BEAM facility attracts biomedical innovators to new collaborative healthcare project

Recipient: McMaster University - Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (BEAM) centre
Region: Hamilton
Program: Investing in Commercialization Partnerships
Total funding allocated: up to $11.96 million

Important biomedical solutions for Canadians being creating through the BEAM project centre
Important biomedical solutions for Canadians being creating through the BEAM project centre

The McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, Ontario, has become a beacon for life-science research, attracting world-class researchers to a highly anticipated, new bioengineering facility. The Fraunhofer-McMaster Project Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (BEAM), created through a joint partnership with McMaster University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, welcomes industry professionals and leading academics in the fields of medicine, engineering and manufacturing. FedDev Ontario supported the development of BEAM, which opened early in 2018, with a $12 million contribution through the Investing in Commercialization Partnerships initiative.

“FedDev Ontario funding was absolutely foundational to the establishment of BEAM,” says John Brennan, Director of BEAM. “When we came up with the idea for the project centre in 2013, there was obviously a need to create a new space, to get equipment into that space and to find people who were going to be the ones running it. FedDev Ontario’s investment was really the key funding that helped all of this happen.”

Since the 20,000-square-foot facility’s opening, BEAM researchers have been exploring and developing sought-after health care tools and technologies, preparing them for the marketplace. With a number of active industry partners, the collaborative centre is currently focusing on cancer treatment issues, working to locate biomarkers (markers in the body that signify disease) and developing new biomaterials that help speed up the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and infections.

“All of these areas of research have huge benefits to society and, over the next several years, we expect to ramp up our abilities in each of these areas and link them together,” says Brennan. “For example, the biomarker discovery and the diagnostic technologies go hand-in-hand, and thanks to FedDev Ontario funding, we’re already working with colleagues in Germany to develop new tests that will do more for accurate detection of prostate cancer and infectious disease.”

With its important emphasis on science-based innovation, BEAM is positioning southern Ontario for continued success in this collaborative field. BEAM is expecting to create nearly 100 jobs within its facility, attracting new talent to the region while also accelerating the growth of small businesses in the area.

“There is significant potential for spin-off companies that will emerge out of BEAM’s work in these various areas,” says Brennan.

According to Brennan, “Ultimately, there’s going to be a huge benefit. Not just to the Hamilton region, but to society in general from the emergence of the technologies we’re developing.”

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FedDev Ontario is foundational in helping us develop new technologies—in moving them from the lab bench to commercialization, where they can really benefit society.
John Brennan, Director, BEAM
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