Wilmington — The 2015 BioMarine Business Convention closed Wednesday with a landmark agreement of cooperation between North Carolina’s Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI) and the government of Quebec, Canada.

Deborah Mosca, CEO of MBCOI, signed the agreement for North Carolina. Georges Farrah, associate general secretary of Quebec’s Secretariat aux Affaires Maritimes, represented Quebec.

Farrah, a major player at the international conference, delivered Tuesday’s keynote address on Quebec’s Maritime Strategy initiative. The Canadian province recently embarked on a multi-year action plan that uses marine biotechnology as a key tool for economic development. Designed to capitalize on Quebec’s strategic location on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the initiative aims to develop the maritime economy while protecting marine eco-systems, as well as increase investment and jobs in the sector.

MBCOI, a public/private venture, translates new marine-related discoveries into products and services. Established in 2011 by the N.C. Biotechnology Center, the non-profit is charged with forging new collaborations and partnerships on both on the regional and international level. The organization has sponsored research and development in the areas of health, including pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals from the sea; biofuels and other new energy sources; sustainable aquaculture; and diagnostics, measuring toxins and contaminants in water and food from the sea.

MBCOI partnered with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to bring BioMarine 2015 to Wilmington, NC. MBCOI CEO Dr. Deb Mosca praised the collaborative atmosphere of the international conference which attracts top executives from marine biotechnology companies and government economic development officials around the world. “The networking is amazing,” she said.

The agreement signed between North Carolina and Quebec, a result of that networking, will promote increased cooperation and enhance relationships between the two organizations and their clients. Secretary Farrah anticipates that the extensive fisheries and local blue tech companies in his province will benefit from the many technologies developed by North Carolina researchers and entrepreneurs, including breakthroughs in aquaculture, genomics, imaging of living organisms, and databases of scientific literature.

Pierre Erwes, BioMarine’s executive chairman, declared that the agreement to cooperate is just the sort of outcome that the conference hopes to achieve. Designed to encourage exchange of ideas within the emerging blue biotech industries, BioMarine aims to help new partnerships develop and create new opportunities.

The 2016 BioMarine convention will take place in Oslo, Norway next October.

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