OBIO Chair, Dr. David Young Opens OBIO AGM December 5, 2013

For the 2013 (20131205) OBIO 5th AGM. Dr. David Young, Board Chair, Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®)

Opening remarks.

Good Afternoon-thank you for coming to our fifth annual general meeting. When I was talking to Arun Menawat, who will become the vice chairman of OBIO, about joining the board we covered a lot of ground. I have been thinking about that conversation ever since and one the striking thing about it was the common ground we shared.

We are both extremely grateful that this country has been so welcoming to new comers. We marveled at how this environment has given us the opportunity to succeed in an area that we care so passionately about. We are appreciative of all the help we have received from those around us. Equally, we felt we wanted to help improve this province and this country which has been so generous to us.

I think we all share this common ground: we are extremely lucky to be here in Ontario, we all have an ambition to make the world a bit better for having received opportunities not universally available, we want to help others improve their own circumstances, and we earn our livelihoods in human life sciences where this common ground is the most salient.

I think this is why most of us are here tonight. Coming together with OBIO means something. OBIO is the common ground for creating a change that will amplify the advantages in this province that we have all enjoyed.

As I reflected on why this province and country has been so fortunate and created the circumstances I talked about I realized that it was because we provide a welcome port for new ideas-taking the best from all of us and putting them to work.

We have come together to change the trajectory of this province to create a bed rock of economic growth that will improve the future. Tangibly this is better jobs, higher incomes, better services, more self fulfillment and more opportunities for ourselves and the next generations.

In order to accomplish this goal the best ideas have to come to the top.

We work in an area where science underpins what we do. The Scientific Method is one of the crown jewels of western intellectual achievement and one of the reasons that we enjoy the standard of living that we do. A key feature of this, as is well known to everyone in the audience, is the debate and spirit of inquiry leading to data collection and ultimately a conclusion. This is how we determine what the best ideas are in science and we can use it to advance our goals in developing a life sciences economy.

OBIO has been the place where all voices can be heard because we need to have the best ideas come forward.

We want to hear from everyone-we don’t know where the breakthrough ideas are going to come from. This is where honest debate can take place. This is where people can put aside their imperatives of their day jobs and put their minds to creating the high tide that lifts all boats. This is where thought leads to action.

Obviously we have a lot further to go in this collective journey but as I look around I can see a lot of like minded people. Look around at this great diversity of people and organizations. From those who deliver healthcare on the front lines like St Michaels and William Osler hospital, CCAC, Plexxus, to our universities like UofT and York U; tech transfer offices like Techna, and the Lunenfeld; municipal government like Mississauga and provincial governments, trade organizations like TBOT, biotech companies and multinational drug and device companies.

This speaks well of OBIO for representing the collective interests and efforts of engaged stakeholders working towards a common goal – the creation of a fully functioning life sciences ecosystem.

I think it’s fantastic that OBIO can provide the big tent for the kind of brass tacks discussions that lead to action. I think one of the reasons that thought leaders have gravitated to OBIO is that we are not a debating club. We don’t do studies just to fill dusty bookshelves. We harness great ideas to advance our goals. As in science we use data to parse out the great ideas from those just shouted through the loudest megaphones, or those that have narrower selfish aims, or those that have proven to have failed.

What a renaissance in thinking-Let’s try to make people healthier and happier. Let a million ideas bloom in a thousand voices. Let’s pick the best ones that help us make this a better place to live. Let’s export it so that the world can enjoy the benefits of our high water mark, too.

This high tide closes the circle for us: we use our natural advantages such as in our research and our healthcare system to commercialize breakthroughs that lead to better health outcomes. This attracts capital investments because selling our solutions in healthcare to the world creates high returns. We create companies and jobs which improve the standard of living in the province. This higher level of economic activity allows us to invest in research, healthcare and education to fuel the cycle of growth and prosperity.

I think that’s our secret sauce as a society-our open mindedness to good ideas and the ability to pick the best ones based on evidence. I think most of us are here today because OBIO is the best chance for helping Ontario get to the next level. This is our common ground.

I thank you for being here today and all your help and encourage you to continue with our journey.

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