Back Issue


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

copyright 1999, Research Money Inc.

editor: Mark Henderson


Volume 12, Number 20, DECEMBER 16, 1998

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 As 1998 draws to a close, the collective S&T community can look back on one of the brighter years of the decade. Just as budget cuts and program cancellations were beginning to seem like the norm, the veil of gloom was partially lifted. The pressure is now on to widen the thin ray of light created by last year's federal Budget.

The Liberal government has cautiously loosened the S&T purse strings for academic researchers, and initiated commendable work on tax and assistance programs geared to business. The cuts that have plagued government scientists appear to have hit bottom. But where does the Canadian S&T effort go from here?

At the edge of a new millennium, Canada finds itself in a high-stakes game of S&T catch-up. After sitting idly by while other nations boosted investment, the federal government has an opportunity to send Canada back onto the playing field armed with a host of new initiatives (see lead article). More than $2 billion in new money is being requested by the research community to support withering and uptapped scientific capabilities. For the first time in years, the resources to address some, if not all proposals, are available.

Therefore the holiday break should provide an opportunity to reflect on past accomplishments, and contemplate the future. Time is precious and the next few months could determine whether the purveyors of S&T are allowed to achieve their potential.


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FEATURE REPORTS...

  DECISION TIME LOOMING FOR S&T PROPOSALS LOBBYING TO MAKE BUDGET PRIORITY LIST
  GRANTING COUNCILS PUSHING TO BUILD ON LAST YEAR'S INCREASES
  TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIPS CANADA SEEKING NEW FUNDS TO SUPPORT EXPANDED MANDATE AND ACTIVITIES
  GENOME CANADA LEARNING THE RULES OF THE GAME WHILE PITCHING PROPOSAL FOR INTEGRATED GENOMICS RESEARCH
  ONTARIO ANNOUNCES NEW RESEARCH FUNDING PROGRAM AND MAKES NEW ORDCF AWARDS
  FUNDAMENTAL DISAGREEMENT OVER THRUST OF S&T STRATEGY COLOURS AUDITOR GENERAL'S CRITICISM OF ITS IMPLEMENTATION
  NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL GRABS FOR HOLY GRAIL THROUGH PILOT PROJECT WITH MONTREAL'S INNO-CENTRE
  NEW FUND SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR TOXIC SUBSTANCES RESEARCH

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RESEARCH BRIEFS

  • Nortel purchases rising Newbridge affiliate for US$300 million
  • Lucent upgrades plans for new Canadian headquarters
  • Bank of Montreal invests in Paradigm Development Corp
  • IGT and Isotechnika receive strategic IRAP development grants
  • Research team receives funding to develop pest resistant canola strain
  • Univ of Toronto spin-off targets global mushroom market
  • CMDF seeking nominations for second annual Friesen-Rygiel Prize




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Nortel purchases rising Newbridge affiliate for US$300 million Northern Telecom Ltd has purchased Ottawa-based Cambrian Systems Corp for US$300 million, with 40% of the purchase price flowing to rival telecommunications manufacturer Newbridge Networks Corp. Cambrian is a two-year-old Newbridge affiliate company which grew rapidly developing technology based on dense wave division multiplexing. Its products are targeted at speeding up the bottleneck between metropolitan area networks and the optical Internet backbone. Cambrian's products will be combined with Nortel's optical networks applications division, giving Nortel an even stronger suite of networking products. The purchase comes on the heels of its purchase of Bay Networks. Under the terms of the agreement, part of the purchase price is deferred until Cambrian achieves certain business objectives. Newbridge's existing OEM agreement with Cambrian will continue, to allow for new integrated DWDM-ATM products....


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Lucent upgrades plans for new Canadian headquarters Lucent Technologies Canada has upgraded plans for its new Canadian headquarters in Markham ON, pushing the value of its investment in the facility to $50 million. The new building to consolidate its Toronto-area workforce was originally announced last June (R$, June 17/98) to accommodate 650 employees. That capacity has been boosted to 850 and will include employees from Lucent's wireless innovation lab, which is managed by its research affiliate, Bell Laboratories....


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Bank of Montreal invests in Paradigm Development Corp Bank of Montreal Capital Corp has invested $1.5 million in Vancouver-based Paradigm Development Corp. Paradigm develops bridge software connecting different document formats and computer platforms. The firm recently developed its first product providing Java document viewers for Microsoft Office documents....


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IGT and Isotechnika receive strategic IRAP development grants IGT Pharma Inc has been awarded a grant from the NRC's Industrial Research Assistance Program to develop chiral amino acid compounds for drugs to treat neurological disorders. The grant was made based on the merits of the proposed chemistry and the Vancouver-based firm's ability to commercialize the technology. The funds will be used to synthesize chiral molecules allowing for the production of pure, potent and more specific drugs....

In other news, IRAP has awarded Isotechnika Inc a $500,000 grant to complete clinical trials for its diagnostic breath tests. The $1.5- million project will allow testing of four of the Edmonton-based firm's breath-based kits for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal and other disorders. Istechnika has also received an initial investment of $252,000 from University Medical Discoveries Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund. The funds will be used to test its recently developed drugs created with its proprietary atomic substitution process. The drugs are based on currently available drugs for applications such as the prevention of organ transplant rejection....


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  Research team receives funding to develop pest resistant canola strain A research team at the Univ of Saskatchewan will receive $750,000 over four years to develop a strain of canola that's resistant to several major pests. The project -- which involves inserting a gene into canola to prevent insects from utilizing plant nutrients -- will be led by Dwayne Hegedus, a U of S professor of applied microbiology and food science, and head of the molecular plant protection laboratory at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council will provide $401,000 to the team, with another $308,000 coming from industry and AAFC under its Matching Investments Initiative program....


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  Univ of Toronto spin-off targets global mushroom market A Univ of Toronto professor has launched a new firm to exploit new genetic technology he and a colleague developed to improve the popular white button mushroom. Paul Horgen and James Anderson have spent 10 years developing breeding techniques that break down natural barriers in the mushroom life cycle, strengthening the strain by introducing genetic variability. The process involves dissolving mushroom cell walls and using DNA profiling to identify mating cells and track a mating reaction. Horgen recently established Agaritec Biotechnologies Ltd to exploit the discovery and is currently seeking financing. The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the University Research Incentive Fund, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and players in the global mushroom industry....


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  CMDF seeking nominations for second annual Friesen-Rygiel Prize The Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund is seeking nominations for its second annual Friesen-Rygiel Prize competition. Nominations received before February 1 will be reviewed by a committee consisting of Dr William Cochrane (chair), Dr William Bridger, Dr Brenda Gallie, Dr Jon Gerrard, Dr John Ruedy and Dr Michael Smith. The award is given to partners that transfer the most outstanding discovery generated by a Canadian academic institution leading to the creation of a commercial enterprise. Winners receive $10,000 in cash, a medal and memorial plaques. Discoveries must be in the area of human health, made by a Canadian researcher and transferred to a newly created Canadian enterprise. FMI, visit CMDF's web site at: www.cmdf.com....


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PERSONALITIES


William Winegard has been appointed chair of the board for the newly created Premier's Research Excellence Awards in Ontario (see feature article). Winegard is a former federal Science minister (1990-93) and has also served as president and vice-chancellor of the Univ of Guelph. Winegard will oversee a board comprised of: George Connell, former president of the Univ of Toronto (1984-90) and until recently a senior policy advisor to the Canada Foundation for Innovation; Heather Monroe-Blum, Univ of Toronto's VP research and international relations; Jane Pagel, a principal with Johnston Smith International and former president of Zenon Environmental Laboratories; Rachel Prudhomme, dean of natural science and trades for Collge Boral in Sudbury; Deryl Rasquinha, chief technology officer for Bell Emergis in Ottawa; Louis Siminovitch, professor emeritus of the Univ of Toronto's department of molecular and medical genetics; Graham Strachan, president and CEO of Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc; and, Jozef Straus, president, CEO and co-founder of Ottawa's JDS Fitel Inc....

Christopher Wallace has been appointed interim CFO for Dynamotive Technologies Corp, Vancouver, to resolve contentious issues surrounding a recent convertible debenture. Wallace is president of Stirling Mercantile Corp, a firm that structures and arranges mezzanine capital for rapidly growing businesses. Stirling will assist Dynamotive in its capital raising activities to generate cash to provide a settlement with debenture holders. Concurrently, the board has engaged a consultant to investigate possible manipulation of stocks to depress their price....

Dr Anthony Schincariol has been appointed CEO of Novopharm in additional to his existing duties as president. The appointment was made to clearly delineate Schincariol's areas of authority and responsibility, which include research and product development. Dr Michael Dan, former CEO and son of Novopharm founder Dr Leslie Dan, will continue with the firm as a scientific advisor....


RE$EARCH MONEY -- December 16, 1998
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