TechTalk Blog
AURP Canada Releases Inaugral Issue of CanadaNOW Magazine

The Canadian Association of University Research Parks / Association Canadienne des Parcs de Recherches d'Université (AURP Canada) is pleased to announce the release of their inaugural issue of CanadaNOW Magazine.  AURP Canada represents a membership of twenty-six university related research and technology parks across Canada.  This publication brings together the collaborative interests of the parks, government, business and academia spanning the breadth of the country.

Canada has a strategy for its technological future. An important part of that plan, both provincially and federally, includes university research parks. Canada’s parks play an integral role in helping government meet its economic objectives.

The very fabric of research and technology parks reaches from coast to coast by providing the nation with focal points of technological innovation. These parks represent more than just buildings; each park provides a playing field that melds the explorations of academia, the interests of government and the market savvy of business. The parks provide a physical place for the value-added activity required to grow ideas into commercial entities and drive our economy forward.

Every nation is searching for the tools and engines that can stimulate a knowledge-based economy. To stay on top demands an environment that encourages, supports and retains creative thinkers while providing access to the business acumen necessary to convert ideas into tangible enterprises.

“Since the incorporation of AURP Canada, the parks are working together like never before”, says Dale Gann, president of AURP Canada. “Our parks contribute in a meaningful way to technology transfer, commercialization and the facilitation of collaborative partnerships, key priorities of our country and our Association.”

Today, Canada’s twenty-six research and technology parks are already home to over 950 hi-tech companies and research centres. AURP Canada stands ready to join with all levels of government in creating opportunities for policy-makers, industry and academic leaders to engage with each other in the common purpose of creating jobs and improving the quality of life through the stimulation of economic development.

The first annual issue of Canada Now will introduce you to each of these parks, their targeted industries, key initiatives underway and the clients they serve. The collective work of these parks and the communities they represent act as important engines in keeping the Canadian economy relevant and at the table of change.

 

 

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About AURP Canada

The Association of University Research Parks Canada (AURP Canada) is the first chapter of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a North American non-profit organization that represents the 155 university research parks across the United States and Canada. AURP Canada was founded in June 2007 with a mandate to work with provincial and federal governments to support innovation within Canada. The mission of AURP Canada is to act as the united voice of Canadian university research parks to build awareness in support of science and technology infrastructure enabling all stakeholders to achieve future growth and sustainability while nurturing the economic prosperity of these knowledge-based communities. AURP Canada currently represents 26 Research and Technology Parks from Truro, NS to Victoria, BC.

AURP Canada releases CanadaNOW Magazine

The Canadian Association of University Research Parks / Association Canadienne des Parcs de Recherches d'Université (AURP Canada) is pleased to announce the release of their inaugural issue of CanadaNOW Magazine.  AURP Canada represents a membership of twenty-six university related research and technology parks across Canada.  This publication brings together the collaborative interests of the parks, government, business and academia spanning the breadth of the country.

Canada has a strategy for its technological future. An important part of that plan, both provincially and federally, includes university research parks. Canada’s parks play an integral role in helping government meet its economic objectives.

The very fabric of research and technology parks reaches from coast to coast by providing the nation with focal points of technological innovation. These parks represent more than just buildings; each park provides a playing field that melds the explorations of academia, the interests of government and the market savvy of business. The parks provide a physical place for the value-added activity required to grow ideas into commercial entities and drive our economy forward.

Every nation is searching for the tools and engines that can stimulate a knowledge-based economy. To stay on top demands an environment that encourages, supports and retains creative thinkers while providing access to the business acumen necessary to convert ideas into tangible enterprises.

“Since the incorporation of AURP Canada, the parks are working together like never before”, says Dale Gann, president of AURP Canada. “Our parks contribute in a meaningful way to technology transfer, commercialization and the facilitation of collaborative partnerships, key priorities of our country and our Association.”

Today, Canada’s twenty-six research and technology parks are already home to over 950 hi-tech companies and research centres. AURP Canada stands ready to join with all levels of government in creating opportunities for policy-makers, industry and academic leaders to engage with each other in the common purpose of creating jobs and improving the quality of life through the stimulation of economic development.

The first annual issue of Canada Now will introduce you to each of these parks, their targeted industries, key initiatives underway and the clients they serve. The collective work of these parks and the communities they represent act as important engines in keeping the Canadian economy relevant and at the table of change.

 

 

–  30 – 

  

  

About AURP Canada 

The Association of University Research Parks Canada (AURP Canada) is the first chapter of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a North American non-profit organization that represents the 155 university research parks across the United States and Canada. AURP Canada was founded in June 2007 with a mandate to work with provincial and federal governments to support innovation within Canada. The mission of AURP Canada is to act as the united voice of Canadian university research parks to build awareness in support of science and technology infrastructure enabling all stakeholders to achieve future growth and sustainability while nurturing the economic prosperity of these knowledge-based communities. AURP Canada currently represents 26 Research and Technology Parks from Truro, NS to Victoria, BC.

Streetlight Intelligence Inc. Wins BC Hydro Powersmart Excellence Award

As their name suggests, Streetlight Intelligence is a leader in developing new technology for adaptive street lighting. Streetlight Intelligence’s innovative Lumen IQ™ streetlight optimization system can be retrofitted into streetlights and uses wireless two-way communication to remotely control and dim individual streetlights during non-peak periods. A global positioning system assigns coordinates to each street light, allowing outages to be located, tracked and reported via wireless systems and the Internet. Streetlight Intelligence teamed up with the City of Prince George in a pilot project to test the Lumen IQ system in 65 luminaires—and it was a resounding success. The project employed various dimming levels.

Streetlights that were dimmed by 50 per cent achieved a 40 per cent power savings, with no impact on the safety of drivers or pedestrians, and the overall energy reduction was 25 per cent, compared with standard streetlights. Thanks to the City of Prince George’s generosity in sharing the pilot results, some 30 municipalities have already expressed interest in adopting the new technology, expanding the potential savings clear across the province. When it comes to energy-efficient street lighting, Streetlight Intelligence shines bright.

GenoLogics, JMP Genomics to Provide End-to-End Data Management and Analysis

GenoLogics and SAS today announced plans to integrate the Geneus lab and data management solution with the JMP Genomics statistical discovery application from SAS to provide a comprehensive system for managing and analyzing large genomic data sets.

Together, Geneus and JMP Genomics will offer genomics centers a powerful combination. Geneus manages sample information and user workflows, and summarizes raw data from vast genomic data sets. JMP Genomics then provides interactive downstream analysis to uncover meaningful patterns in high-throughput genetics, expression microarray and proteomics data.

This integration will let research organizations maximize their return on investment by generating high-quality genomic data sets and applying specialized statistical analysis tools to identify crucial nuggets of information hidden in long lists of candidate genes or biomarkers.

“The data deluge is a challenge that genomics centers are struggling to overcome. By working with GenoLogics, we are able to provide our clients with a seamless solution that allows efficient data management with customizable analysis options. This solution can help bridge the gap between raw sequence reads and downstream statistical analysis to accelerate scientific discovery,” said Shannon Conners, PhD, JMP Genomics Product Manager.

“Our goal with Geneus is to fully integrate our data management system with the leading instrument and software vendors in the genomics industry,” said Sal Sanci, Vice President of Products for GenoLogics. “Along with the partnerships we have with instrument vendors such as Illumina and ABI, it’s only natural that we also work with JMP Genomics to seamlessly enable downstream analysis for our clients.”

JMP Genomics dynamically links advanced statistics with graphics to provide a complete picture of research results, whether the data comes from traditional microarray studies or from summarized results produced by next-generation technologies.

Geneus is a highly configurable and flexible lab and data management system that supports workflows across multiple technology platforms including next generation sequencing instruments. It provides genomics facilities with an end-to-end solution, from sample and workflow management to automating pipelines and consolidation of data enabling analysis. Geneus is also part of a broader suite of informatics solutions for research labs, which enables integrated data analysis for experiments across multiple sciences and systems biology initiatives.

About GenoLogics
GenoLogics is the leading provider of informatics solutions for translational research, spanning both the discovery and biomedical research domains. Our science purposed modules for discovery research are complemented by a highly configurable, integrating lab informatics platform that is scalable to service many labs and sciences across an organization. Our Biomedical Informatics product suite allows labs to track and manage their biospecimen and clinical annotations data, while aggregating results with our Research Informatics solution for a holistic view. For more information, please visit www.genologics.com.

About JMP
JMP is a business unit of SAS, established in 1989 to create interactive software for desktop discovery analytics. John Sall, SAS co-founder and Executive Vice President, also heads the JMP business unit. www.jmp.com

About SAS
SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 45,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know®. www.sas.com

 

GenoLogics Contact:                                               

Tanis MacSween

Manager, Marketing Communications

250.483.7063

tanis.macsween@genologics.com

 

SAS Contact:
Anne Bullard

JMP Marketing Communications

919.531.6617

anne.bullard@sas.com

Times Colonist Reports: High-tech sector's awards gala kicks off with comeback exercise

By Andrew Duffy

It's been used to rally hockey teams from third-period deficits and to spur baseball teams to victory late in the season, and now the local high-tech sector is backing a simple white towel to help pull the region out of recession.

To the strains of rock band AC/DC's anthem Back in Black, nearly 500 "rally" towels were twirled, waved and shaken aloft last night at the Victoria Conference Centre, as the Victoria Advanced Technology Council kicked off its annual technology awards gala.

"Every year we do a little something to draw attention," said VIATeC executive director Dan Gunn. "This year we went with rally towels, figuring the local tech sector could help rally the local economy, and we're playing Back in Black to accompany it."

The song was no doubt a call to lift economic fortunes out of the red ink and onto the positive side of the balance sheet.

But there doesn't appear to be much red being spilled on Victoria's high-tech company ledgers these days, with a number of executives in that sector saying they learned lessons during the dot-com meltdown eight years ago to mitigate the effect of recessionary factors.

Gunn said those companies that continue to grow today learned to work lean-and-mean when venture capital, investment and sales dried up in 2001 and were able to thrive when normalcy returned.

"And now many of these companies have had six months of the current recession and they have a good indication of how they are weathering it," said Gunn. "They're doing better than expected and they are actually still growing.

"They are even better prepared now, so when this recession rebounds, they will be there at the front of the line and leading the charge."

For some, it might even prove to be a springboard to get past their competition.

And that, according to Gunn, is a reason to throw a party.

"We are very pleased with the current success level of local tech companies and what they are providing the local economy," said Gunn. In fact, a few years ago, technology passed tourism as the number-one private industry in the region with annual revenues well in excess of $1.7 billion. "And we're glad to provide them an opportunity to get together, be recognized and to celebrate."

It's also a chance for the people behind many of those companies to meet in person, as they often toil long hours away from the limelight.

"They don't get there by accident," said Gunn. "They work very hard at that."

Picking up one of the key pieces of hardware last night was Vecima Networks, which was named Technology Company of the Year.

The Victoria-based firm, which designs and manufactures hardware to support digital television and data-over-cable services, last year reported a 38 per cent increase in revenue to $36.4 million for a $4.4 million profit.

"They are an industry leader," said Gunn, noting they chose to set up shop in Victoria while selling their products around the world.

This year, Bill Cooke, a former CEO of VIATeC, was recognized with the Colin Lennox Technology Champion award for his decades devoted to the high-tech field.

"He's been a key figure that has helped advise, guide and grow our sector for years, and it's a nice nod, given he worked closely with Colin at VIATeC for so many years," said Gunn.

Times Colonist Reports: UVic Entrepreneur Award goes to High-Tech Knight

Written by: Carla Wilson

What you want to do in business is to catch the wave just as technology is ready to change, high-tech success story Sir Terry Matthews told UVic business students yesterday.

"Timing in life is almost everything," he said to a classroom of about 60 students. Matthews, the UVic business faculty's Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year, was honoured at the Victoria Conference Centre last night.

Matthews, awarded a knighthood in Britain in 2001, has helped start more than 80 companies, including tech giants Mitel and Newbridge Networks Corp. Before immigrating to Canada in 1968, he earned an honours degree in electronics at the University of Wales.

He is chairman of Wesley Clover, an investor in and a manager of investments in technology, real estate and other industries. It is headquartered in Wales and has offices in Canada.

Believed to be a billionaire today, Matthews started his business career with a $4,000 bank loan.

Yesterday, he called on his own experience to illustrate to UVic students how he started new ventures. Rather than developing a product and then trying to find a buyer, he has specialized in anticipating how technology can evolve and working with clients to tailor products to their needs. That's what he means by catching a wave — being ready when technology changes dramatically.

"The size of that [new] business is equal to everything installed before," he said. "This replacement cycle is incredibly important to catch."

Try to join in too late, and your company could get knocked out, Matthews warned.

He advocates using an affiliate model, meaning that the new venture would be connected with a larger, established firm.

This brings instant credibility when calling on potential clients.

It also makes it easier to get in the door with your ideas.

Matthews, who starts five or six companies each year, calls himself a "born capitalist" and stresses the importance of being a team player.

His world demands total commitment and persistence: "You never give up … you never back down." He likens business to war.

Matthews is looking for four or five UVic business and engineering students to become interns and work on a project at Wesley Clover's Ottawa office. New graduates willing to "turn on a dime" must work as a team, he said.

In these startups, "Your job is to establish what the goalposts are so you win the game."

In existing companies, the organization will get in the way of adapting quickly, he said.

Around-the-clock commitment, quarterly reports and up-to-date notebooks outlining product development are all critical to any new company.

Notebooks help protect intellectual property in case of a patent dispute, he said. 

Cisco Networkers Solutions Forum 2009 at the Vancouver Island Technology Park

 

Centre for Drug Research and Development CEO Wins National Award for Biotech Industry Leadership

The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) announced today that Chief Executive Officer, Natalie Dakers, has won the BIOTECanada Industry Leadership Gold Leaf award.

“Natalie Dakers has demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout her 20-year career in the biotech industry,” said Peter Brenders, President and CEO, BIOTECanada. “We are recognizing her for her vision, her leadership and her commitment to promoting and supporting the growth of the biotech industry in Canada.”

Dakers is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at the CDRD, an organization that guides and supports early-stage drug development from BC’s top academic and health research institutions, working to increase the successful commercialization of new therapeutics.  

“Natalie has long been a leader in life sciences in BC,” said Karimah Es Sabar, president of provincial industry association LifeSciences British Columbia. “In her current role with CDRD, she has once again demonstrated her extraordinary vision, creativity and commitment to the development of the life sciences sector in BC and Canada.”

Before CDRD, Dakers was the President & CEO of Neuromed Pharmaceuticals. She built the company from inception, raising financing totaling approximately $70M. Neuromed’s drug development platform led to one of the largest licensing deals in Canadian biotech history – $475 million with Merck & Co.

She is Past Chair of LifeSciences British Columbia (then BC Biotech), a board member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Genome BC, Genome Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. She is also an Adjunct Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a member of the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on Business Innovation.

Carmanah Reports Q1 2009 Results Support Strategic Focus

Carmanah Technologies Corporation (TSX: CMH) today announces its first quarter financial results for the three-month period ending March 2009. Sales for Q1 2009 were $10.4 million, down approximately $4.7 million from the same period last year, due mainly to exiting/divesting several tactical business units during this period. Despite challenging global economic conditions, strategic sales for Q1 2009 ended at approximately the same levels as in the same period of 2008, showcasing the resilient nature of Carmanah's strategic markets, and the ongoing demand for its core renewable-energy technology products.

 

Highlights for the Quarter

  • Sales: $10.4 million, down from $15.1 million for the same period in 2008
  • Gross margin: 36.1%, up from 33.6% in 2008
  • Operating costs: $5.3 million, up from $5.0 in 2008
  • Net (loss)/income: $(0.3) million, down from $0.1 million in 2008
  • Adjusted EBITDA: Adjusted EBITDA of $0.3 million, down from $0.7 million in 2008
  • Cash flow from operations: $1.3 million, up from $0.1 million in 2008
  • Cash balance: $9.2 million as at March 31, 2009, up from $7.9 million in 2008
  • Nil debt: Continued debt-free operation

 

Summary of Results
While reflecting the challenges facing the global economy, the first quarter of 2009 highlights a reassuring continuity across Carmanah's primary markets, and reaffirms the company's strategic direction, according to Ted Lattimore, Carmanah CEO. "During this quarter, we've made great strides towards our goals, divesting of our road-signs obligations to better focus on our strategic business opportunities, signing a strategic partnership with Shine Micro, and introducing an exciting new benchmark in general illumination – the powerful EverGEN™ 1500 street-and-parking-lot light," said Lattimore. "Our transition to outsourced manufacturing is already delivering greater flexibility and efficiency, our worldwide distributor network is growing, and our strategic markets are as strong as ever. Even during a recession, security and safety remain paramount – industries require reliable and affordable lights and power, and as a trusted supplier with a long history in delivering solar LED technology, we're well positioned to continue filling this need."

 

According to Roland Sartorius, Carmanah CFO, the company's conservative financial approach and consistent focus on a strong balance sheet continues to guide the company through the uncertainty in today's macroeconomic environment. "As a result of strong working capital management and positive cash flow from operations, our cash balance has grown to over $9 million in the bank, with no debt," said Sartorius. "Q1 2009 represents our fifth straight quarter of positive Adjusted EBITDA and cash flow results, which to me, seems to be a pretty strong indicator that we're heading in the right direction."

 

Sales
Sales for the first quarter of 2009 were $10.4 million, down approximately $4.7 million from 2008. This decline is primarily due to lower tactical sales during this period, caused by the closure and sale of Carmanah's lower margin distribution business/product lines.

 

Despite challenging global economic conditions, Carmanah's strategic sales during Q1 2009 were at approximately the same levels during this period than during Q1 2008, underscoring the resilient nature of Carmanah's strategic markets, and the ongoing demand for renewal energy technologies.

Times Colonist Reports: Local high-tech sector weathering the storm

Written by Andrew Duffy

In sync with the global economic downturn, dark clouds have rumbled over most of this region's economic drivers, but one industry believes it may just be creeping out from under the shadows.

During an impromptu roundtable session with a group of high-tech executives this week, the impression is the growing industry is doing more than simply weathering the storm raging around it.

Indeed, there's a sense that despite the troubles faced by forestry, mining and the uncertainty hanging over the tourism industry, high-tech continues its growth curve.

According to those around the table, that comes down to the makeup of the industry and lessons learned along the way.

"Several things protected us going into this recession; 2000 was one of them," said Dan Gunn, executive director of the Victoria Advanced Technology Council referring to the dot-com meltdown. "Companies learned how not to get too far ahead of themselves."

According to Gunn, local companies learned how to run lean and mean as a result, and coupled with the low dollar offering a break for companies selling outside of Canada and the labour market loosening up provide less expensive manpower, the industry is reaping some reward.

"Things are OK right now," said an admittedly cautious Craig Thomson, CEO of Beanstream. "I think [the recession] has taken companies down a peg. We're doing OK right now, but things can turn quickly."

By Thomson's count, it's the third downturn the high-tech industry has had to deal with in the last 15 years.

The local industry currently boasts more than 850 companies employing 12,600 people and bringing in an estimated $1.7 billion annually.

One of the main reasons for the continued strength of the industry, according to Rob Bennett, COO of Simation Global Technology, is the industry takes care of its own.

"No one really competes with each other in this marketplace and as a result people are very open about their successes and failures," he said.

"It also creates a real spirit of community and sharing between organizations and that is that really helping to grow this sector at a faster rate than most."

By trial and error, the industry has established a patchwork infrastructure to help companies overcome obstacles.

Though Victoria suffers from an absence of meaningful venture capital and professional services geared to high-tech, the industry shares contacts and experiences.

"A lot of businesses would shrivel up and die if they didn't have the resources of other people willing to put them in touch with the services and people that helped them over a hump or deal with a problem," said Gunn.

And that goes for newcomers as well.

Alex Glassey, CEO of Projjex, set up shop in Victoria 11 months ago and found the community took him in right away.

"There's an innate generosity that exists here that doesn't exist anywhere else," he said."There is a real sense of collegiality, and I have been able to plug into an incredible array of people.

You don't have to convince Rian Bowden, CEO of DailySplice.

The start-up company, established in 2007, owes a great debt to those who have gone before.

"I can't imagine a better place to have started the company just because of the support we've had from the community," he said, adding he has a group of high-tech executives bounces ideas off. "We couldn't do this without that kind of help."