TechTalk Blog
BC Government Accepts Drug Plan Recommendations

Government has accepted all of the recommendations from the Pharmaceutical Task
Force, announced Health Minister George Abbott today.

“The task force has provided us with insightful analysis on improving patient care and
enhancing the quality, safety and value of our world-class PharmaCare program,” said Abbott. “Their
advice and recommendations will strengthen our significant investments in this vital area of the public
health system, so that patients in B.C. continue to benefit from a public drug plan that is based on the
best scientific evidence and sustainable for future generations.”

In November 2007, the nine-member task force – made up of clinical professionals, academics,
pharmaceutical industry leaders and government policy-makers – was charged with advising
government on key areas of pharmaceutical policy within the health system. Their report offers
recommendations aimed at creating a more streamlined and transparent drug review process while
delivering the best patient outcomes and the best value to British Columbians.

“The Ministry of Health will begin working with stakeholders on some recommendations
immediately, while others are more complex and will take some time to plan and implement,” said
Abbott. “Our work to enhance the Province’s pharmaceutical policy has the interests of patients as our
foremost consideration, while assuring maximum value for taxpayers.”

Government’s implementation of the recommendations will be guided by six principles:
1. The best interests of the patient are paramount.
2. The B.C. government is obliged to seek the best value possible for taxpayer dollars in
its expenditures.
3. The foundation of all drug benefit decisions will be predicated upon a transparent
evidence-based review process.
4. The B.C. government is committed to fair, open and transparent procurement processes.
5. All persons involved in making decisions respecting the procurement of goods and
services by government must be free from conflict of interest, both real and perceived.
6. The B.C. government values a healthy, competitive pharmaceutical industry that will
continue to provide both financial and human resource investments in B.C.

“The task force heard from a wide range of stakeholders, whose views were united by the
common thread that patients must have access to the best care and treatment possible,” said George
Morfitt, alternate chair of the Pharmaceutical Task Force. “It has been our privilege to undertake this
challenging task, and we trust our conclusions will guide the province to a constructive way forward
with the evolution of pharmaceutical policy in British Columbia.”

B.C. faces increasing demand for prescriptions each year – with a 46-per-cent increase over the
past four years from 18.3 claims per patient in 2002 to 26.8 claims per patient in 2006. In the past two
years, PharmaCare has added more than 480 individual generic drugs and more than 50 brand drugs to
its formulary. Since 2001, PharmaCare’s budget has increased by more than 50 per cent, from $654
million to $1.016 billion in 2008/09.

PharmaCare subsidizes eligible prescription drugs and designated medical supplies, protecting
British Columbians from high drug costs. PharmaCare provides financial assistance to British
Columbians under Fair PharmaCare and other specialty plans. More than 23 million prescriptions are
now covered each year under the B.C. PharmaCare program.

The Report of the Pharmaceutical Task Force can be found on the Ministry of Health website at

Canadian Government Provides $13.5 Million to UVic Researchers, Students
Researchers and students at the University of Victoria will receive more than $13.5 million in grants and scholarships this year from the Government of Canada through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Nearly $4.4 million of the funding will go toward the first two years of operating expenses for the UVic-led NEPTUNE Canada project, the world’s first regional cabled ocean observatory.

Federal Minister of Industry Jim Prentice, the minister responsible for NSERC, made the announcement at UVic today, unveiling the results of NSERC’s 2008 grants and scholarships awards, which will see more than $535 million distributed to over 9,900 professors and students at more than 60 higher education institutions across Canada. At UVic, NSERC is providing $11,146,764 of funding for 72 research projects and $2,354,800 for 115 scholarships.

“There are three challenges at the heart of science, technology and innovation today: attracting the best minds, funding the most cutting-edge research, and commercializing the best ideas. By unveiling Canada’s new Science and Technology Strategy last year, our Government is addressing each of these issues,” says Prentice. “I’m proud to announce this research funding today which builds on our strategy—we’re directly addressing the first of these two challenges, and laying the groundwork for the third.”

“We are extremely grateful for NSERC’s support as it will help take UVic’s scientific and engineering research to an even higher level,” says UVic President David Turpin. “Not only will it assist UVic researchers in tackling the major issues of today—such as global change and sustainability—but it will also help our students grow into the leaders of tomorrow.”

“We’re delighted to receive this financial support for our initial operating phase,” says Chris Barnes, project director of NEPTUNE Canada. “This allows Canada to lead the way in a new era of wiring the oceans. The new scientific discoveries and technology developments will transform ocean sciences, lead to new commercialization opportunities, and enhance public policy and education.”

NSERC ( is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The University of Victoria ( is a leading Canadian research university, with a reputation as a centre of innovative and interdisciplinary research.

Carmanah and Beta Lighting Partner to Deliver Betaled Solar-powered Lighting Solution

Carmanah solar-powered area lights are now better and brighter than ever, thanks to a new partnership between Carmanah Technologies Corporation and Beta Lighting.

Based on THE EDGE™ line of light emitting diode (LED) commercial and industrial light fixtures from Beta Lighting, the company has developed a BetaLED fixture designed specifically for Carmanah's EverGEN™ solar engine. The result is Carmanah's brightest solar powered area light to date: a versatile stand-alone lighting solution that can be installed in minutes to illuminate parks, paths, kiosks and other outdoor areas. Directing light only where needed, the new solar-powered area light is "dark-sky friendly" as specified by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

"Beta Lighting has developed a leading product with this line of LED fixtures. When combined with Carmanah's stand-alone solar power supply, it provides the best and brightest illumination we've ever seen from a solar-powered area light," said Ted Lattimore, Carmanah Chief Executive Officer.

Carmanah's EverGEN™ solar engine is a compact, solar-powered energy source that uses the sun's energy to power outdoor area lighting applications. All components (including photovoltaic modules, rechargeable batteries, sensors and electronics) are integrated within a compact and durable pole-mounted design. With no trenching or cabling required, the EverGEN solar engine can be installed in minutes, with minimal technical expertise, at a fraction of the cost of a hard-wired system.

According to Alan Ruud, founder and president of Beta Lighting's parent company Ruud Lighting, Carmanah's solar technology is the perfect complement to BetaLED lighting technology. "When combined with Carmanah's powerful EverGEN solar engine, an LED lighting solution can provide considerable benefits over traditional lighting alternatives — especially in remote applications," said Ruud. "We're pleased to join Carmanah in delivering this top quality solar-LED lighting product."

See the EverGEN solar engine with the new BetaLED light fixture at LIGHTFAIR International 2008 in Las Vegas (May 28-30) (Carmanah booth #1165). For more information, visit, or telephone 1.877.722.8877 (toll free in US and Canada).

About Beta Lighting

BetaLED, a brand of Beta Lighting, was established to dedicate resources to the emerging use of LED technology for general illumination. Beta Lighting, a Ruud Lighting company based in Racine, Wis., provides the lighting industry with high quality, specification-grade luminaires for exterior lighting applications. For additional exterior LED luminaire information, visit

GenoLogics Takes Home Product of the Year Award

GenoLogics, the leading developer of translational research informatics solutions, today announced it was recognized by the Vancouver Island Technology Community for the launch of its lab and data management system for genomics research, Geneus. GenoLogics received the award at the annual Technology Awards Dinner hosted by VIATeC last week.


Geneus was first released in 2007 as a lab and data management solution designed specifically for the needs of genomics centers that perform sequencing, gene expression and genotyping research. Geneus accommodates workflows on any platform and simplifies end-to-end sample and data management by seamlessly plugging into lab instruments and automatically capturing data. This is critically important for many genomics research laboratories that are investing in NextGen sequencing platforms and exponentially growing the volume of data they must manage.


Accepting the product of the year award on behalf of GenoLogics was the company’s founder, James DeGreef. “We are very proud to be recognized again this year by the tech community for our team’s commitment to excellence. Winning the product of the year award for Geneus reinforces that we provide a relevant solution that meets the highly sophisticated and ever-evolving needs of genomics research centers.”


Geneus is the second data management solution launched by GenoLogics, which also deploys Proteus, a similar system for proteomics centers. Both research informatics products deliver flexible workflow management, advanced querying and reporting and a secure, web collaboration tool. Designed to scale, both products are built on a common platform that provide exceptional user-level configurability and the flexibility to adapt to changing requirements.


GenoLogics is focused on developing translational research informatics solutions to address the needs of the life sciences industry. Recently, GenoLogics announced the launch of a new biomedical informatics product suite to complement the Company’s existing research informatics solutions. The combination of both product suites enables a holistic approach to capturing and storing data across multiple labs, locations and sciences.

GenoLogics Launches new Biomedical Informatics Software Solution

GenoLogics, the leading developer of translational research informatics solutions, today announced that it is developing an integrated suite of biorepository and biomedical informatics products.

“It’s a natural evolution for GenoLogics to launch a complementary product suite that builds on the success of our science-purposed informatics solutions for life sciences organizations”, says GenoLogics CEO, Michael Ball. “By providing two product suites of biomedical and research informatics we are able to provide our clients with a total solution, which is better aligned with their need to generate meaningful results from translational research initiatives”.

GenoLogics launched its Biomedical Informatics product suite as part of its holistic approach to providing translational research informatics solutions. The new product suite includes functionality to track observational studies, collect patient data electronically, provide biospecimen and clinical annotations management and allow researchers to query online. The suite is comprised of five integrated products, three of which are being deployed this year with the collaboration of early access customers.

The GenoLogics biospecimen management system, BioVault, handles sample and freezer management, with volume and aliquot tracking, access tracking and configuration options. It will be fully integrated with the clinical annotations management system, BioChronicle, which will aggregate data from multiple sources. A secure web portal interface for BioChronicle will allow researchers to setup study projects, query clinical annotations, request samples and receive clinical annotations.

A study management system to track enrolment, visits and study protocol for observational studies will also be developed as part of the total solution, along with an electronic patient questionnaire interface. The Biomedical Informatics product suite will interface with GenoLogics’ existing research informatics products for genomics, proteomics and other sciences.

“Our biomedical product suite has been designed based on extensive research and client feedback for what is needed to complete their lab and data management systems and accelerate translational research programs”, says James DeGreef, VP Market Strategy. “We are working with leading institutions such as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to ensure our new solution fits real-world customer requirements and improves the management of their biospecimen and clinical annotations data”.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre Chooses GenoLogics to Collaborate on Developing a Biomedical Informatics Solutions

GenoLogics, the leading developer of translational research informatics software, today announced that the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has selected GenoLogics to collaborate with the company develop an integrated biorepository and biomedical informatics software solution for the Center’s Translational and Outcomes Research group.  The GenoLogics software is being provided to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center by the Canary Foundation, a nonprofit, tax exempt public charity committed to the development of early-detection tests for solid-tumor cancers.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center focuses on discovering new ways to detect cancers earlier, developing effective treatments with fewer side effects and learning how to prevent cancers from growing in the first place. To connect the clinical and discovery research processes, the Center pursues translational research under its Translational and Outcomes Research group.

“To assist with realizing our vision for translational research, we needed a suite of informatics solutions that enables us to work seamlessly with clinical and laboratory researchers, as well as patients and healthy individuals,” says Dr. Nicole Urban, Head of the Translational and Outcomes Research group. “Given the importance of collecting the clinical information to achieve this vision, we decided to work with a commercial vendor to provide our biomedical informatics solution. GenoLogics not only has a collaborative approach to developing a solution for us, but our visions around translational research are highly synergistic.”

GenoLogics launched its Biomedical Informatics software solution to address the needs of translational research initiatives to track observational studies, collect patient data at remote sites, provide biospecimen and clinical annotations management and facilitate researchers querying on clinical information and requesting samples. The suite is comprised of five integrated products: BioVault for biospecimen management; BioChronicle for clinical annotations management; BioQuest to enable Web access; BioSphere for study management; and BioSource to enable electronic patient questionnaires.

“We are very excited to be working with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as our lead customer to develop our suite of biomedical informatics products,” says Michael Ball, CEO of GenoLogics. “We are developing our new Biomedical Informatics solution to complement our market-leading Research Informatics product line, which together enable research centers to pursue their translational research vision.”

Genologics 2008 Techtube Video

The winner for the 2008 Techtube Video Award at the annual VIATeC Awards Show.

VIATeC 2008 Awards – Whatever it takes

The annual, highly-anticipated video premiered at the 2008 VIATeC awards show.

Oak Bay News Reports: Firm Sells the Scoop on Sales

Every parent knows Webkinz are the latest kids' craze, but knowing how to market the
plush toys for resale on EBay is a booming business for grown ups.

A Saanich company is tapping into the growing community of people and companies
making a living through EBay. The company, Advanced Economic Research Systems,
offers EBay sellers data about who's buying what and for how much.

After raising $1 million in equity funds, AERS recently launched an updated version of
its flagship product, Terapeak.

"We watch some fairly eccentric trends," said Fred Speckeen, the new chief officer of
AERS. "What's fun about Webkinz is they bring out new models all the time, so you can
actually track the most popular. It's a tremendous phenomenon."

Tracking the going price for collectibles is just one of the company's services. For a
monthly subscription fee of $25 per month, EBay sellers can get up-to-date information
about the hottest products, the best time to close an auction and even the product
descriptors that land the most sales.

"It's almost a daily pulse of what's going on in the market," said Speckeen.
While many people still think of EBay as an online flea market, that's changing, he said.
Speckeen estimates that, in some product categories, as much as 70 per cent of goods
sold are new. That means a significant portion of the U.S. retail market can be studied
through EBay sales.

DataUnison, the company's other product, analyzes these larger retail trends for clients
that include Wall Street analysts, CIBC world markets and Fortune 500 companies.

Since the credit crunch in the U.S., Speckeen said he's noticed a spike in the amount of
household goods being sold.

"We've interpreted (the sales) as the liquidation of certain kinds of household items," he

AERS, headquartered in the Vancouver Island Technology Park, is the only
company licensed to sell EBay data.

It started with two brothers, both students at the University of Victoria, whose
business idea was recognized by the Innovation and Development Corporation in

"The founders had a lot of courage and audacity to go to EBay and convince EBay that
EBay ought to license them EBay data," Speckeen said. "It's extroaordinary the amount
of courage and self confidence they had in their 20s."

Times Colonist Reports: Genome B.C. Gets $50 million

Provincial funding announcements usually attract a few media outlets and a selection of
the parties affected by the actual funding. It's not often members of the public feel the
desire to squeeze into small rooms with open microphones.

But for Jean-Paul Paterlini, yesterday's announcement of $50 million in funding for
Genome B.C. was motivation enough to drive down from Cowichan Bay, as the money
will help fuel research into something close to his heart — transplantation.

Seventeen months ago Paterlini, 62, underwent a heart transplant, and he's the first to
admit that without it there's no chance he would have been around to hear the
announcement at the Vancouver Island Technology Park.

"Yes this is very personal, it's important, this kind of funding saves lives," he said. "It
prolongs the life of certain people and those people have a chance to see their kids
growing and their grandchildren growing.

"I am still not 100 per cent of what I used to be before my heart attack, but at least I'm
alive and physically well and I function normally."

Paterlini is the human face of the impact made by the study of life science and DNA,
which for most people happens in laboratories well away from the glare of everyday life.

"The average person doesn't see the impact, but it's there in every sector," said Alan
Winter, president and CEO of Genome B.C., noting the organization funds research into
such diverse areas as health care, forestry, mining, agriculture, the environment and

As far as Paterlini's concerned, the fact his new heart has been beating for 17 months is
testament to the kind of research funded by Genome B.C.

Genome B.C. is one of six Genome Canada centres across the country which invests in
and manages large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects. Its funding comes
from the provincial government and Genome Canada, which is then leveraged with
private-sector investment to carry out the research.

"We're thrilled with this announcement, this will make a huge difference for us," said
Winter. "We are like a biotech company, and when you raise money for a company you
have to have a lead investor so you can then go out and talk to other investors.

"So this announcement represents the lead investor for our plan for 2010 to 2015. What
we have to do is go and raise the rest of the money."

Winter said they hope to raise another $150 million to fund research through 2015.

According to Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell, the province has invested
$152.5 million in Genome B.C. since 2002 and considers it money well spent.

"We feel the investment has paid off many times, not just in terms of the jobs but in
leveraging research funds in helping British Columbians in leading healthier and better
lives," he said, noting research is currently being done on producing new sources of
biofuels, reducing the use of chemical pesticides, tailoring medication to individual
patients, dealing with the mountain pine beetle infestation and improving the success of
organ transplants.

The province estimates Genome B.C.'s economic benefit is in the neighbourhood of
8,400 person-years of work, $450 million added to the province's GDP and tax revenues
in excess of $108 million.

Earlier this month the federal government provided $600,000 in funding for the
University of Victoria Genome B.C. Proteomic Centre to advance research in
metabolomics, a study of cellular-level activity.