practices and economic growth to British Columbia. Visit www.rickhanseninstitute.org

Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (CFHU), founded in 1944 by Canadian philanthropist Allan Bronfman, promotes awareness, leadership and financial support for The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. CFHU facilitates academic and research partnerships between Canada and Israel as well as establishing scholarships, supporting research, cultivating student and faculty exchanges and recruiting Canadian students to attend the Rothberg International School. CFHU has chapters in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, founded in 1918 and opened in 1925, is Israel's leading university. Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, and Sigmund Freud, were among the university's founders, they were thinkers and visionaries whose genius inspired a university that would have no limits or borders. Ranked as one of the world's leading research universities (ranked 3rd in Asia and 70th globally), HU lies at the forefront of the international academic and scientific communities. Many top prizes and awards have been won by its graduates and faculty including eight Nobel Prizes, and the Fields Medal in Mathematics. The Hebrew University is a pluralistic institution where science and knowledge are advanced for the benefit of humankind in an atmosphere free of discrimination and prejudice. Visit www.cfhu.org

For more information:

Rick Hansen Institute
Carey Lee
Marketing & Network Engagement Lead
Rick Hansen Institute
t: 604.827.2426

Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dina Wachtel
Executive Director
CFHU Western Region
t: 604.257.5133

rhi logo200

CFHU logo transparentbackground 2000px