July 29, 2010
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During a visit to Sernova (TSXV: SVA) today, Gary Goodyear* announced that $45 million of FedDev Ontario money will be deployed through the NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).
IRAP has been a relatively effective vehicle for funding life science companies and has taken a prominent role since having been allocated $200 million in the 2009 federal budget. In 2010, NRC-IRAP has funded companies directly, including Isotechnika, Critical Outcome Technologies and Covalon (among others) and indirectly through the Health Technology Exchange (HTX).
Sernova press-released the announcement today, noting that they received $486,000 from NRC-IRAP in the 2009-2010 cycle; but it was unclear whether that funding was part of the FedDev allocation or whether FedDev-IRAP funds were forthcoming in the 2010-2011 cycle.
* Yes, Gary Goodyear is now the Minister of State for FedDev Ontario.
December 1, 2009
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As part of our Biotech Trends series, we’ve been following the increasing commercialization activity shown by non-profits (although they’ve been having as hard a time succeeding as everyone else). Two recent stories highlight the important role foundations are playing in this market environment.
- JDRF Canada – FedDev Ontario Clinical Research Collaboration. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Canada is partnering with the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to fund a clinical trial network for diabetes research. FedDev Ontario is committing $20 million and JDRF is committing $10 million. JDRF will collaborate with Southern Ontario universities and research institutions to work on:
- Speeding advances in cures and therapies for diabetes and its complications;
- Positioning Southern Ontario as an international hub for translational research; and
- Attracting the best international scientists and institutions to Ontario.
- ALS Foundations-Academia-Industry Project. Three philanthropic organizations (The Angel Fund, The ALS Therapy Alliance and Project ALS) are financing a new collaboration between Dr. Robert Brown and RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: RXII). Dr. Brown will study the use of RXi’s self-delivering rxRNA™ (sd-rxRNA™) compounds as a potential treatment for ALS in a SOD1-overexpressing mouse model.
Each takes a novel approach:
- JDRF Canada, by collaborating directly with the government and by focusing on clinical activity; and
- the ALS project by allowing each party to perform in its specialty — academics on research, corporations on commercialization and the philanthropies on fundraising.
My bottom line:
In a stubbornly difficult financing environment, funding sources other than VCs step up because they derive non-financial (or at least indirect financial) benefits from their investments: corporate VCs get access to future partnership prospects; governments stimulate job growth; and charitable foundations are committed to finding cures and treatments. These two projects are perfect examples of the work-arounds that committed participants can produce.
September 2, 2009
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The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) is providing $50 million to BDC: $35 million for direct investments in “early-stage firms in Southern Ontario” and $15 million for LP investments in VC funds “focused on Ontario-based opportunities.”
Rather than relying [entirely?] on internal BDC resources, “as part of its decision-making process, the BDC will collaborate with the Ontario Venture Capital Fund.”
Interesting, the $35 million of new BDC direct investment money will be almost double the OVCF direct investment money, since the OVCF is down to under $19 million for direct investments.
H/T to TechFinance.ca via @startupnorth, @markmcqueen.