TechTalk Blog
VITP Creates Jobs, Pumps Millions into BC Economy

The University of Victoria−owned Vancouver Island Technology Park (VITP) delivered a major boost to the
Island and provincial economy in 2005 by generating more than 2,000 jobs and $280 million in direct,
indirect and induced revenue, according to a new economic impact study released today. The report predicts
even more growth in the next two years. The impact study, the VITP's first, demonstrates the significance of
the high tech industry to the Vancouver Island economy.

"The technology park is a powerhouse of jobs and opportunities that has more than lived up to our
expectations," says UVic President, David Turpin. UVic's ultra modern technology park, located on 35 acres
in Saanich, is a facility to accelerate the transfer of technology from research labs to the marketplace.
Turpin presented the findings of the UVic−sponsored economic impact report to an audience of business,
academic and government leaders including Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources and Member of
Parliament Saanich−Gulf Islands; Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced Education and Minister responsible
for Research and Technology and Frank Leonard, Mayor of Saanich.

The 53−page report, covering fiscal year 2005, demonstrates that VITP contributed $279.9 million to the
local and provincial economy through $160.2 million in direct sales and $23.3 million in municipal and
provincial tax revenues with the rest coming indirectly through spin−off business, and employee and
business visitor spending. (A further $18.8 million in federal tax revenues was not included in the $279.9
million total.)

During the same period, VITP companies directly employed 995 people and helped to create additional jobs
in the construction industry and with other local companies supplying groceries, clothing, furniture and other
goods for a total employment impact of 2,023 jobs.

"High technology is a vital and sustainable industry," says Coell. "Vancouver Island Technology Park is
creating jobs and attracting talented people to the Island and BC. These are well−paying, exciting,
challenging jobs that provide opportunities for young people in their own province."

"This study is clear evidence of the tremendous impact that the cutting edge research and technology transfer
activity at VITP is having on communities on Vancouver Island and beyond," says Turpin. "The anticipation
of continued economic growth in the future supports the case for a significant expansion of the VITP, giving
it the capacity to create even more jobs and contribute even further to the economy."

"The success of the Vancouver Island Technology Park is directly correlated with our ability to attract great
companies, but even more importantly, their people," says Dale Gann, VITP Vice President. "Our
investment lies in the bright individuals of these companies, and in doing so, we have been able to generate a
community within VITP that is both knowledge−rich and innovative."

The economic impact study was prepared by UVic students Marian de Monye and Amanda Wright for their
Masters of Business Administration degree. They conducted six months of research and analysis, basing
their work on the BC Statistics employment impact model. The students' work was supervised by Anthony
Goerzen, a professor in the UVic Faculty of Business and director of its graduate programs.

CRCA Expands Use of Municipal Software's Solutions

Victoria, British Columbia, December 20, 2006 – Municipal Software (TSX-V:MSZ) announced today that the Centre Region Code Administration (CRCA), PA has decided to extend their usage of CityView to CityView PrebuiltsTM for many processes in the six jurisdictions under the Centre Region Council of Governments. Centre Region has purchased the entire suite of CityView Prebuilts, including Property Information, Permits & Inspections, Planning, Code Enforcement, Licensing and Cashiering as well as the related implementation and training services.

“CRCA has been working with Municipal Software since 1997, and have been very pleased with their software and the quality of service that they have provided”, said Greg Mussi, Director for the CRCA. “This project allows us to streamline business processes amongst our jurisdictions while leveraging our existing technology investment to provide a cost-effective and efficient solution”. He added: “In particular, the similarities with our existing system ensure a reduced learning curve for our staff”.

By selecting CityView, the Centre Region reaffirms its commitment to provide better service to the public: citizens will be able to access real-time information on their permit status or schedule inspections 24/7, via the Internet. CRCA will also be using CityView to improve efficiencies in the area of rental housing by automating licensing and code enforcement of rental properties.

Iain McLean, CEO of Municipal Software, commented: “The Centre Region decision reflects CityView’s flexibility, and its ability to address the changing needs of local governments. We look forward to continuing this successful partnership with the Centre Region.”

Hot Job Market Drives Colleges to Address Critical Skills Shortage

Vancouver – A shortage of skilled workers in British Columbia and Alberta has community colleges and technical institutes in both provinces joining forces to strengthen post-secondary education, announced B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell today.
 
Representatives from 31 colleges located in more than 150 communities throughout Alberta and B.C. signed a cross-border strategic agreement today, endorsed by the regions' most influential business leaders.
 
Beginning in 2007, colleges and technical institutes in B.C. and Alberta will develop joint strategies to address skills shortages, add capacity to the training system in both provinces, improve participation of Aboriginal learners, develop a transfer protocol, and support applied research and innovation.
 
"Colleges and institutes provide the educational backbone for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow," said Campbell. "This innovative partnership has colleges working with businesses and communities to ensure programs and curricula support the regions' vibrant economy. This builds on the trade, investment and labour mobility agreement British Columbia signed earlier this year with Alberta, which created the second largest economy in Canada."
 
In B.C., 425,000 new jobs will be created from 2003 to 2013, and 70 per cent will require post-secondary education.  In Alberta, approximately 400,000 jobs will be  created in the next 10 years and government is predicting a shortfall of 86,000 workers.
 
"The number of college-age students is growing faster in B.C. and Alberta than anywhere else in Canada," said Liz Ashton, chair of the British Columbia College Presidents (BCCP) as she co-signed the strategic partnership with Alberta colleges. "We are well positioned and committed to playing an increasingly important role in ensuring tomorrow's workers are educated and inspired today."
 
"Alberta and B.C.'s 31 colleges and institutes must work closely with business and industry in communities to make sure that graduates' skills are in line with what local employers need," said Sam Shaw, chair of the Alberta Association of Colleges & Technical Institutes (AACTI). "Colleges are in the best position to meet that demand because more than 95 per cent of our graduates are employed after graduation."
 
"The demand for skilled workers in the region continues to grow," said Jerry Lampert, president and CEO of the Business Council of BC. "Now, and well into the next decade, we will need skilled people to fill the available jobs."
 
B.C. and Alberta colleges will hold a joint summit of educational and First Nations leaders in Lac La Biche, Alberta in March 2007, where access and success strategies will be developed for Aboriginal students, a largely untapped resource. Currently, less than 50 per cent of First Nations students complete high school and only half of First Nations high-school graduates continue with post-secondary studies. Improving access, retention and completion rates with Aboriginal learners is a high priority of both provinces and the colleges and institutes, in partnership with First Nations, will play a critical role in this area.

Etraffic Solutions finds successful partnership with UVic Co-op Program

Each year, more than 950 Vancouver Island businesses and organizations provide over 1,300 UVic students with hands-on learning experience through UVic’s Co-operative Education Programs.

That kind of support has helped make UVic a national leader in co-operative education, which enables highly motivated students to alternate academic terms with paid, relevant work experience, while providing employers with the assistance of bright students exposed to the most recent developments in their field.

Several leading island businesses have relied on the contribution of co-op students over the years. One such business is Etraffic Solutions, which builds and produces unique online learning resources including animation, workbooks and online gaming for government, business and education.

Since 2002, Etraffic Solutions has hired seven UVic co-op students, including computer engineering student Paul Reimer. Over the past four months the aspiring computer hardware designer has been gaining hands-on experience at the company as a web application developer.

“The things I learned here in a week are things it would take a month to learn in a class,” says Reimer. Many of his projects have involved creating more manageable, interactive website interfaces for high profile companies such as PacificSport, which provides support to Canada’s athletes for the 2010 Olympics.

But the technical learning has only been one facet of the experience. Equally important has been finding out how the company ticks. When Reimer suggested modifying Etraffic's project management reporting process, he learned how to find the right people to speak with and started attending meetings to bring his ideas to the table. “Working for an organization like Etraffic gives you the chance to take initiative and see results, something that isn’t necessarily possible in a classroom setting,” he says.

Reimer's supervisor, Andrew Christoffersen is equally enthusiastic about the co-op experience. “Paul takes the initiative to see how new technologies can be used – he's not content to say, ‘that's the way we’ve always done things,” says Christoffersen, Etraffic’s manager of development. “The experience has really been win-win for us both.”

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Compugen is a Double Award Winner at the Microsoft Partner Program IMPACT Awards

Toronto, Ontario – November 22nd, 2006, Compugen Inc. announced today that it has been selected as a doubleaward
winner for the Advanced Infrastructure Solution of the Year and Marketing Innovation Award – Enterprise
categories at the 2006 Microsoft Partner Program IMPACT Awards. The annual IMPACT awards recognize
excellence within the Canadian technology partner community and the innovative solutions and value they bring
to their customers. The winners were announced at a gala event in Toronto on November 2, 2006.

“Each year we present the IMPACT Awards as an opportunity to celebrate top technology partners who have
shown true dedication through their tremendous technical support and customer service,” said Lora Gernon,
Director of Partner Group, Microsoft Canada Co. ”This achievement further demonstrates Compugen’s
commitment to delivering high quality, fully integrated Microsoft-based technologies to its customers, and we are
proud to recognize Compugen as a recipient of the 2006 Microsoft Partner Program IMPACT Award.”

Compugen was awarded the Advanced Infrastructure Solution of the Year for our Fountain Tire Business
Desktop Deployment solution.

Compugen Inc. was also chosen as the winner of the Marketing Innovation Award – Enterprise for our
marketing program called "Pathways".

“We are extremely honoured to receive these awards in recognition of our achievements with Microsoft and our
ability to deliver quality solutions that satisfy our customers’ unique requirements”, states Harry Zarek, President
and CEO of Compugen Inc.

Compugen, along with other technology partner winners and finalists in each of the award categories, was
honoured at a gala event in Toronto on November 2, 2006.

University of Glasgow Genomics Facility Selects Genologics for Systems Biology Solution

Victoria, BC, Canada – November 20, 2006 – GenoLogics Life Sciences Software Inc. (GenoLogics), a
leading developer of lab and data management software solutions, today announced that the University
of Glasgow’s Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility (SHWFGF), recently installed
GenoLogics’ Proteus solution for their proteomics research and will be adding the Geneus solution to
tackle their genomics research projects in the near future. GenoLogics will provide the Sir Henry
Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility and the RASOR Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration with a
solution for systems biology that enables a cross-science approach to genomics and proteomics
research.

Dr. Andrew Pitt, Director of the Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility and RASOR, stated,
“We chose GenoLogics because of its partnering philosophy and commitment to systems biology and
open standards, as well as its ability to customize a cross-science solution combining genomics and
proteomics, with the promise of further developments in new fields. This will greatly enhance the
productivity of the SHWFGF and our RASOR initiative.” Dr. Pitt continued, “I’m increasingly convinced
that it is crucial that software and database informatics technologies complement and accelerate the use
of proteomics and genomics instrumentation and technologies in order to make research advances. The
GenoLogics solution integrates with our instruments and allows flexible workflows, which frees our
researchers to focus on science rather than data management issues.”

GenoLogics looks forward to developing a long-term partnership with the SHWFGF and supporting its
goal of becoming a European leader in multidisciplinary functional genomics research. Michael Ball,
GenoLogics CEO said, “We are very impressed with the range of technologies being developed in the
Glasgow facility. We are particularly looking forward to their feedback once our new Geneus solution is
installed and operating alongside Proteus, which will enable the Facility to combine proteomics and gene
expression data in real systems biology applications.”

The University of Glasgow’s Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility combines state-of-the-art
technology and expertise in genomics, proteomics, tissue microanalysis, and bioinformatics with the aim
of promoting biological and biomedical research by providing efficient service to the research community
in Scotland and beyond.

RASOR, a £14Mi investment by the UK Research Councils and Scottish Funding Council, is a unique
collaboration between the Universities of Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Strathclyde with the purpose
of designing new proteomics methods and equipment to solve cutting edge rese

UVic Researchers Play $4M Role in Breast Cancer Study

A University of Victoria research team is receiving $4-million over the next five years to develop a new technology for the identification of molecules critical to the early detection of breast cancer.

The University is a partner in one of five teams across North America that were recently awarded funding by the US National Cancer Institute to assess leading-edge proteomics technologies relevant to clinical cancer research and practice. The team received $11.4 million in total.

UVic is the only Canadian university involved. The other co-investigators are at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University in Boston, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and the Plasma Proteome Institute in Washington, DC.

“To be working with researchers from these world-class institutions speaks volumes about the caliber of our proteomics expertise,” says UVic biochemist Dr. Terry Pearson.  He’s administering the UVic portion of the grant, to be shared between his lab and the UVic Genome BC Proteomics Centre, headed by UVic biochemist Dr. Christoph Borchers.

Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of proteins, including the way they work and interact with each other inside cells. Technologies such as mass spectrometry are used to detect infinitesimal amounts of proteins in samples of blood or other biological substances.

Pearson is an internationally recognized expert on the use of antibodies and mass spectrometry for protein detection. Borchers is one of the world’s leading protein chemists and a pioneer in the use of mass spectrometry.

The UVic Genome BC Proteomics Centre, located at the Vancouver Island Technology Park, is the longest-running protein service and research facility in Canada. It houses seven mass spectrometers—instruments so sensitive they can identify hundreds of molecules from a single human fingerprint and so specific they can distinguish between two molecules that differ by a single atom.

“We’ve already shown that our technology and equipment are sensitive and specific enough to detect breast cancer proteins from a single cell or as little as one-twenty-fifth of a biopsy sample,” says Borchers. “This grant will make our centre one of the world’s leading laboratories in the development of clinical diagnoses for early disease detection.”

This project is looking at breast cancer proteins, but the same technology has potential for other cancers, infectious diseases and even organ failures, says Pearson. “It’s too early to tell when this work will translate into new diagnostic tests, but it’s an exciting start and the most significant new approach to disease diagnosis in decades.”
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Federal Government Answers BC's Call for Stronger Patent Protection for Therapeutics

Vancouver, British Columbia – LifeScience BC is pleased to announce that the Federal Government has recently passed new regulations which will strengthen Canadian intellectual property protection for patented medicines, the majority of which are being developed by biotechnology companies, including those in British Columbia.

The changes made are in regard to Industry Canada’s Regulations Amending the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations and Health Canada's Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations (Data Protection); and will see Canada’s patent and data protection regulations for innovative biological products increased to internationally-competitive standards.

These issues surrounding data and patent protection were identified in BC Biotech’s recent Position Paper, Building World-Class Biotech Businesses – The Industry Position as being among the most critical to the development of the industry. As a result of the Paper, BC Biotech and the Provincial Government came together to encourage the Federal Government to more effectively recognize the importance of protecting, increasing and harmonizing patent and data protection with Canada’s global partners.

“It’s extremely rewarding to have the Federal Government respond so effectively to the issues we and the Province brought forward,” commented Karimah Es Sabar, Executive Director. “We applaud them for making this move, and realizing the significant economic impact of these amendments, as well as the innovative new treatments they will bring to British Columbians and Canadians. The changes will result in making Canada’s patent and data protection regimes much more competitive internationally, and will put our local companies and research institutions developing innovative new products on much more solid footing when it comes to accessing the Canadian market.”

Intellectual property protection is central to ensuring investment into research and development in Canada, and has particularly strong implications for the biopharmaceutical industry because of the lengthy timelines required for drug development, which effectively reduce the commercial life of a biotechnology patent to often less than half that of other industries. This results in a very short timeframe for recovering the costs of research and development in the market. The absence of sufficient data protection further erodes the benefits of patents by providing access to corporate data on drug formulas prior to patent expiration dates. This too jeopardizes the potential to recover the significant investments required in research, development and commercialization, and consequently limits global investment into Canada’s research-based industries and the number of new treatments being developed here.

This step forward is a tremendous example of how leveraging the strength of government can lead to incremental changes to public policy which are collectively creating an enabling environment in which life sciences can thrive.

UVic Attracts Scientific Star from the U.S.

The University of Victoria has attracted one of the world’s leading protein chemists to head the UVic-Genome British Columbia Proteomics Centre.

Dr. Christoph Borchers, formerly director of the UNC-Duke Proteomics Facility at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a pioneer in the burgeoning field of proteomics research, is the new director of the UVic centre. 

“This is a tremendous scientific gain for BC and for Canada,” says Dr. Martin Taylor, UVic’s Vice-President Research. “Christoph is a star in his field who was attracted to UVic by the exceptional proteomics research capacity that we have established in partnership with Genome BC. We are extremely pleased to have a scientist of his calibre.”

“As an investor in, and supporter of, the proteomics centre we are delighted that a scientist of Dr. Borchers’s stature has been drawn to the vibrant life sciences cluster emerging on Canada’s West Coast,” says Dr. Don Riddle, Chief Scientific Officer for Genome British Columbia. “He is committed to maximizing the capability of the centre to play a key role in public health and education in the province and in Canada.”

Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of proteins. Just as every living thing has a complete set of DNA known as its genome, we all carry a full complement of proteins known as the proteome—the enzymes, antibodies and molecules that make up our cells.

Proteomics research is applicable to just about every area of biochemical investigation, including health, agriculture, fisheries and forestry. In medicine, it is fundamental to the development of new diagnostic tests and drugs to detect and treat diseases such as cancer.

The UVic-Genome British Columbia Proteomics Centre is a state-of-the-art proteomics facility situated at the UVic-owned Vancouver Island Technology Park. It is the longest-running protein research facility in Canada, providing analytical services to more than 200 academic, industrial and government laboratories in North America and Europe.

Five years ago the centre’s mandate was expanded to provide state-of-the-art technology in proteomics research to support Genome BC’s large-scale research projects. More than $7 million has been invested in the centre by Genome Canada, Genome BC, MDS Sciex, UVic and other funding sources.

“The commitment by UVic and Genome BC to large-scale proteomics research made this opportunity irresistible to me,” says Borchers. “They recognize that proteomics research is difficult and expensive, and that we need very sophisticated tools and highly skilled people to do it.”