Alexandria Venture Investments, Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre, Bailly, BioNeutra, Brain Canada, Brookfield Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Business Council of British Columbia, Business Council of Canada, BVF Partners L.P., Canada Infrastructure Bank, Canadian Brain Research Strategy, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Network for Modelling Infectious Disease, Casdin Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Council of Canadian Innovators, Dalhousie University, Entosystem, EY Americas Mining and Metals Centre of Excellence, Fonds de solidarite FTQ, Google Ventures, Government of Alberta, Government of Canada, GV, ITC Investment Holdings, Laboratories Canada, Laurentian University, Let's Talk Science, Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute, Life Sciences Ontario, Mathematics for Public Health, Natural Products Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, One Health Modelling Network for Emerging Infections, One Society Network, Palette Skills, PJM Interconnection, Public Health Agency of Canada, R A Capital Management, Redline Communications, Royal Society of Canada, Simon Fraser University, Statistical Methods for Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases, Université Laval, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Guelph, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, Ventus Therapeutics, Versant Ventures, Western Economic Diversification Canada, Winecrush, and York University



The Short Report - April 14, 2021: Alberta invests in vaccine R&D, Ottawa brings wireless tech to mining industry, CIB shores up Ontario's energy grid, and more

Cindy Graham
April 14, 2021


The Government of Alberta is contributing $20 million over the next four years towards R&D of pharmaceutical and vaccine treatments at the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute (AVI). Therapies under development at AVI include a hepatitis C vaccine, human cytomegalovirus antivirals and therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease. The institute recently secured nearly $6 million from Canadian Institutes of Health Research to develop antiviral drugs, vaccines and diagnostics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. – Government of Alberta

The Government of Canada is investing $10 million to improve the coordination of infectious disease modelling for future public health threats. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council are partnering to launch the five new multidisciplinary infectious disease modelling networks: the Canadian Network for Modelling Infectious Disease led by Dr. Caroline Colijn at Simon Fraser University; Mathematics for Public Health led by Dr. V. Kumar Murty at the University of Toronto; the One Health Modelling Network for Emerging Infections led by Dr. Huaiping Zhu at York University; the One Society Network led by Dr. Christopher McCabe at the University of Alberta, and Statistical Methods for Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases led by Dr. Patrick Brown at the University of Toronto. – GoC


Laurentian University has cut 58 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs as it undergoes insolvency and restructuring. The university anticipates that 44 graduate students will be impacted by program closures. –

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and ITC Investment Holdings (Michigan) have signed an agreement in principle to invest $1.7 billion in the Lake Erie Connector project, a proposed 117-kilometre underwater transmission line connecting Ontario with the PJM Interconnection, North America’s largest electricity market. CIB will invest up to $655 million or up to 40 percent of the project cost while ITC and private sector lenders will invest up to $1.05 billion. – CIB

A $14-million federal government investment from the Strategic Innovation Fund in wireless provider Redline Communications (Markham, ON) will allow mining, utilities and the oil and gas sectors to use 5G technology to improve safety and productivity standards in their industries, and will include the ability to remotely monitor and control artificial intelligence-enabled machinery so clients can interact and share information in real time. – GoC

The Royal Society of Canada and Let’s Talk Science (London, ON), a national organization offering STEM-based programs for youth, are collaborating on a multi-year project supported by nearly $6 million from the federal government’s Environmental Damages Fund. The project will engage youth across Canada in outreach activities incorporating RSC’s tracking of evidence as Canada pursues a policy of NetZero emissions in line with recent recommendations of the G7 science academies. – Royal Society of Canada, GoC and Let's Talk Science

The Government of Canada is requesting proposals for architectural, engineering and construction services to redevelop the Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre (ASEC) in Moncton, New Brunswick as part of the 25-year Laboratories Canada initiative to renew Canada’s federal science and technology labs. The ASEC hub will focus on improving the sustainability of fresh and saltwater resources and protecting the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Atlantic Ocean region ecosystems. – GoC

Palette Skills is organizing a group of academic and business organizations to tackle Canada’s skills gap and prepare for a post-pandemic recovery. The founding members of the Palette Skills consortium include the Business Council of Canada, the Council of Canadian Innovators, the Business Council of British Columbia, the Brookfield Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, University of Guelph, Université Laval, University of Saskatchewan and the University of Toronto. – Businesswire

Charlottetown-based Natural Products Canada, a winner of the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research program in 2016, has awarded three companies spots in its commercialization program. Clean fragrance company Bailly (Halifax) will use the fast-track to financing program to enhance brand development; insect protein producer Entosystem (Sherbrooke) will use the executive talent program to hire a CEO, and wine derivative agritech company Winecrush (Penticton, BC) will use the executive talent program to hire a VP operations to lead them through scaling and optimizing production. – NPC

Related: Demand for ‘natural’ drives new $50M fund for early-stage Canadian tech companies

EY Canada is launching a business centre to support the mining and metals sector over the next three years in North and South America. The new EY Americas Mining and Metals Centre of Excellence will focus on four areas of growth and infrastructure to support businesses: technical expertise; digital transformation; operations management, and decarbonization and environmental, social and governance issues. – EY Canada

Nutraceutical food company BioNeutra is expanding its manufacturing capacity in Edmonton with nearly $3 million in repayable federal funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Business Scale-up and Productivity program. – BioNeutra


The Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has released a report evaluating the performance of Canada's five Superclusters. In the report, former Deputy Minister of ISED John Knubley makes a case for evaluating their success on a longer time horizon. – Brookfield Institute


Biopharmaceutical company Ventus Therapeutics (Montreal, Waltham, MA) raised US$100 million in series B funding led by RA Capital Management with participation from BVF Partners L.P.Casdin CapitalCormorant Asset ManagementFonds de solidarité FTQAlexandria Venture InvestmentsVersant Ventures and GV (formerly Google Ventures). – Ventus Therapeutics


Dr. Jennie Young is the new executive director of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS). Young comes to CBRS following management roles and partnership building at Brain Canada. The Canada Brain Research Strategy received $1.5 million in funding from CIHR last year to support its aim to “link brain research initiatives and projects, public and private funders, and patient organizations across Canada in a uniquely collaborative effort that will push the frontiers of brain science.” – CRBS

Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot has been named the North American member on the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the first time an Indigenous woman from Canada has been appointed to the position. Lightfoot is a Canada Research Chair and senior advisor to the president on Indigenous Affairs at UBC. She co-led the development of the university’s Indigenous Strategic Plan, which launched last year. – UBC

Kerry Wright is the new permanent CEO of the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network, launched in 2019 with a $49.5-million Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada award and a mission to support the creation of technological solutions for problems facing Canada’s agri-food sector. Wright’s term begins on April 12. She takes over from interim CEO Dr. Cornelia Kreplin. – Alberta Innovates

Dr. Jason Dyck has been appointed chief science officer of venture capital company Australis Capital (Las Vegas) and the chairman of its scientific advisory board. Dyck led the research and science team at Aurora Cannabis (Edmonton). – Cision


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