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Genomics working for the economy and the environment


Montréal, October 15, 2014

Marc LePage, President and CEO of Génome Québec, is proud to announce that Québec has been awarded funding for two major research projects under the Genomics Application Partnership Program (GAPP), a Canadian competition organized by Genome Canada. GAPP was created to encourage partnerships between university researchers and industry users.

Projects funded under GAPP focus on bringing to life innovations that generate significant social and economic benefits in the short term. Industry and various users in both Québec and abroad have shown great interest and been active participants in the program. “Involvement in this program reflects the key role played by genomics in the expansion of the Québec bio-economy,” Marc LePage says.

The Québec projects announced this morning in Guelph, Ontario by the Honorable Ed Holder, Canada’s Minister of State (Science and Technology) represent an investment of nearly $7 million. Funding was provided by private partners (50%), Genome Canada through Industry Canada (33%) and Génome Québec through the ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et des Exportations (17%).

Elanco and Concordia University: A major international partnership

Professor Adrian Tsang of Concordia University has forged a partnership with Elanco, a leading U.S.-based animal health company. His project is aiming to improve pork and poultry feed with a next-generation enzyme supplement. In Canada alone, the pork and poultry industries spend 70% of their production costs on animal feed. Unfortunately, nearly one-quarter of the feed goes to waste since the animals do not have the enzymes to digest it properly. The products to come out of this project should significantly improve feed efficiency, leading to higher profit margins for producers. “For us, this project is about much more than just numbers. It will, of course, improve productivity, but more importantly, we believe that innovation in animal productivity is a vital and sustainable solution to feeding the world’s growing population,” explains Allan Boonstra, Director at Elanco Canada.

Agropur and Université Laval: Improving the prosperity of the Québec cheese industry

The second project, which focuses on supporting the cheese industry, is spearheaded by Professor Steve Labrie of Université Laval in partnership with Agropur, the largest dairy cooperative in Canada and one of the leading dairy processors in North America. Cheesemaking is a highly complex operation and a less-than-optimal ripening process compromises shelf life, causes product returns and leads to significant production delays, which all have a negative impact on profitability.

To address these problems, Agropur will use genomics to produce competitive products in greater quantities and ensure better revenues for the members of the cooperative. “With this research program, we will be able to develop a new genetic tool very rapidly to help us better control production, limit losses and make high quality cheeses with a longer shelf life and fewer returns,” Michel Pouliot, Vice-President, Research and Development at Agropur, explains.

Genomics is out of the lab

“After more than 14 years of investing in genomic research in Québec, we can be proud of what Québec researchers have achieved. Genomics has moved out of the lab and into the marketplace to serve the needs of industries and provide sustainable solutions to the challenges they face,” Génome Québec’s Marc LePage explains. What is most encouraging and promising is the way this program aligns university research with industry needs, generating momentum toward innovation.”

About Génome Québec

Since May 2000, Génome Québec has been the driving force behind the development of genomics in Québec. By supporting over 80 projects and 900 researchers and managing the operations of the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre, Génome Québec is helping to accelerate the discovery of new applications for genomics in strategic areas, such as personalized health care, forestry, the environment and agrifood.

The funds invested by Génome Québec are provided by the Government of Québec, the Government of Canada, through Genome Canada, and private partners.

For more information, visit

About Elanco

Innovation and leadership that improve animal health and performance – Elanco is a world leader in developing products and services that enhance animal health, wellness and performance. Elanco products contribute to the production of an affordable and abundant supply of food. Our half-century of innovative products, services and global partnerships help to fulfill our vision of food and companionship enriching life. Elanco operates from a global headquarters in Greenfield, Indiana, and employs over 2,500 people in more than 40 countries. Elanco is a division of Eli Lilly and Company, a Fortune 500 global pharmaceutical corporation in Indianapolis with a heritage more than 130 years strong.

About Agropur

Founded in 1938, Agropur is an important player in the North American dairy industry. With sales of $3.8 billion at the end of the 2013 fiscal year, the Cooperative is a source of pride for its 3,449 dairy producer owners and 7,500 employees. Agropur now processes more than 5.1 billion litres (11.2 billion pounds) of milk per year in its 36 plants across North America, and boasts an impressive line of products that includes such prestigious brands as Natrel, Québon, OKA, Farmers, Central Dairies, Sealtest, biPro, Island Farms, Agropur Grand Cheddar and finally Olympic and iögo, from Ultima Food, a Agropur Cooperative joint venture. Visit Agropur's website.

About Concordia University

Olympic gold medalists. Oscar winners. Satellite Designers. Concordia University has them all.

Creative. Diverse. Concordia pushes boundaries by crossing disciplines. Acclaimed fields include aerospace, nanotechnology, journalism, psychology, genomics, cinema, studio arts, finance and sustainable business.

Bold, urban energy. 46,000 students in Montreal, North America’s most exciting city. Leading research, top teaching, engaged community — transformative experiences through flexible, friendly service.

Celebrating 40 years in 2014, Concordia defines the next-generation university.

About Université Laval

Located in Quebec’s historic capital, a World Heritage City, Université Laval is the first French-language university in North America. It is one of Canada’s leading research universities, ranking 7th among the country’s 94 university-level institutions in terms of research funding with more than $300 million devoted to research last year. Université Laval’s 1,400 professors-researchers share their knowledge with 48,000 students, 10,000 of whom are enrolled in graduate-level programs.


For more information, please contact:

Éva Kammer

Director, Communications

Génome Québec

514 398-0668, ext. 206

[email protected]