The Short Report - July 28, 2021: Genomic projects boost environmental resilience, backing innovation at Canada's colleges, and more

Cindy Graham
July 28, 2021


Genome Canada is investing over $60 million in eight large scale applied genomics research projects across Canada, thanks to funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada ($24.4 million), Natural Resources Canada ($1.5 million) and co-funding from provincial and federal partners, universities and industry collaborators (nearly $34 million). The projects are within Genome Canada’s 2020 Large-Scale Applied Research Project (LSARP) Competition: Genomic Solutions for Natural Resources and the Environment and includes projects to support the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (St. Mary's University and the New England Aquarium), improve oil spill response in the North (University of Manitoba) and facilitate biodiversity protection by tracking the impact of global climate changes on the environment (University of Victoria, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Université du Québec en Outaouais and Université Laval). – Genome Canada

Space technology company MDA (Brampton) has been awarded a $35-million contract from the Canadian Space Agency to design key fixtures on the Canadarm3, which will be installed on the international Lunar Gateway. It's the third contract awarded to MDA for the Canadarm3 program. – MDA

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is investing nearly $17 million in research infrastructure projects at colleges across Canada to support industry partnerships. Among the colleges receiving funding through the CFI’s College-Industry Innovation Fund are: Cégep de Trois-Rivières (infrastructure to support companies transitioning to more environmentally-friendly production lines for paper and cardboard products), Nova Scotia Community College (a new marine propulsion lab to develop hybrid electric and fuel cell systems for marine vessels) and Lethbridge College (an advanced post-harvest technology centre to reduce food waste). – CFI 

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has launched a $20-million digital well-being platform in collaboration with lululemon, Wysdom.AI (Richmond Hill, Ont.), Queen’s University, Microsoft and Mitacs for people to better understand their personal health through virtual interaction. – Digital Technology Supercluster

AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence is hosting AgeTech Innovation Week from October 4-8, 2021, a free virtual event for anyone with an interest in technology and aging. It will bring together stakeholders in industry, government and non-profit organizations, future leaders, older adults, caregivers and others in curated public panels and workshops. – AGE-WELL NCE

The Quantum Algorithms Institute at Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus has received more than $2 million in federal funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada to advance innovation and commercialization of quantum technologies, train students and foster collaboration between academia and industry. In 2019, the B.C. government committed $17 million over five years towards the establishment of the institute. – SFU

Satellite telecommunication service NorthStar (Montreal) is collaborating with the Canadian Coast Guard to develop a monitoring system for marine and coastal environments that will inform knowledge of marine pollution, ice conditions and coastal ecosystems directly impacted by climate change. The $2.7- million project is supported by Quebec’s Institut national de la recherche scientifique Centre for Water, Land, and Environment, and includes $1.5 million in funding from Defence Research and Development Canada’s Canadian Safety and Security Program. – NorthStar

The governments of Canada and the United States have signed an R&D agreement on energy efficiency to continue with Canadian enhancements and updates to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online energy-benchmarking tool used by government, industry and professionals to deliver energy savings in commercial and institutional buildings. – GoC

The Royal Bank of Canada is launching a new technology innovation hub for financial technologists in Calgary in September. The Calgary Innovation Hub will cover several tech areas including artificial intelligence, data engineering, full stack agile software delivery, site reliability engineering, machine learning and data analytics. – RBC

The Protein Industries Canada (PIC) supercluster is partnering with NRGene Canada (Saskatoon), Farmers Business Network Canada (High River, Alberta) Pulse Genetics (Manitoba) and Manitoba Harvest (Winnipeg) to build on the use of pea and hemp in plant-based food and ingredients. PIC is contributing nearly $2 million while NRGene, Farmer’s Business Network Canada, Pulse Genetics and Manitoba Harvest are together investing $3.3 million into the project. – PIC

Life science company Eversana (Chicago) has acquired Accelera Canada (Toronto) and its partner companies Patient Access Solutions (Toronto), Podium Strategic Partners (Toronto) and Advocacy Solutions (Mississauga). – Eversana

Biopharmaceutical company Oragenics (Florida) has entered into a licensing agreement with the National Research Council of Canada to pursue rapid development of next-generation vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants. – Oragenics


Health Canada has released a report from its public online engagement for the National Strategy for Drugs for Rare Diseases and will review the report to inform the development of a national strategy. – GoC


Healthcare VC firm Lumira Ventures (Toronto) closed its fourth round oversubscribed at $276 million and secured an additional $44 million to launch a new fund with an undisclosed international pharmaceutical company. Investors in the fourth round include: Kensington Capital PartnersFonds de Solidarité FTQ, Northleaf Capital Partners, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Business Development Bank of Canada, Teralys Capital, the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation, Royal Bank of Canada, Investissement Québec, Fondaction, Alexandria Venture Investments, Angelini Pharma, China Grand Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Holdings, Vancity and Amana Global Partners. – Lumira


Dr. Maria DeRosa has been appointed Interim Dean in Carleton University’s Faculty of Science, effective Aug. 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. DeRosa is a professor in the department of chemistry and the Institute of Biochemistry and is the principal investigator of the laboratory for aptamer discovery and development of emerging research. She completed her BSc and PhD degrees in chemistry at Carleton and later held an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. – Carleton

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