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Roche Canada Launches National Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence

Roche partners with AI leaders Amii, Mila and the Vector Institute to drive digital transformation in health

Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche Canada) recently launched their Roche AI Centre of Excellence (CoE). This is the first such collaborative centre to combine the expertise of all three Canadian AI institutes under the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy – including the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), located in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. The other two institutes are located in Montreal and Toronto.

The CoE is focused on advancing digital transformation in health, marrying Roche’s longstanding history of leadership in health and life sciences, with the three institutes’ established track record of excellence in AI research and enabling industry application. The CoE will work to deliver quality AI based digital solutions that optimize and reduce the cost of healthcare delivery, improve health outcomes, and enable Canada to learn and nimbly respond to opportunities and potential challenges in the healthcare system.

“With the combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, Roche is uniquely positioned to develop innovations that bring significant value to the healthcare system and to patients. We believe that strong collaborations like the Roche AI CoE are essential to transform the future of healthcare, and we are proud to partner with the Pan-Canadian AI Institutes to co-create solutions that deliver meaningful and sustainable impact, while accelerating Canada’s global leadership in AI.” – Roche Canada leaders: Ronnie Miller, Roche Pharma Canada; Andrew Plank, Roche Diagnostics Canada; Jade Dagher, Roche Diabetes Care Canada.

In 2017, Canada became the first country to launch a national AI strategy, building on its history of AI research excellence and with the goal of establishing Canada as a world-leading destination for talent and companies looking to advance their AI capabilities. The establishment of Amii in the Edmonton region has resulted in the development of an industry cluster, with the University of Alberta being ranked third globally in AI research.

“Roche’s establishment of a new AI Centre of Excellence in Canada is a great testament to the power of collaboration. This partnership is a first of its kind, leveraging the investments made through the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy in our three national AI Institutes to deliver a collaboration that will be greater than the sum of its parts and will help advance AI for health research and innovation for Canada.”– Elissa Strome, Executive Director, Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, CIFAR.

The Roche AI CoE has its origins in the Roche Data Science Coalition (RDSC), which formed in April 2020 as a multi-industry coalition lending expertise and resources to tackle challenges presented by COVID-19. Since its formation, the RDSC has contributed to over 100 digital solutions and insights including AI models, advanced analytics, virtual dashboards, market reports, and also deepened relationships with Canadian and international stakeholders.

Starting from this proven model for rapid innovation, the CoE leverages the framework from the RDSC for cross-sector collaborations that will drive digital transformation across Canada’s healthcare system and further the country’s position at the forefront of innovation in AI in health and life sciences.

As demands on healthcare systems increase and become more complex, Roche recognizes the important role AI will play in delivering transformative solutions, and that only through meaningful partnerships and co-creation will we be able to deliver significantly more value to the health ecosystem. The CoE seeks to leverage collaboration and specialized expertise to work toward outcomes such as enhancing access to the right diagnostics and treatments at the right time, informing and de-risking healthcare decision making, elevating and scaling up Canadian AI startups, nurturing AI talent, and bringing science closer to citizens.

“Artificial intelligence has immense potential to transform the way we think about healthcare delivery in Canada. This partnership between Roche and the institutes of the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy will enable Amii and our Pan-Canadian partners to join our expertise in machine learning with Roche’s industry-leading expertise in health and solidify Canada’s leadership in the intersection of AI and life sciences. Alberta has a wealth of AI talent to offer, and Amii is pleased to be partnering with Roche, Mila and the Vector Institute to advance the digital transformation of Canada’shealthcare system.” – Richard S. Sutton, Chief Science Advisor at Amii. 

In the coming months, the Roche AI CoE will work to prioritize key projects identified by healthcare system stakeholders in areas such as health data analytics, biomarker discovery, drug development, and building AI talent within health and life sciences in Canada. Teams will also launch a series of events geared toward engaging patients and other members of the public in conversations around data access and digital transformation in health and life sciences.

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalized healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Founded in 1931, Roche Canada is committed to searching for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases while making a sustainable contribution to society. The company employs more than 1,800 people across the country through its Pharmaceuticals division in Mississauga, Ontario and Diagnostics, as well as Diabetes Care divisions in Laval, Quebec.

Roche aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. Roche Canadais actively involved in local communities through its charitable giving and partnerships with organizations and healthcare institutions that work together to improve the quality of life of Canadians. For more information, please visit www.RocheCanada.com.

About Amii

One of Canada’s three centres of AI excellence as part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, Amii (the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute) is an Alberta-based non-profit institute that supports world-leading research in artificial intelligence and machine learning and translates scientific advancement into industry adoption. Amii grows AI capabilities through advancing leading-edge research, delivering exceptional educational offerings and providing business advice – all with the goal of building in-house AI capabilities. For more information, visit amii.ca.

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