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Human Resources

Approaching employee benefits programs with a pioneering mindset 15

newsmaker

Bioenterprise’s Dave Smardon on being an ecosystem builder 19

Moments in Time

Howard Borden Newcombe paves way for advances in molecular genetics 22

march/april 2018

Championing the Business of Biotechnology in Canada

gene therapy New tools continue to unlock doors in the burgeoning field

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inside

feature

human capital

15

NewsMaker: Dave Smardon

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fixing the Genes

The young field of gene therapy may hold a solution for genetic disease.

Maintaining an employee benefits program in the biotech sector.

Championing the Business of Biotechnology in Canada

CEO of Bioenterprise Corporation, winner of a 2017 BIOTECanada Gold Leaf Award.

standard HUMAN RESOURCES

Approaching employee benefits programs with a pioneering mindset 15

NEWSMAKER

Bioenterprise’s Dave Smardon on being an ecosystem builder 19

MOMENTS IN TIME

Howard Borden Newcombe paves way for advances in molecular genetics 22

MARCH/APRIL 2018

David Suzuki Can insects revolutionize the way we eat and produce food?

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Championing the Business of Biotechnology in Canada

Polymer Labware THE DEFINITIVE SOURCE FOR LAB PRODUCTS, NEWS AND DEVELOPMENTS

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March/April 2018

Altering surface properties improves test results

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a

Editor’s note 5 canadian news 6 worldwide news 8 moments in time 22

GLIMPSE

HOPE of

GENE THERAPY

Gene therapy may offer optimism for treating rare eye diseases

New tools continue to unlock doors in the burgeoning field

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Do the flip!

Meet the Alberta researchers who may have discovered a way to restore sight.

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Celebrating science, innovation and solutions September 24 – 30, 2018

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guest editorial

Publisher & CEO Christopher J. Forbes cforbes@jesmar.com

Putting science to work solving realworld problems – and winning awards By Cheryl Croucher

Bio Business is a proud member of BioteCanada and Life Sciences Ontario

The University of Lethbridge has been sending teams of students to compete in the iGEM Jamboree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston for the last 10 years. At the competition sponsored by iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation), student teams by the hundreds gather from around the world to present their latest projects in synthetic biology or genetically engineered machines. You may have no clue about synthetic biology or genetically engineered machines, but you no doubt understand what it means to come home with gold from an international competition. Given the winning history of the U of L teams over the last few years, it would be easy to say there’s a dynasty in the making. Taylor Sheahan is a PhD candidate at the University of Lethbridge who participated in the 2016 and 2017 iGEMs. Both times, her teams brought home gold medals. Sheahan has degrees in chemical and biomedical engineering. “To me, synthetic biology and genetically engineered machines, in the simplest terms, just means combining those different disciplines of biology and engineering to try to solve realworld problems by designing new systems or machines to actually achieve that goal.” We’re talking about biological systems and living machines at the molecular level, using bits of DNA, RNA, bacteria, proteins and other fun stuff. Last year, Sheahan’s team spent the summer working on its project, a nano-strip that could test for pathogens in emergency vehicles. “We were approached by the local fire department and EMS because they were concerned about how clean their vehicles actually are, the safety of their workers and if they’re transporting these pathogens back to their families,” said Sheahan. The students continue to refine this nano-strip with hopes of commercializing the invention. For their 2017 iGEM project, Sheahan’s team focused on the ambitious goal of making synthetic biology available to everyone, from teachers to do-it-yourself hobbyists to scientists working in state-of-the-art labs. Sheahan calls it a cell free system. “What we’re doing is providing a new tool for synthetic biologists that’s also safer as it is not using a living cell, which is traditionally the platform used for synthetic biology.” Bioethics and biosecurity are key components that the teams must address as they prepare their presentations for the judges. For example, this new tool could be useful in biocontainment, but there could also be biosecurity issues. As Sheahan points out, “We’re in contact with the Public Safety Department of Canada, as well as other regulatory groups. We’re trying to address these concerns and start a movement towards how these are regulated because currently they’re not included in any of our legislation.” Along with the gold medal for its project, the team received the Biosafety and Biosecurity Commendation, a shout-out from the FBI, and nominations in the categories of Best Software, Best Human Integrated Human Practices, and Best Education and Public Engagement. The scientist who has mentored these iGEM teams over the last decade is Dr. HansJoachim Wieden. He holds the Alberta Innovates Strategic Chair in Bioengineering in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge and is director of the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute. This year’s iGEM win brings the medal total to 10 gold, with high school teams contributing a silver in 2017 and a bronze in 2016. The 2017 high school team used synthetic biology to investigate environment-friendly printer inks based on plant pigments and engineered e.coli bacteria.

Publisher of Lab Business Magazine Bio Business Magazine

Veteran broadcast and online journalist Cheryl Croucher produces InnovationAnthology. com, which can be heard online and on CKUA Radio. This is the first in a 10-part series sponsored by Alberta Innovates. Troy Media Marketplace 2017 – All Rights Reserved

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Championing the Business of Biotechnology in Canada

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canadian news

Agricultural Clean Tech Program Launches

In March, the federal government launched the Agricultural Clean Technology program with a $25-million, three-year investment to help the agricultural sector reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the development and adoption of clean technologies. Provinces and territories are eligible to apply for federal funding through this program and are encouraged to work with industry on projects that focus on precision agriculture and/or bioproducts. Clean technology permits farmers to undertake efficient uses of energy and the production of renewable energy, while contributing to the protection of the soil, water and air.

National Research Council Plays Key Role in Newly Approved Ebola Vaccine

Government Invests in Research to Address AMR

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change so that drugs that were previously effective against them stop working. In March, the Minister of Health announced an investment of $300,000 to support projects focused on improving our understanding of how key players in Canada and internationally can be better connected and work together collaboratively to tackle AMR. This funding will support three research teams located at the University of New Brunswick, the University of Sherbrooke, and the University of Ottawa.

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Pheromone Insight may Help Predict Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreaks

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have shed new light on how mountain pine beetles produce an important pheromone called trans-verbenol, which could aid in efforts to better predict outbreaks. In a study titled, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists have uncovered previously unknown reservoirs of trans-verbenol in the bodies of juvenile mountain pine beetles. Transverbenol is a pheromone female mountain pine beetles use to attract other insects to a suitable host tree and coordinate large-scale attacks.

In response to the Ebola outbreak that claimed more than 10,000 lives in West Africa four years ago, Canada and China worked on a new Ebola vaccine. Created by the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences’ Bioengineering Institute and CanSino Biologics Inc., the vaccine has recently been approved by Chinese regulators. The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) developed the manufacturing process. The vaccine is made from living cells engineered by the NRC. Named HEK 293, these cells are grown inside stainless steel tanks and require special conditions and nutrients to thrive. Experts reproduced a variety of tests to successfully transfer a process for the production of this vaccine in a manufacturing facility. Should another Ebola outbreak occur, the vaccine would be ready to be deployed. “Our participation in strategic R&D collaborations with Experts reproduced a variety of tests international partners is driving to successfully transfer a process for the biomanufacturing of new, the production of this vaccine in a targeted, and effective treatments manufacturing facility. Should another in underserved areas,” says Iain Ebola outbreak occur, the vaccine Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada. “We would be ready to be deployed. are pleased that our expertise and knowledge in this area will enable CanSino to manufacture their Ebola vaccine.” Dr. Xuefeng Yu, Chairman and CEO of CanSino Biologics Inc., adds, “CanSinoBio is a biotechnology company dedicated to vaccine research, development and commercialization aimed at addressing markets and public health needs for China and other global markets. The NRC’s HEK 293 GMP-ready cell line and associated technologies provide a great platform for the development and manufacturing of new vaccines. CanSinoBio is grateful to be able to demonstrate its potential. We look forward to continue working with the NRC to develop other vaccines to address unmet medical needs.” In addition to its work on this Ebola vaccine, the NRC has also developed and licensed the cells and processes to manufacture a vaccine that prevents transmission of a virus that causes birth defects from mothers to their babies, an anti-cancer treatment, as well an anti-Alzheimer’s treatment, all of which are currently in or destined for clinical trials.


worldwide news

Wild Earth Introduces Cultured Clean Protein for $30B Pet Food Market

Decoding the Chemistry of Fear

A team of investigators from the Salk Institute uncovered different mechanisms of fear and anxiety through the tiny nematode worm. By analyzing the responses of worms exposed to chemicals secreted by its natural predator and studying the underlying molecular pathways, a fear-like response was uncovered that has parallels to human anxiety. Such insights may help refine prescriptions for current anti-anxiety drugs.

Five Major New Biodiversity Assessments to be launched as 750 World Experts and Policymakers Meet

Top: Ron Shigeta, CSO Bottom: Ryan Bethencourt, CEO

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Wild Earth Inc., a biotech start-up, announced recently it is using cultured proteins to develop clean, high-quality pet foods for the $30-billion pet food market. Much like biotech companies creating cultured meats for human consumption, Wild Earth will produce pet foods that are healthier, more environmentally friendly, and more humane than conventional products. The company’s first cultured protein product is made from human-grade Koji, a fungi already enjoyed by billions of people around the world that is eco-friendly and renewably sourced. Wild Earth can create a range of proteins and carbohydrates, with varied textures and flavours. All products and ingredients are sourced, formulated, and made in the U.S. The company is headquartered in Berkeley, CA. “Wild Earth will be the first to bring cultured protein and cultured meat products for dogs and cats to market, that are nutritious, humane, and without the devastating ecological impact of factory farming,” says Ryan Bethencourt, Wild Earth CEO. “Using biotechnology gives us the ability to scale and to get a product to market safely, quickly and affordably.” Wild Earth says it is committed to providing the safest pet foods available. Recent recalls have raised concerns over contaminated trusted pet food brands. By using cultured proteins, Wild Earth will avoid risks associated with traditional animal-based proteins. An estimated 25 to 30 per cent of meat’s environmental impact in the U.S. is attributed to pet food, but Wild Earth can produce at scale at a fraction of the environmental cost. “Wild Earth has found a novel way to deliver protein and will have a great nutritional profile, to meet the same requirements as meat-based pet foods,” says the company’s chief veterinary officer, Dr. Ernie Ward. “Pet-lovers want healthy, humane, and environmentally friendly choices, and Wild Earth formulas will deliver nutrition without affecting the planet.” Products will be tested via a protocol approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials and PETA, conducted by volunteers and animals living in homes, as opposed to caged laboratory animals as in conventional pet foods. They will test for qualities such as palatability, preference, digestibility studies, and stool quality. In addition to approvals by PETA and AAFCO, the company says this type of trial is gaining favour in the scientific community because it delivers real-world results.

An estimated 750 delegates participated in the sixth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services chaired by Sir Robert Watson, in Columbia in March. The IPBES is the global sciencepolicy platform tasked with providing the best-available evidence to inform better decisions about nature. Experts from around the world convened for eight days with policymakers from more than 115 countries to finalize landmark reports from five major expert assessments, focused on biodiversity, nature’s contributions to people, and issues of land degradation and restoration.

EpiGentek Backs New Epigenetics Skincare Startup

EpiGentek, a NY-based biotechnology firm specializing in epigenetic research products and services, announced its technological and financial support for new skincare startup, EpigenCare. William Lee, who served as an operations executive for a number of years at EpiGentek, spearheads EpigenCare’s venture as its CEO. EpiGentek will work in collaboration with EpigenCare to bring to the consumer market a personalized skincare test based on epigenetic markers. These markers were validated in the lab using nextgeneration sequencing with the assistance of EpiGentek.


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feature storY

bio business

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Genes

Mending


feature story

Innovative Canadian researchers are advancing the young field of gene therapy By Hermione Wilson

Gene therapy treatments have only been approved for humans since the 1990s, says Ian Winship, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Edmonton’s University of Alberta and head of the school’s Neurochemical Research Unit. It’s still “early days,” but after two decades, Winship’s PhD student, Anna Wiersma, and their colleagues may have struck upon a treatment that will make recovery from a stroke possible. Three hours away, Aneal Khan and his colleagues at the University of Calgary recently conducted the world’s first human trial of a gene therapy treatment for Fabry disease, a rare condition caused by a variant in the GLA gene. Gene therapy is defined by Health Canada as “an experimental approach to treating genetic disease where the faulty gene is fixed, replaced or supplemented with a health gene so that it can function normally.” In most current gene therapies, a virus is used as a delivery method, or vector, for the new gene, exploiting the virus’s natural ability to insert its genetic material into a human cell’s genome. Khan, an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Calgary and a practicing physician at Alberta Children’s Hospital, leads a group that is using a lentivirus as a delivery system. Lentiviruses are a type of virus with the ability to provide long-term and stable gene expression and to infect non-dividing cells. The problem in Fabry disease is the dysfunction of the GLA gene. The gene’s primary function is to produce a protein that breaks down a complex fat known as GL3. In a person with Fabry disease, the GLA gene does not produce enough of the protein and the GL3 fat builds up in the person’s system, causing physical symptoms such as kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. The only treatment is enzyme replacement, in which artificially manufactured protein is inserted into the patient every two weeks. “If you were going to treat hunger that way, then you would have a big meal every two weeks, and I think one can see that’s really not how the body works,” Khan says. “The body normally would make the enzyme and it would be secreted in small amounts twenty-four-seven.”

Left: Anna Wiersma is a PhD graduate of the University of Alberta and the lead author of the stroke therapy study, along with her supervisor, Ian Winship.

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Progress is slow.

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Bright green axons descend from the corticospinal tract of a rat that has received Wiersma and Winship’s experimental treatment post-stroke, showing that the drug increases the growth of axons and jumpstarts regeneration.

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Khan and his colleagues were not We’re trying to avoid the term ‘cure’ because, necessarily looking for technically, a cure means you have eliminated all a cure for Fabry disease; possibility of risk from the disease and we haven’t they started with the idea that there must be a better established that. way to treat the condition, – Aneal Khan, assistant professor, Department of Medical Genetics a more cost-effective and University of Calgary long-term solution to the problem of the GLA gene. They theorized that if they harvested stem cells from the patient, incubated those stem cells with the lentivirus, then put the stem cells back into the patient, “then we have this reservoir of cells that will live for the life of the patient and will make extra amounts of this protein,” Khan says. In January 2017, Darren Bidulka was the first ever recipient of this experimental gene therapy. “For an inborn error of metabolism [disease] in Canada it’s the first gene therapy treatment,” Khan says. “For Fabry disease, it’s the first in the world.” He is circumspect about whether this will be a long-term solution to the disease, however. “We’re trying to avoid the term ‘cure’ because, technically, a cure means you have eliminated all possibility of risk from the disease and we haven’t established that,” he says. “What it is, is a way to offer a long-term treatment, and of course we don’t know how long-term, and by doing so their quality of life would be similar to a person who didn’t have the disease.” Still, it appears, more than a year later, that the cells of the two patients who received the experimental treatment are producing the enzyme needed to break down GL3 and it appears to be from the product the researchers injected. Wiersma’s study, which was published last year in the Journal of Neuroscience, has not yet progressed to human trials. The experimental therapy piggybacks on work done in the area of spinal cord injuries a drug based on the enzyme chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) is used to interrupt the extracellular matrix of cells in the brain in order to encourage the rewiring of the brain and spinal cord. “[The extracellular matrix] is important for maintaining stability in the adult brain. When your brain and spinal cord are functioning well, this matrix acts to keep things stable and keeps things functioning properly. But after an injury you actually want to ideally improve the brain and the spinal cord’s ability to rewire itself, to replace connections that are lost, and in that case this matrix acts to prevent that.”


feature story

Gene therapy treatments have only been

approved for humans since the 1990s. off after it’s in there so that it can be expressed only when they want it and not all the time. They want to change the vector type to make it one of the more commonly used ones in people, and basically optimize the approach so that it’s really attractive.” He anticipates that the CHASEIT project treatment for spinal cord injuries will move fairly quickly to human trials, because there is such a wealth of preclinical data in that field, and that will be the gateway which will allow it to transfer to stroke patients as well. Gene therapies have currently been approved for the treatment of a handful of genetic disorders and cancers around the world, but the field is still in its infancy. The development of new methods and technology, such as the controversial CRISPR technique of gene editing, has opened the door to more and more possibilities, as well as necessary ethical considerations. Khan admits that it might someday be possible to do the Fabry disease gene therapy using the CRISPR technique, but at what cost? “Right now what they’re working on with CRISPR is what is called off-target effects, so that if you go and edit the patient’s original DNA, are you sure you’ve edited the right spot?” he says. “Could you have possibly edited a spot that will predispose them to cancer or something else?” It’s easy to control cells in a Petri dish in the lab, Khan says, but cells inside the human body are not so predictable. BB

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The enzyme has been tested in spinal cord injury to look at ways to reduce the matrix and the scarring in the spinal cord in order to improve regeneration, Winship says. He and his colleagues thought that it might do the same thing for post-stroke recovery by increasing rewiring in that region of the spinal cord. In patients who have had a stroke, there is usually a period of recovery, Winship says. If they receive rehabilitative training immediately afterwards, but after a few months that recovery slows to a stop. The enzyme treatment may help. Winship’s lab took rats and induced a stroke in an area of the brain that controls the use of their forelimb. As in a human, they would train the rats to use the affected forelimb for a month, at which point the animal had recovered as much use of their forelimb as they were going to, then injected the ChABC enzyme directly into the rat’s spinal cord. “What we showed is that if you just injected the enzyme and that’s all you did, you saw a little bit of an improvement in [the animal’s] ability to use their forepaw, but what you also saw was a tremendous increase in the connections from the brain to the spinal cord,” Winship says. “Anatomically, it did seem like the drug was increasing this rewiring, but just by itself, it didn’t necessarily have a huge functional benefit.” The next step in this experimental treatment is to get it to work in humans, which necessitates a new delivery method. This is where gene therapy comes in. With the rats, it was enough to inject the enzyme directly into the spinal cord, Winship says. In humans, you would need a delivery method that would ensure that the treatment was expressed over a much larger area for a longer period of time, Winship says. "That’s why we and others are interested in using a viral vector approach, which is where you inject a viral vector into the spinal cord,” he says. In Europe, researchers with the CHASE-IT project are developing viral vectors for this purpose. “What they’re trying to do is optimize a vector approach for treating spinal cord injury, and there are a number of things they want to do to get it into people,” Winship says. “They want to be able to turn the gene on and

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human resources

Human

By J. Madison McKimm

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Resources

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human resources

Employee Benefits and the Power of Affinity

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ntroducing and maintaining an employee benefits program can be a challenge for any business, across any industry. It can be a complex task depending on the maturity of the business and number of employees participating in the program. Both small and large market employers have unique workforce needs and as such, each has its own financial resource requirements. The same holds true for Canadian biotech companies and industry stakeholders, who are presented with a human capital challenge and untapped market opportunity. Human capital represents the people resources and talent needed to drive business growth. Industry stakeholders consist of employers (plan sponsors), employees (plan members), affinity (advocate) groups, associations and other third-party service providers. Employee benefits are an important component of an employer’s total compensation/rewards strategy. Canadian biotech firms face direct and indirect competition with other businesses and industries, both domestic and international, when trying to attract and retain key employee talent. Adding to the challenge, benefit plans are not economically conducive for the venture capital-backed biotech start-ups that comprise much of the industry. Several barriers prevent small market employers from accessing the cost and risk transfer models that are traditionally available to large market employers. Access to these models supports sustainable and scalable benefit plans, enabling companies to offer more attractive compensation. Not having access can force companies to market (shop) their plan more frequently, which can have a negative impact on both the insurer and employees’ perception of the stability of the plan. Large market employers have the advantage of spreading their employee health risk across a greater number of employees which can grant access to preferred financial arrangements with insurers. The barriers often faced by small market employers begin with the size of the participating employee group, followed by a firm’s (limited) knowledgebase and the finite resources available to self-direct and align benefit programs with business objectives. Furthermore, staying current on benefits and insurance industry trends and technology can be a challenge for businesses of any size and stage. For biotech firms, the ability to overcome these barriers is linked to the ability to capitalize on the market opportunity. Until recently, no single (comprehensive) group benefits program provider existed to serve and solve the benefitsrelated problem(s) of the Canadian biotech industry. Such

The biotech industry is competitive from both a product and talent perspective. As firms compete to bring life changing molecules to market, they are also competing for the people needed to support the next big breakthrough.


an opportunity, combined with the industry’s existing affinity network, supported by organizations like BioTalent Canada and Life Sciences Ontario, gives way for a provider to introduce a national benefits distribution network. The current network is well-positioned to support a single source offering for all benefit types. This can help promote a consolidated human capital strategy, while empowering small market biotech to overcome barriers to access the more favourable cost control and risk transfer strategies associated with large market plan sponsors. The link between the human capital challenge and employee benefits compensation is strong. Through “risk pooling,” the existing affinity network can drive greater purchasing power across the small market employers in the industry. Risk pooling offers plan sponsors the opportunity to participate in a shared (life and health) claims experience beyond its own demographics, which can promote stable and sustainable benefit program costs year-toyear. As not-for-profit associations continue to advocate for a consolidated national life sciences strategy, an industry-pooled benefits program is an attractive incentive model that can support membership growth

and participation across the affinity network collective. A strong affinity network promotes trust and loyalty, further strengthening the voice of industry to help advocate for other challenges like best practices and funding. The biotech industry is competitive from both a product and talent perspective. As firms compete to bring life changing molecules to market, they are also competing for the people needed to support the next big breakthrough. The need for the industry to capitalize on these opportunities is both critical and necessary for the Canadian biotech community to thrive in the global marketplace and acquisition of talent. Biotech firms are pioneers of the future and need to approach their employee benefits program with a similar mindset. It is important they work with benefit providers who drive meaningful change in partnership with and for their clients – offering high-end support at both the plan sponsor and plan member level(s). Plan sponsors should expect their providers to continuously deliver needs-based advice, updates on benefits and insurance trends (including developments in plan design) and enable easy access to health and wellness with tech-driven administration and service. Plan members should expect ease of access at each benefit level of the program and be mindful of receiving knowledge-building advice that supports their decision making within a given plan design. With recent trends in group insurance, both plan sponsors and plan members should expect their provider to offer access to plan designs with embedded cost containment features and new (voluntary) products. These enhancements do not require greater employer costs and give employees choice to participate in the benefits most important to them, at their own cost. The power of affinity networks supplies the industry with an influential tool that can not only enhance the value employees place on benefits and total rewards, but offer a sustainable cost control model for employers. Many of the products and services commercialized by the biotech industry are health-related products and services. The successful commercializing of these products and services has a soft link with the cost-model and design of employee benefit programs, as it is often group insurance programs in conjunction with government-funded programs that pay for these products and services, on behalf of the endconsumer. The power of the industry’s affinity, as it relates to employee benefits for biotech, can empower the industry to become their own best advocate and reference in the application, distribution and commercialization of the healthrelated products brought to market. BB J. Madison McKimm is President and CEO, BioBenefits Inc.

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human resources

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dmonton Tourism's Edmonton Tourism'sMeetings Meetingsand andConventions Conventionsoperates operatesunder underthe the Edmonton EdmontonTourism's Tourism'sMeetings Meetingsand andConventions Conventionsoperates operatesunder underthethe dmonton Economic Development Corporation, and that’s a big Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, and that’s a big Edmonton Tourism's and under the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, and a abig Edmonton Tourism's Meetings andConventions Conventions operates under the Edmonton EconomicMeetings Development Corporation,operates andthat’s that’s big dvantage. Working with Edmonton Tourism allows you to tap advantage. Working with Edmonton Tourism allows you to tap Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, and that’s a big advantage. Working with Edmonton Tourism allows you to tap Edmonton Development and you that’sto a tap big advantage.Economic Working with EdmontonCorporation, Tourism allows nto industry expertise through Startup Edmonton, the city’s hub for into industry expertise through Startup Edmonton, the city’s hub for advantage. Working with Edmonton Tourism allows you to tap into industry expertise through Startup Edmonton, the hub advantage. Working with Edmonton Tourism allows you tofor tap into industry expertise through Startup Edmonton, thecity’s city’s hub for tartup culture; our growing Innovation Corridor; and and the Health startup culture; our growing Innovation Corridor; and and the Health startup culture; our growing Innovation Corridor; and and the Health into industry expertise through Startup Edmonton, the city’s hub startup culture; our growing Innovation Corridor; and and the Health into industry expertise through Startup Edmonton, the city’s hubforfor City Initiative. Edmonton’s Health City is a city-wide collaboration that City Initiative. Edmonton’s Health is a city-wide collaboration that City Initiative. Edmonton’s Health City is a city-wide collaboration startup culture; our growing Innovation Corridor; and and the Health City Initiative. Edmonton’s Health City is a city-wide collaboration that startup culture; our growing Innovation Corridor; and and the that Health nhances communication and cooperation between every segment enhances communication and cooperation between every segment enhances communication and cooperation between every segment enhances communication and cooperation between every segment City Initiative. Edmonton’s Health City is a city-wide collaboration that City Initiative. Edmonton’s Health City is a city-wide collaboration that public and private) ofand care This (public and private) ofand health care sector. This (public and private) of the health care sector. This (public and private) ofthe thehealth health care sector. sector. This enhances communication cooperation between every segment enhances communication cooperation between every segment nterconnectivity helps us keep you connected to everything that’s interconnectivity helps us keep you connected to everything that’s interconnectivity helps us usof keep to interconnectivity helps keep youconnected connected to everything everything that’s (public and the health sector. This (public and private) private) of the health care care sector. that’s This happening, and on the horizon, in our city. appening, and on the horizon, in our city. happening, and on the horizon, in our city. happening, and on the horizon, in our city. interconnectivity helps us keep you connected to everything that’s interconnectivity helps us keep you connected to everything that’s

happening, and onon the horizon, in in our city. happening, and the horizon, our city. From emerging fields to established industries Edmonton has range From emerging fields to established industries Edmonton has a range range rom emerging fields toto established industries Edmonton has aa arange From emerging fields established industries Edmonton has ofpassionate passionate speakers and researchers eager to tell their story. of passionate speakers and researchers eager to tell their story. fof passionate speakers and researchers eager to tell their story. speakers and researchers eager to tell has their story. From fields industries Edmonton Fromemerging emerging fieldstotoestablished established industries Edmonton hasa arange range Whatever your field, you can get in touch with our Research Team toto Whatever your field, you can get in touch with our Research Team Whatever your field, you can get in touch with our Research Team to Whatever your field, you can get in touch with our Research Team to ofofpassionate speakers and researchers eager to tell their story. passionate speakers and researchers eager to tell their story. connect you with our local industry experts. connect you with our local industry experts. onnect you with our local industry experts. connect you with our local industry Whatever your you Team Whatever yourfield, field, youcan cangetgetinexperts. intouch touchwith withour ourResearch Research Teamtoto connect you with our local industry experts. connect you with our local industry experts.

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UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, NORQUEST UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, NORQUEST UNIVERSITY OFOF ALBERTA, NORQUEST UNIVERSITY ALBERTA, NORQUEST COLLEGE, NAIT, AND MACEWAN COLLEGE, NAIT, AND MACEWAN COLLEGE, NAIT, AND MACEWAN COLLEGE, NAIT, AND MACEWAN UNIVERSITY FULL TIME EQUIVALENT UNIVERSITY FULL TIME EQUIVALENT UNIVERSITY FULL TIME EQUIVALENT UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, NORQUEST UNIVERSITY FULL TIME EQUIVALENT UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, NORQUEST STUDENTS FOR 2017-2018 FOR 2017-2018 STUDENTS FOR 2017-2018 COLLEGE, NAIT, AND MACEWAN STUDENTS FOR 2017-2018 (*COLLEGES AND INSTITUTES CANADA) COLLEGE, NAIT, AND MACEWAN (*COLLEGES AND INSTITUTES CANADA) STUDENTS UNIVERSITY FULL TIME EQUIVALENT UNIVERSITY FULL TIME EQUIVALENT STUDENTS FOR 2017-2018 STUDENTS FOR 2017-2018

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From start toto finish, our team Meetings and Conventions will help From start to finish, our team atat Meetings and Conventions will help From start to finish, our team at Meetings and Conventions will help From start finish, our team at Meetings and Conventions will help you make your conference unforgettable. That’s what being All In is all you make your conference unforgettable. That’s what being All In is all you make your conference unforgettable. That’s what being All In is all you make your conference unforgettable. That’s what being All In help is help all From start toto finish, our team at at Meetings and Conventions will From start finish, our team Meetings and Conventions will about. Together, we can strive totocreate meetings that are about. Together, we can strive create meetings that about. Together, we can strive meetings that about. Together, we can strive tocreate create meetings that are you make your conference unforgettable. That’s what being All Inare isare you make your conference unforgettable. That’s what being All In isall all transformative and more enriching, allall around. transformative and more enriching, around. transformative and more enriching, around. transformative and more enriching, all around. about. Together, we can strive to create meetings that are about. Together, we can strive to create meetings that are transformative and more enriching, allall around. transformative and more enriching, around.

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Newsmaker

QA &

with

Dave Smardon By Alexander McCleave

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n October, Bioenterprise Corporation, a national, non-profit agritechnology business accelerator was the recipient of BIOTECanada’s Gold Leaf Award for Ecosystem Builder for its demonstrated leadership, showing significant contributions to the Canadian biotech ecosystem through its engagement and responsibility. How does a company receive such a highly prized award? “Well, internal mandate,” says Dave Smardon, President and CEO. “We have taken what has been a successful commercialization model for a business accelerator and expanded it across Canada.”

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President and CEO, Bioenterprise

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Newsmaker

Tell me about Bioenterprise. I would describe us in two ways. Firstly, we are a business accelerator but we are a virtual one. This means we don’t actually incubate companies but we work with companies from coast to coast to accelerate their products in the marketplace and build sustainable organizations. The second way is to say that we are a commercialization engine. There a lot of different components that are acquired to start successful companies and we try to harness all of these components for companies into a single process or engine. bio business m a r c h /a p r i l 2 01 8

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Your company has 13 listed services on its website. Which are the most used? I think the number one service that we offer is our global network. Most of these organizations that reach out to us are looking for potential sales, potential partners and most of them are ill-equipped. They simply don’t have the network and connections that we do. In terms of connections, our organization does not stop at Canada, we have access to multinationals all over the world. We are able to help better portray organizations in the early stages. We help them realize and correct their faults and then connect them to the right people. This way the organization has a better chance of getting funding. Explain the Seed Fund. The Seed Fund is a delivery vehicle or delivery organization for the government. It is designed to provide small amounts

of capital in the early stages of an organizations birth. It helps start-ups facilitate the completion of certain tasks. The government money can be used to do things like assess distribution networks, competitive analysis, doing a pilot project, demonstration of their technology, and it can even be used to help with your intellectual property strategy. Our organization helps companies manage the money they receive from the government so it is not wasted and properly put to use. This government money also needs to be matched by private sector investors and we help facilitate with private investors and get them that extra funding.

We are able to help better portray organizations in the early stages. We help them realize and correct their faults and then connect them to the right people. This way the organization has a better chance of getting funding. – Dave Smardon, President and CEO, Bioenterprise


Newsmaker

– Dave Smardon, President and CEO, Bioenterprise What parts of the application do you look for when companies apply? It is very important for us to pick companies that we believe in, ones that have the potential to be leaders in the Canadian market. We look for technologies that are unique, disruptive, and most importantly, we look for innovations. We are very keen on innovation; it is why our organization was created: to inspire innovation and originality into a sector that had been very conservative. The agriculture industry can often be a very conservative area. For this reason, we want to look into new technologies and innovations that can be applied all across the industry; to create technologies that reduce costs, increase productivity, and build a leadership position for Canadian companies and the industry as a whole. What are some negatives that stand out on an application? The first thing that would stand out on an application is a lack of business experience. During the early stages of a company, there is often a lack of a true business sense. Generally, when a company has just developed a certain technology aspect

and just invented their product; the company doesn’t have any business leadership. The company is still being run by technology people and inventors. Companies need to find someone who has some experience on the business side and is comfortable building up an organization. The second thing that stands out is the common phrase, “there is nobody else out there that does what we do.” The truth of the matter is, however, that there is almost always competition in one way or another. BB

LIST OF ADVERTISERS & WEBSITES ag-west Page 2...................................................................................... www.agwest.sk.ca biotecanada Page 4 .......................................................................www.globalbiotechweek.ca canadian pharmaceutical distribution network Page 7 ..............................................................................................www.cpdn.ca Ontario government Page 9 ...........................................................www.investinOntario.com/BIO2018 Biotalent Page 14...................................................................................... www.biotalent.ca edmonton economic development Page 18 ................................................... www.exploreedmonton.com/meetings eppendorf Page 23........................................... www.eppendorf.com/my-lab-my-centrifuge VWR Page 24 ...........................................................................................www.vwr.com

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It is very important for us to pick companies that we believe in, ones that have the potential to be leaders in the Canadian market.

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moments in time

The Evolution of

Molecular Genetics

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n 1949, Nova Scotian geneticist Howard Borden Newcombe demonstrated the existence of spontaneous mutation in E. coli bacteria, a study that did away with the old belief that physical changes in an organism during its lifetime could be transmitted to its offspring. This paved the way for presentday advances in the understanding of molecular genetics. Newcombe was working at Ontario’s Chalk River Laboratory of Atomic Energy of Canada at the time, studying radiation-induced mutations and other effects in a number of organisms. He went on to conduct analytical studies in demographic genetics using vital statistics and health records, and pioneer computer-assisted record linkage techniques in epidemiology. This became the basis of modern electronic health records. Newcombe was the founder of the Genetics Society of Canada and served as its president in 1965. BB

Reference: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/howard-borden-newcombe www.cell.com/ajhg/issue?pii=S0002-9297(13)X0006-0 www.britannica.com/science/Lamarckism


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Profile for Dovetail Communications

Bio Business March/April 2018  

Bio Business March/April 2018