Back Issue


reports and analyses of the forces driving
science and technology investment in Canada

copyright 1999, Research Money Inc.

editor: Mark Henderson


Volume 10, Number 18, NOVEMBER 13, 1996

How it looks to me.... by Mark Henderson

FEATURE REPORTS | RESEARCH BRIEFS | PERSONALITIES

How it looks to me....
by Mark Henderson, editor, RE$EARCH MONEY Developing an effective federal strategy to increase foreign R&D investment requires an often confusing combination of acumen and intuition, with officials compelled to exploit advantages while taking steps to overcome real or perceived obstacles. While statistics show that investment by foreign-controlled multinational corporations (FCMNs) continues to rise, so is competition from other subsidiaries within these corporations as well as from other national and regional jurisdictions.

A new survey on the pros and cons of increasing FCMN R&D investment indicates that Canada can build a good case provided that weaknesses can be minimized and threats can be overcome through appropriate tactics (link to story). The prospect of gaining access to excellent workers, attractive tax credits and substantial research infrastructure is helpful in attracting FCMNs, but concerted efforts must then be expended by government, academia and businesses to retain and increase investment.

An example: Powerful legislation combined with availability of highly skilled personnel induced massive increases in Canadian R&D investment by foreign-controlled pharmaceutical companies. Most located in Quebec to take advantage of that province's generous incentive schemes, but the rancorous political situation is viewed as a negative factor in boosting that investment. Work to reduce that concern and presumably there will be one less disincentive to worry about.


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FEATURE REPORTS...

NEW VENTURE CAPITAL FUND TARGETS EARLY STAGE COMMERCIALIZATION
OF TECHNOLOGIES EMANATING FROM MAJOR FEDERAL AGENCIES

ERICSSON CANADA'S SPECTACULAR R&D GROWTH RECEIVES
ANOTHER MAJOR BOOST WITH THIRD GLOBAL MANDATE

STATISTICS CANADA BREAKS OUT FEDERAL R&D SPENDING IN NATIONAL
CAPITAL REGION IN LATEST SURVEY OF PROVINCIAL DISTRIBUTION

BOMBARDIER CLOSE TO APPROVING CANADAIR
PROJECT FOLLOWING TPC COMMITMENT

ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT BY LEX TECHNOLIGIES
SUPPORTED BY TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIPS CANADA

NEW STUDY EXPLORES WHY FOREIGN-BASED
FIRMS MAKE R&D INVESTMENTS IN CANADA

GENOMIC NETWORK PROPOSED TO CONTINUE WORK STARTED
UNDER CANADIAN GENOME ANALYSIS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM


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RESEARCH BRIEFS

  • Joint Scotiabank/SOCO investment fund established
  • U of A and ARC to explore carbohydrate chemistry
  • Feds signs S&T MOU with five western provinces
  • Ottawa-area project to retrain engineers and scientists
  • Investment allows Accelerix to complete move to Canada
  • National Bank and BDC team to assist business growth
  • Comdale receives 2.8 million venture capital investment
  • Mitel boosts R&D spending as half-year sales hit $327 million
  • Two new programs established for diabetes research
  • Searle funds gastrointestinal research at Univ of Calgary


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Joint Scotiabank/SOCO investment fund established Scotiabank has teamed with the Saskatchewan Opportunities Corp (SOCO) to form a co-investment fund geared towards knowledge-based industry in the province. Initially established at $5 million, the Opportunities Fund will provide a broad range of flexible equity and debt vehicles to knowledge and technology-intensive firms in their rapid growth stages. Special emphasis will be placed on export-oriented and import-replacement firms in the agricultural biotechnology, human health, communications hardware and software development, environmental technology and advanced manufacturing sectors. The Fund was first mentioned in Saskatchewan's Partnership for Growth strategy, announced last year....


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U of A and ARC to explore carbohydrate chemistry The Univ of Alberta and the Alberta Research Council have entered an agreement to jointly conduct research in carbohydrate chemistry and its role in the process of human cell recognition. ARC will provide $500,000 towards the venture in the hopes of increasing the province's share in the sale of carbohydrate-based therapeutics, valued at $5,250 million by the year 2000. The research could lead to treatments for autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and the prevention of viral diseases....


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Feds sign S&T MOU with five western provinces The federal government has signed an MOU with the four western provinces for further science and technology cooperation. The MOU calls for strategic investments in S&T infrastructure, greater commercialization activity and promotion of the benefits flowing from S&T. Two initiatives stemming from the MOU have already begun: a technology cluster strategy and the development of a global summary of best practices in technology transfer. The strategy outlined in the MOU was originally developed in 1993 by the Federal/Provincial Task Force on S&T....


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Ottawa-area project to retrain engineers and scientists Mitel Corp has joined with the Univ of Ottawa, Carleton Univ and the National Research Council to launch a pilot project to confront a serious shortage of qualified software engineers. The project, dubbed O-Vitesse (Ottawa-Carleton Venture in Training Engineers & Scientists in Software Engineering), aims to re-skill undergraduate engineers and scientists for jobs in the information technology and telecommunications sectors. In the first 16-month round, two groups of five applicants will spend four-month alternating semesters at the participating firms or institutions. The candidates will work with a supervisor/advisor from Mitel and a faculty advisor to identify program elements and their sequence aimed at re-skilling the individual. Mitel will contribute $20,000 in salary for each participant with the expectation that each will ultimately become a permanent Mitel employee. The program is one of several initiatives stemming from an action plan for the National Capital Region developed last year (R$, January 24/96)....


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Investment allows Accelerix to complete move to Canada An $8.4-million equity investment will provide Accelerix Inc with funds for product development and operating capital as it restructures from a UK-based to a Canadian-based firm located in Carp ON. MOSAID Technologies Inc, also of Carp, and Symbionics Ltd, Cambridge UK, are contributing $4.4 million, with the remaining $4 million committed by three venture capital funds: Capital Alliance Ventures Inc, Working Ventures Canadian Fund Inc, and the Business Development Bank of Canada. Accelerix, a fabless semiconductor designer and manufacturer of application specific memory products, will subcontract work to both MOSAID and Symbionics. It also announced an agreement with Standard Microsystems Corp, giving the latter rights to market, second source and enhance Accelerix-developed technology....


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National Bank and BDC team to assist business growth The National Bank of Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) have each committed $30 million to a fund designed to assist small knowledge-intensive and exporting businesses accelerate growth through the use of a wider range of financial and management services. Eligible firms must have fewer than 100 employees, annual sales under $10 million and a competent, committed management team with a stake in the business. National Bank will provide primary banking services (business accounts, lines of credit, export financing services, among others). BDC will provide loans and services complementary to those offered by National Bank on a case-by-case basis. Loans will be made through BDC programs including Venture Loan, Venture Capital and Patient Capital....


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Comdale receives 2.8 million venture capital investment Capital Alliance Ventures Inc (CAVI) has invested $2.8 million in Comdale Technologies (Canada) Inc, a Toronto-based designer and distributor of system software products and services. The convertible debenture will be used to expand Comdale's sales and distribution network, with the remainder devoted to new product development. The firm is focused on the industrial automation marketplace, including the mineral processing, cement, petrochemical, pulp and paper and energy management sectors....


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Mitel boosts R&D spending as half-year sales hit $327 million Higher revenue and R&D-to-sales ratios helped push Mitel Corp's six-month R&D outlays for FY97 to $30.2 million, reflecting increased spending in semiconductor, computer telephony integration and client server telecom products. Kanata-based Mitel registered sales of $327.4 million, an increase of 15% over the first half of FY96. R&D as a ratio of sales rose to 9% from 7%....


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Two new programs established for diabetes research The Medical Research Council and the Diabetes Research Foundation (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation) are committing $10 million over five years to establish two new Diabetes Interdisciplinary Research Programs (DIRP) at London's John Robarts Research Institute (JRRI) and the Univ of Toronto's Toronto Hospital. The two DIRPs are the result of a recent partnership between MRC and JDF through the latter's $200 million international initiative. They will link diabetes researchers across Canada to examine new prevention and treatment techniques for diabetes and its complications. The London program will link JRRI researchers with others at the Univ of Western Ontario, Lawson Research Institute and researchers in Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary and Vancouver. The 12-member team will be jointly directed by Dr Terry Delovitch and Bhagirath Singh and focus on diabetes prevention and new therapies. There are 26 DIRPs worldwide, including two at the Univ of Alberta and McGill Univ....


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Searle funds gastrointestinal research at Univ of Calgary Searle Canada has contributed $675,000 to gastrointestinal research at the Univ of Calgary. Three-year funding of the new Searle Canada Gastrointestinal Unit will facilitate work directed by the faculty of medicine's Drs Jon Meddings, Lloyd Sutherland and John Wallace. In 1990 Searle provided the same researchers with a grant to develop a simple, non-evasive method for detecting gastrointestinal damage from arthritis medication. The new research will focus on the field of gastrointestinal disease, including the exploration of methods for detecting stomach damage, harmful actions in the gastrointestinal tract and developing early detection for relapses of Crohn's disease....


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PERSONALITIES

Israel Ben-Ishai has been appointed VP R&D for Certicom Corp, a developer of information security products and cryptographic technologies. Ben-Ishai will lead R&D initiatives for all business divisions including OEM technology integration, secure networking products and secure facsimile products; all of which incorporate the firm's core technology elliptic curve cryptosystem. Ben-Ishai has held senior positions with Computron Software (Canada) Inc, Kurtz & Steel Ltd, and Bell-Northern Research with its multimedia communications division in Toronto. He holds a MSc (electronics engineering) and a BSc from Politecnico di Milano....

David Chown has been appointed VP of Veritas Communications Inc, Canada's largest health care communications consulting firm. Chown will provide clients with advice on government relations, access to publicly and privately insured markets and the role of pharmacotherapy, managed care and disease management. He was most recently with Wyeth-Ayerst Canada Inc and held the position of direct government and public affairs. He was previously also a senior manager with the Ontario ministry of health, as a coordinator of drug pricing and formulary production for the drug programs branch....

Bruce Chapman has been appointed president and CEO of NII Norsat International Inc and Cyberion Networking Corp, a 30%-owned subsidiary. He holds a BSc in physics and mathematics from the Univ of British Columbia, a MSc from the California Institute of Technology and a JD from Harvard Law School. He replaces John Anderson who left to pursue other interests. In other news Bradford Cook has been appointed Norsat board chairman. A graduate of Stanford Univ and the Univ of Nebraska, Cook is currently president of Farragut Investments, a private Washington DC-based investment firm. In the past, he held the chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission....

Dr Gerhard Gerber has been appointed VP research and international affairs at McMaster Univ, replacing Ron Childs who stepped down earlier this year. He is responsible for pursuing new partnerships nationally and internationally, and overseeing research activities within the university. Gerber has been with the university's biochemistry department for 18 years and sits on the boards of several high technology firms....

Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd has appointed Dr John Blasecki as VP pre-clinical and regulatory affairs. Blasecki's responsibilities include liaison between company scientists and contract research firms and the US Food and Drug Administration. His immediate focus will be on Apanol, Inflazyme's orally active anti-asthma drug, working closely with CRO Scirex to prepare and submit the drug for FDA-approved clinical trials. Blasecki spent 17 years in senior positions with Dupont and Merck-Dupont Pharmaceuticals, before joining Cytran Inc as director of preclinical R&D....

Kevin Jenkins has been appointed president and CEO of The Westaim Corp, a Fort Saskatchewan AB leader in advanced industrial materials. He was previously president and CEO of Canadian Airlines International Ltd. Westaim is 67%-owned by Viridian, and was spun off after its parent changed its name from Sherritt Inc (R$, May 8/96)....

Kevin Goheen has been appointed as a research analyst covering high technology and advanced manufacturing for Yorkton Securities Inc. Before joining Yorkton, Goheen was VP academic at Ryerson Polytechnic Univ. He holds an Honours BSc and a PhD and is a registered professional engineer....

Jean-Guy Desjardins has been appointed president of Talvest Fund Management Inc with responsibility for all operations. Desjardins is also Talvest board chairman and CEO....


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