Westaim Corp slims down to focus on iFire technology

Guest Contributor
June 7, 2002

Westaim Corp, Calgary, has announced a major shake-up of its business units and replacing the head of its iFire Technology Inc subsidiary in a move designed to contain costs and focus on core assets. Michael Goldstein has been replaced as iFire’s president by Barry Heck, Westaim’s senior VP and a key player in iFire’s drive to find international partners for its flat panel television display modules. The move comes one year after iFire received a $30-million investment from Technology Partnerships Canada for a $106-million R&D project to bring the modules to market (R$, May 28/01). The technology has a long history of development and government support, dating back to the days of the Defence Industry Productivity Program and Litton Systems Canada Ltd, which originally developed liquid crystal displays for defence applications. In addition to retaining its iFire unit and moving its technology into pilot production, Westaim says it is committed to supporting its NUCRYST Pharmaceuticals Corp subsidiary. NUCRYST (formerly Westaim Biomedical Corp), recently moved its headquarters and R&D labs from Calgary to Wakefield MA (R$, November 13/01). It will also retain its Ambeon Division, which produces coatings for the aerospace and electronics industries. Ambeon is a major revenue generator for the firm and will help fund the commercialization of iFire’s technology. Two other divisions are not so lucky. In a bid to improve cash flow, Westaim will close its coinage division and sell its ethylene coatings business, while ceasing to make any more investments through its Westaim Partners venture capital arm….

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