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North Bay college building world-class genetics lab

Partnership between Canadore College and The DNA Company will train students and facilitate research into preventing and treating diseases through genomics.

North Bay and Canadore College will soon be home to a world-class genomics laboratory, equipped with some of the top technology available in Canada.

The new lab, a partnership with Mississauga’s The DNA Company, will help to train Canadore students for a career in the burgeoning genomics industry and facilitate research aiming to better determine the root genetic causes of diseases and determine the most effective preventative measures.

The college announced the lab on March 8 at a news conference.

Construction of the new $1.5-million, 1,000 square-foot lab has already begun at Canadore, in the existing C-block.

The collaboration allows Canadore College to enhance existing biotechnology programs, and develop new curricula for a stand-alone program in genomics. Canadore will also be creating short professional development courses in functional genomics testing aimed at physicians and advanced health care providers. The course content will be directed by Dr. Mansoor Mohammed, Ph.D. who is the president and chief strategy officer (CSO) of The DNA Company.

“We are building the lab in partnership with the DNA Company. They will be using the lab, as will our faculty and students, and some additional researchers associated directly and indirectly with the DNA Company,” said George Burton, president of Canadore College. “It is a joint venture and a collective effort in terms of the research and curricular and program development.”

Burton also hinted at another announcement connected to the lab, expected in the coming weeks. Funding for the lab comes in roughly equal thirds from Canadore College, The DNA Group, and the as yet unnamed third parties.

The DNA Company’s stated goal is to optimize human health and performance.

“We see this as the next iteration of health care,” said Kashif Kahn, CEO at The DNA Company. “Why are we waiting for people to get sick to treat the symptom when we can know 20 years in advance if that symptom is coming?

“We’ve been approached by a number of institutions because the science is so novel and forward-thinking. Because Canadore is so nimble and progressive and thinking like a business, it allowed us to work with them. We don’t need to be in a specific place, we need to be with a specific team that has the same vision, that worked at our pace, that wanted to bring true innovation to market. Canadore is where we found that.”

The announcement featured a short video about The DNA Company.

The global genomics market is expected to reach USD$27.6 billion by 2025 and workforce development is in great need, according to the release issued by Canadore College.