[June 17, 2021] Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Supercluster, and Marc Fiume, CEO of DNAstack, were part of an impressive lineup of speakers at the recent VivaTech conference. Based in France, VivaTech is Europe’s largest start-up and technology conference. Sue and Marc talked about winning innovation models in Canadian healthcare as part of the event’s Tech to Watch segment on June 17.
The session was introduced by Nicolas Lepage of the Canadian Embassy in Paris and demonstrated that Canada is a country to watch out for in the digital space.
Sue noted: “Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is the product of bold and ambitious public policy, focused on driving Canadian-made digital solutions – solutions that address world issues while growing leading digital companies and accelerating Canada’s global leadership on the digital innovation stage. And let’s face it, today the world is digital.”
“There are few issues more pressing than healthcare,” Sue added. “In many jurisdictions, healthcare costs account for up to 50 per cent of a country or region’s budget. What we focus on in our Supercluster is improving the delivery of healthcare, access to healthcare, health outcomes and the sustainability of healthcare systems. And we do this with a focus on collaborative innovation and co-investment in technology.”
In commenting on DNAstack, Marc noted: “Biology is really complex, and the best way to accelerate discoveries is to provide our scientists with an incredible amount of data and AI-powered tools so that we can learn the associations between genetics and clinical outcomes. At DNAstack, we’re focused on how we create technologies to enable collaborative bio-medical research. We want to dramatically change how discoveries are made – mainly from an individual sport to a team sport. A mission of that ambition and scale demands collaboration. That’s why we’re lucky to have the Digital Supercluster. It provides that vehicle for us to work with Canadian and international leaders who share our vision.”
The Digital Supercluster’s COVID-19 program inspired Marc and the DNAstack team to approach thought leaders at diverse organizations, including Sunnybrook Hospital, McGill University, Microsoft and the Vector Institute.
“It was astonishing to see how many partners throughout Canada stepped up and rallied in support of this common vision. Our country has so much talent – in AI, genomic medicine and policy. What’s so special about the Supercluster is that it enables us to build world-class consortiums and scale quickly in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
The result of this collaboration is the Supercluster’s COVID Cloud project which is creating the world’s first platform to allow researchers potentially around the world to share data and information about the evolution of COVID-19. The relevance of this development was first noted by the Province of Ontario and a few months later, Canada recognized the value of the COVID Cloud platform for the country.
In just one year, DNAstack has tripled in size and is pursuing exciting growth plans. “We’re now working on a new version of COVID Cloud with more data and tools and starting to deploy it internationally,” notes Marc. “We’re also spinning out a new project as a result of the Supercluster to explore new diagnostics and therapeutics for severe COVID-19 cases, and we’re taking our technology to address autism and fight diseases such as cancer”. We are extremely proud of the work that DNAStack is undertaking with its partners through the Supercluster environment and applaud all project team members for helping to advance care and solutions for Canadians and….perhaps the world!