LifeSciences British Columbia News

LifeSciences British Columbia Engages BC’s Life Sciences Community During 2009 National Biotechnology Week

October 1, 2009

The 6th Annual National Biotechnology Week took place September 18-25, 2009 across Canada and saw thousands of life sciences members, supporters and stakeholders take part in numerous advocacy, business development and educational events.

LifeSciences British Columbia kicked off the full week of events on September 18th with Ernst & Young’s presentation of their annual biotechnology report: Beyond Borders. Now in its 23rd publication, this highly sought after report annually attracts the global biotech community interested in its comprehensive analysis of industry statistics, trends and forecasts.

We were pleased to welcome Scott Sarazen, E&Y’s Global Biotechnology Markets Leader from California who shared his perspective on the impact of the global financial crisis on the biotechnology industry and how firms are responding with business strategies, new funding sources and creative deals. He was joined by Nicole Poirier, Ernst & Young’s Cleantech & Life Sciences Leader in BC.

Scott Sarazen, Global Biotechnology Markets Leader, Ernst & Young speaking at Ernst & Young's presentation of their annual biotechnology report: Beyong Borders.

National Biotech Week continued for LSBC’s members and special guests at our Annual General Meeting and Partner Appreciation Luncheon on September 22. The afternoon took place at The University Women’s Club and offered guests a summary of our year and what our association has planned for the coming year. We were delighted to welcome our keynote speaker, Stig Jorgensen, CEO of the Medicon Valley Alliance in Copenhagen, Denmark who announced the launch of the Life Science Ambassador Programme and explained how LifeSciences BC members can benefit from this unique global initiative. Mr. Jorgensen also introduced our new Life Science Ambassador, Morten Faester who has also come to us from Copenhagen and will work in BC for the next three years creating international business partnerships between BC and European companies. BC is one of twelve clusters around the world chosen to take part in this program.

Keynote, Stig Jorgensen, CEO, Medicon Valley Alliance, speaking at LifeSciences BC's Annual General Meeting and Partner Appreciation Luncheon.

On the evening of September 23rd, LifeSciences BC, in partnership with Amgen and Rx&D, Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, hosted a special reception for BC Members of the Legislature and their staff at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Victoria, BC. The evening contained a brief biotechnology education component and is just one of LSBC’s many outreach activities designed to engage the life sciences community at various levels.  

The final event this week, Staying Float in a Sea of Economic Uncertainty: Growing a Successful Life Sciences or Cleantech Business, took place on September 24 and featured a full-day forum on financing and IP issues for life sciences and cleantech companies.

The morning started off with a private financing seminar with presenations by Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RBC Royal Bank, Oncogenex, and GrowthWorks. Guests were presented with various resources for funding during these tough economic times and had the pleasure of listening to Scott Cormack, CEO of Oncogenex who told the unique story of his company’s tremendous

Click here to view the presentations

Guests participating in the private financing session presented by Gowlings, PricewaterhouseCoopers and RBC.

The day continued with a Research Speed-Dating session by MITACS which brought several government agencies to discuss how their funding programs can help life sciences companies. Presentations were made by NRC-IRAP, NSERC Pacific, SR&ED, MITACS and Genome BC. The session ended with and interactive panel discussion moderated by Karimah Es Sabar, President of LifeSciences BC and one-on-one meetings between guests and representatives of the various agencies.

Genome BC was on hand this day as well to make an important announcement. Gabe Kalmar, Executive Director, Operations at Genome BC presented on their latest collaboration with Xenon Pharmaceuticals, a local biotech company focused on genetics-based drugs for pain, diabetes, and iron metabolism disorders. Genome BC is co-supporting this $7.5 million project entitled “Enabling Studies for a DMT1 inhibitor – A Novel Therapeutic Approach for Treatment of Iron Overload Disorders.” Dr. Simon Pimstone, President & CEO of Xenon and Chairman of LifeSciences British Columbia described the project and the possibility of starting human trials in the next 2-3 years.

Dr. Simon Pimstone, President & CEO, Xenon Pharmaceuticals describes their latest project which will be co-funded by Genome BC.

The busy day, which saw almost 100 participants, ended with an IP seminar by Gowlings. We heard from leading life science patent experts on trademarking, IP protection, tax and employment issues.

Click here to view the presentations

National Biotechnology Week is a national program celebrating the imagination and innovation of Canadian scientists and entrepreneurs and LifeSciences BC looks forward to participating each year and engaging our community with business development, advocacy and educational activities.

We hope you will join us next year!


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