ReGen Medicine asks city council for another $300,000

Posted: October 3, 2012 at 4:19 am

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 09:00

A Thunder Bay regenerative medicine company is asking for another $300,000 from the city to help it survive as it continues to seek sustainable provincial funding. ReGen Medicine, which provides bone and tissue for use in transplants, is requesting the money flow at a rate of $50,000 a month for the next six months. And, board chairwoman Judy Sander said Monday, this is the last time theyll ask. If the $300,000 requested Monday night is provided, the city will have given $1.5 million to the company since 2005, including an interest-free loan of $250,000 in May. The money stopped flowing from the May loan last month. I had hoped at that time that . . . I would never be back in this seat again, Sander told council. This has definitely been a long haul. It is definitely not a risk-free operation. This environment, the health care field, is extremely challenging, she said. It definitely takes time and money and energy to reach success. Were very close, but were not there yet. The money would help expand the business more sales people are needed so the company can compete with other tissue banks, and more senior managerial support is required, board member Yves Fricot said while ReGen Medicine works to secure government funding. The company is working on a business sustainability report at the request of the Ministry of Health; the report is to be completed later this month. The report, Sander and Fricot said, is intended to identify what the company needs to be sustainable, and build its case for provincial funding. And if after all that the government is still not involved, Sander said it may be time to give up on the dream. But Fricot said the company is providing an essential service, and the government is simply trying to figure out where ReGen Medicine will fit within the provincial system. The donor list is growing, and the fact that ReGen Medicine is providing the service in Canada is saving the Ontario health care system $16-20 million a year. Plus, theyre helping head off what he said is a looming shortage of tissue and bone for transplant. If you dont work to develop and ultimately support this organization, youre going to have a problem that you shouldnt have, Fricot said. Its true on a personal level for people who need help and cant find it in Canada, (and its) going to be true in the long run as the American economy changes and (U.S. tissue banks) go back to filling their own needs. Council didnt vote on the request, but asked city administration prepare a report on the request. Also Monday night, council heard a presentation from the family of the late Suzan Labine who asked to have the playground portion of Junot Park renamed Suzan Labine Childrens Playground. Labine died Dec. 28, 2010, at age 58. She was a highly respected member of the community, serving on the board of many community organizations and agencies, including Westminster United Church and St. Josephs Care Group. Labine was also chairwoman of the Lakehead Public School Board for six years, and was co-ordinator of the United Ways Leaders of the Way campaign. Council directed administration to examine the request and report back at a future meeting.

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ReGen Medicine asks city council for another $300,000

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