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Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation

Monday Biotech Deal Review: January 31, 2011

Welcome to your Monday Biotech Deal Review for January 31, 2011.  Angiotech has voluntarily entered into CCAA proceedings and will continue its restructuring efforts there.  There was also some investment activity involving government agencies in Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.  Read on to learn more, as well as the usual assortment of biotech news reviews from the past week.  Read more of this post

Ontario Budget 2010: Reserving Final Judgment

In the post below, I noted the increased budget for the Ministry of Research and Innovation. More than one little birdie says this increase portends significant pending program changes. So put away your poison pens for now and we’ll keep our ears to the ground for good news from the deployment of that additional funding.

Update: I have received confirmations/assurances this morning from several additional sources that MRI announcements will be made in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

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OBIO Panel Presents OETF and BIP Information

The Ontario Bioscience Industry Organization (OBIO) and the Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) co-hosted an event a few days ago entitled: “Funding Opportunities in 2009-2010 for Bioscience Companies: What CEO’s Need to Know About Ontario’s ETF and BIP Programs.”

The speakers were:

  • Chair: Kevin French, Senior Act. Manager, RBC;
  • Industry:
    • Rocky Ganske (President & CEO, Axela),
    • Peter Pekos (President & CEO, Dalton Pharmaceuticals),
    • Tom Wellner (President & CEO, Therapure Biopharma);
  • Investors:
    • Rob Koturbash (Managing Director, Maple Leaf Angels)
    • Steve Ottaway (Managing Director, GMP Securities),
    • Peter van der Velden (CEO, Lumira Capital);
  • Government:
    • John Marshall (Director, MRI, responsible for OETF)
    • Ryan Lock (Acting Director, MRI, responsible for BIP)

Lots of great information on funding opportunities, and luckily, the whole thing is archived (here) online.  To access the presentation, enter “OBIO” when prompted.

Ontario’s $250 million Emerging Technology Fund Launches!

Pfizer and Ontario BIP Program Funding New $6.9 million “POP-CURE” Project for Colorectal Cancer Genomics

B&W_DNA_sequence Pfizer Global Research and Development is contributing $6 million and the Ontario government is contributing $900,000, through the Biopharmaceutical Investment Program (BIP), for a new project “to discover and validate new targets for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of colorectal cancer.”  Brad Wouters, a Senior Scientist with the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI) and a Senior Investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), will lead the project.

Here’s the scoop from the OICR press release:

“Dr. Wouters and a team of scientists at OCI and OICR will use genomic and molecular pathology approaches and develop a large clinical biobank to identify molecular signatures in colorectal cancer. These molecular signatures will be used to accelerate the development of biomarkers for early detection, monitoring and treatment of cancer.”

The Canadian Press article includes some additional background info on the project, which Paul Lévesque, president of Pfizer Canada, says began with a trip by Ontario researchers to meet Pfizer scientists in San Diego almost two years ago.

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Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund: Q&A From MRI Briefing

Ontario LogoThe questions and answers from last Friday’s MRI information session have been posted on MERX.  Here’s the link to the whole thing (if you have MERX access), but I’ll save you some time:

  • There are two parts to the bid — one for evaluating Qualified Investors and one for evaluating Qualified Investments.  The same bidder might be selected for both; but there will be a maximum of one bidder selected for each Part.
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest means …  still can’t tell, actually.  The only thing we can tell for sure is that if you win the bid, you can’t be a Qualified Investor or bring in a Qualified Investment.  Which leaves who, exactly?
  • Lots of “no”s for the bidders: no indemnification, no inflation-indexed fees, no upside participation…
  • Foreign funds can be Qualified Investors.
  • Investee companies will be required to have and maintain an “Ontario footprint.”  Shoe size TBD.

Here’s an interesting one:

Q105. How would the ministry deal with exit events that may go against Ontario’s interests? What triggers the assessment?
A105. As an investor, Ontario will decide on how to deal with exit events taking into consideration the recommendation of the Proponent, the interest of Ontario and the interest of all other stakeholders.

In other words, we have no idea.  Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.  Cheers!

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Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund RFP: Excerpts from MRI Presentation

A couple of weeks ago, Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation put out an RFP for the new $250 million Emerging Technologies Fund, looking for a third party to evaluate co-investor and investment applications, and to administer and monitor investments for the fund.

Last Friday, they held a briefing for interested parties where they presented an overview of the ETF and of the RFP.  Here are the interesting bits:

Also, note that the deadline for addenda was extended. MRI can now publish addenda until June 18th, but bids are still due the 24th.

In order for your bid not to be disqualified, you have to get the RFP and apply through the tender system, MERX. It’s a ton of fun, plus you get access to the whole RFP and further updates, and can check out who’s been checking it out, too.

MRI RFP ISO for Emerging Technology Fun(d)

Ontario LogoOntario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation has put out an RFP for the new $250 million Emerging Technologies Fund.

They are looking for someone to evaluate co-investor and investment applications, and to administer and monitor investments for the fund.

Here’s the blurb from the RFP Abstract:

The OETF is a new $250 million program announced as part of Ontario’s 2009 Budget that would invest $250 million dollars over five years together with qualified venture capital funds and other private sector investors. This initiative is designed to help Ontario respond to the challenges emerging technology companies are experiencing in raising venture capital and other private equity. The Fund will focus on clean technologies, health and life sciences, and information and communication technologies, including digital media. The goal of the fund is to co-invest in high growth, innovative Ontario technology companies, with OETF as a co-investor. The RFP will enable MRI to retain the necessary external experts to support MRI in evaluating co-investors and co-investments, and in administering and monitoring these investments.

The final date for receiving written questions is June 10, 2009, 4:00 p.m.

Final Addenda will be issued by June 16, 2009, 4:00 p.m.

Optional Proponents Briefing will be held on June 12, 2009, 10:00 a.m.

Proposals must be received before 2:00 p.m. on June 24, 2009.

Read the full RFP at MERX.

Brain Drain and Ontario Genomics Funding: Globe and Mail Prefers to Hear the Bad News First

On the front page of the Globe and Mail this morning: Top AIDS researcher lured away, urges Harper ‘soul-searching’, citing $148 million in cuts to the Canadian funding agencies.

Buried several links down below the fold in the National section: Ontario to provide major new research funding – in fact, $100 million to retain researchers, which makes up fully two-thirds of what the Harper budget cut.  Something we mentioned here a month ago when it was announced in the budget.

That’s more than a silver lining, it’s a whole different perspective.  Enough with the doom and gloom.  There’s money out there.  Go get it.

Update: at least the Globe has added the Ontario story as a “related” link under the Sékaly story.

Update2: Here is the MRI press release. The funding is directed to genomics research.

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It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Super Provincial Genomics Funding!!

You may remember Genome Canada’s reaction to the 2009 Canadian Federal budget.  Here’s one bit from ScienceInsider at the time:

Researchers funded by Genome Canada … are reacting with shock to news that the Canadian government is withdrawing funding from the 9-year-old organization.

Not true! Cried the Canadian government.

Well, this week Genome Canada’s Board decided  (unanimously) to withdraw funding from the International Regulome Consortium project.  Here’s the reaction from IRC:

Michael Rudnicki, the senior scientist and chair of the International Regulome Consortium, said he is devastated by the news.  He said Martin Godbout, president and CEO of Genome Canada, phoned him this week to say that the agency had to terminate its support because of the budget.

Not true!  Cried Genome Canada.  Well, there’s some support for that, with Godbout citing “significant scientific and management issues;” but more importantly, the recent Ontario Budget included $100 million in the Ontario Research Fund to support “genomics and gene-related research,” so I don’t think genomics research in Ontario is short the money right now.

In fact, according to Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson’s comments at a BIO2009 preparation meeting last week, that $100 million is targeted to rebut any suggestion of a weakening of support for genomics research in Ontari0.

And, right at the other end of the Ontario-Quebec Corridor, a $5 million donation plus a $6.6 million construction investment, plus recruitment of internationally renowned scientists, has added up to over $80 million in funding attracted from various sources to advance pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine research at the new Centre de pharmacogénomique Beaulieu-Saucier de l’Université de Montréal (Beaulieu-Saucier Centre for Pharmacogenomics at the University of Montréal).

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$250 million Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund Seen, Raised by $825 million Quebec Venture Capital Fund

Ontario announced the $250 million Emerging Technologies Fund yesterday … pretty much exactly what Monday’s letter to McGuinty from the CVCA requested. That has got to be, by the way, either:

  1. the world’s first psychic government relations campaign, or
  2. the world’s fastest government stimulus.

Not to be out-done, the Québec budget today included an $825 million venture capital fund.  The government is teaming up with the Fonds de solidarité FTQ (english), the investing arm of the province’s labour federation, and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (english).

It will be interesting to see whether VC funds who receive OVCF money will also be eligible for the ETF matching.  The Ministry says that full guidelines will be posted on the MRI web site before the end of June 2009.

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