Organizations:
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Cirion BioPharma Research , Government of Quebec, Idealist Capital , LightLeaf Solar , Skaldyr Inc. , Université TÉLUQ , University of Guelph , University of Toronto , Yukon Geological Survey , Yukon Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Algoma Orchard, Atlantic Veterinary College, Axolotl Biosciences, BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund, Bioenterprise, BioShur, Blue Mountain Fruit Company, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Region, Canadian Food Innovation Network, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Pediatric Cancer Consortium (CPCC), Capricorn Investment Group , Cariboo Pulp and Paper Mill, CIHR, Cirion BioPharma Research, City of Quesnel, Concordia University, Copperleaf Technologies, CubicFarm Systems, De la Fontaine Industries, Earthware Reusables, EcoDairy, Evok Innovations, federal government, First Movers Coalition (FMC), Fondaction, Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, Global Institute for Water Security, Government of Canada, Harmac Pacific Pulp Mill, Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC), INOVAIT network, Investissement Quebec, Kognitiv Spark, Liven Protein, McMaster University, National Microbiology Laboratory, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, Public Health Agency of Canada, Rapid Aid, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Saltwinds Coffee Company, Smallfood, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Sollum Technologies, Statistics Canada, Summit Nanotech, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, The Hospital for Sick Children, Theory Mesh, Université du Québec à Rimouski, University Health Network, University of Calgary, University of New Brunswick, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Saskatchewan, University of Saskatchewan, University of Saskatchewan, UVic Coast Capital Innovation Centre, Vivid Machines, West Fraser Mills, Xora Innovation, and Yukon Mineral Advisory Board

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The Short Report - January 25, 2023: Expanding Canada's clinical trial networks, a $40-million injection for Xanadu Quantum Computing, research income rankings, and more.

Cindy Graham
January 25, 2023

HEALTH FUNDING NEWS

The federal government is investing $131 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Clinical Trials Fund to expand Canada's existing clinical trial networks. The funding will go towards setting up a pan-Canadian clinical trial consortium, headed by Dr. PJ Devereaux (Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences) to improve collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the number of clinical trials in Canada, as well as establishing training platforms and supporting research projects including clinical trial phases, designs, and objectives that align with the priorities of the Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy announced in Budget 2021. The funding breakdown includes $39 million for the pan-Canadian consortium; more than $32 million for seven training platforms for scientists in biostatistics, stroke research, behavioural change, and the general practice of clinical research (including the Canadian Consortium of Clinical Trial Training platform led by Dr. Jean Bourbeau at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre to fill the gaps in trained clinical research professionals in public institutions and biotechnology industries), and $60 million for 22 projects, including:

  • evaluating the safety and effectiveness of an inhaled aerosol vaccine that can help break the cycle of new COVID-19 variants, waning vaccine immunity, transmission, and infection, led by Dr. Fiona Smaill, McMaster University, and researchers from Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec, as well as the city of Manchester, England;
  • a new approach to stop patients from developing lung damage from ventilators, led by Dr. Ewan Goligher, University Health Network, and researchers in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States;
  • a therapy for the genetic disorder C3delta SCID, as a pilot for a gene therapy framework, led by Dr. Nicola Wright University of Calgary, and researchers from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and the city of Los Angeles.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research Funded projects

Meanwhile, CIHR  is investing $23 million to establish the Canadian Pediatric Cancer Consortium, which represents the largest investment in childhood cancer research in Canada to date. The consortium will be led by Dr. David Malkin and Dr. Jim Whitlock at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and pediatric cancer advocate Adrienne Co-Dyre in London, Ontario. Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Image-guided therapy (IGT) medical technology is getting a boost, thanks to a contribution of more than $22 million through the  Strategic Innovation Fund's INOVAIT network, a pan-Canadian organization led by the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto. The INOVAIT Focus Fund will support 14 projects focused on commercializing IGT medical technologies for challenges including improving stroke treatments, cardiovascular procedures and cancer therapy.  Projects are led by Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and involve 19 SMEs, three multinational enterprises, nine academic institutions, and four not-for-profit corporations. The organizations are expected to invest an additional $45.4 million into the projects over three years, for a total influx of more than $68 million into the sector. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada INOVAIT

The Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island will receive $1.5 million from the Public Health Agency of Canada to enhance COVID-19 wastewater testing capacity for the Atlantic provinces. The project supports the National Wastewater Surveillance Program by increasing the reach of monitoring and allows COVID-19 testing to be completed without the need to ship samples to Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory ( in Winnipeg. UPEI

CED QUEBEC REGIONS FUNDING

The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec are granting a total of $4 million to steel door and frame manufacturer De la Fontaine Industries (Sherbrooke), to acquire automated and digital equipment to automate its full production line. Ottawa is granting a repayable contribution of $1 million under Canada Economic Development for Quebec Region's Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program while the Quebec government is granting $3 million through the Appui aux projets d’investissement favorisant la productivité et l’expansion des entreprises component of the ESSOR program, managed by Investissement Québec. CED

Meanwhile, contract research lab Cirion BioPharma Research (Laval) has received a repayable contribution of $600,000 through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, which will enable it to acquire new laboratory instruments and conduct marketing in the U.S. and elsewhere. Cision

OTHER GOVERNMENT FUNDING NEWS

Ottawa has announced $40 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund to Toronto-based Xanadu Quantum Technologies, which plans to build and commercialize the world’s first photonic-based, fault-tolerant quantum computer, a nearly $178-million project. The computer will have the potential to help solve complex data problems, and may be used in a variety of sectors such as finance, transportation, environmental modelling, and health. Xanadu

Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC) in Nanaimo will receive a $10-million contribution through the  Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program. The funding will enable HTEC to decarbonize operations at its Harmac Pacific Pulp Mill by using electrolysis to produce hydrogen as a clean fuel  for transportation and heating. The IFIT program is also investing nearly $450,000 to facilitate two studies at West Fraser Mills in Quesnel, B.C. The first will identify market opportunities for fibre-based biocomposites, which have the potential to replace traditional petroleum-based plastics. The second study, a collaboration with the City of Quesnel, will evaluate the feasibility of a district heating system using recovery of excess heat discharged from the Cariboo Pulp and Paper Mill. Natural Resources Canada

AEROSPACE SECTOR NEWS

The Government of Canada is modernizing Canada's regulatory framework in the aerospace sector over the next three years to support the development of a commercialized space launch industry. The overhaul will see the establishment of an intergovernmental review process and regulatory requirements, safety standards, and licensing conditions to allow for orbital launches from Canada on a case-by-case basis. Transport Canada

RELATED: Canadian SMEs playing an increasingly important role in domestic and global space industries, experts say

The University of New Brunswick’s Spatial Computing Education, Training and Research Laboratory will receive a contribution of more than $800,000 through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. The lab will help small and medium-sized aerospace sector businesses access R&D and support the establishment of a digitized aerospace supply chain, as well as new educational and training programs in the spatial computing field. Fredericton-based spatial computing tech company Kognitiv Spark is investing $150,000 in the project, as well as a $410,000 in-kind contribution. UNB

INNOVATION FUNDING

The Canadian Food Innovation Network is investing more than $2.5 million into projects valued at more than $5 million, through the organization’s Food Innovation Challenge and Innovation Booster programs. The funding supports projects across the food value chain, including supply chain digitization, alternative proteins, and sustainable packaging. Recipients of the Innovation Challenge funding include Theory Mesh (Winnipeg; receives nearly $1.3 million to create a traceable and transparent supply chain for beef and dairy with partners CubicFarm Systems and EcoDairy) and Vivid Machines (Toronto; receives more than $800,00 to scale fruit volume and transparency across the fruit supply chain with partners Algoma Orchard and Blue Mountain Fruit Company).  Innovation Booster funding recipients include Liven Protein (Toronto; $99,926), Rapid Aid (Mississauga; $99,471), Smallfood (Halifax $98,932), Earthware Reusables (Calgary; $41,075), BioShur (Montreal; $50,000), and Saltwinds Coffee Company (Fredericton; $57,681). Canadian Food Innovation Network

Meanwhile, Sustainable Development Technology Canada has granted $2.5 million in seed funding to 25 Canadian companies developing technology solutions to deliver environmental benefits, including livestock protection software and mobile solar modules for vehicles, as well as medical 3D printing. Funding recipients include Skaldyr Inc. (Nova Scotia), supported by Bioenterprise, upcycling marine waste through a platform that transforms seafood waste into useful ingredients for food, feed, and crop production sectors; LightLeaf Solar (Saskatchewan), supported by Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, developing low-carbon transportation solutions with mobile solar panels for small trailers and sailboats, and Axolotl Biosciences (British Columbia), supported by UVic Coast Capital Innovation Centre, developing a bio-ink for 3D printing tissue models to support medical research and reduce dependency on animal testing. SDTC

RESEARCH INCOME RANKINGS

Canada’s top 50 research universities posted a combined research income of nearly $9.3 billion in fiscal 2021, an increase of 12.4 percent, according to annual rankings compiled by Research Infosource and based on Statistics Canada financial data from 2020-21. Research income increased at 45 of the top 50 universities and the average research intensity — research income per faculty position — was $226,200 in fiscal 2021 (+11.1 percent increase) while graduate student intensity — research income per graduate student — was $42,800 (+9.6 percent over fiscal 2020). The fiscal 2021 result was mainly due to a 21.5 percent increase in total federal government funding, with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funding increasing by 40 percent, the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council funding increasing by 20.4 percent and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding increasing by 20.3 percent.  Research funding from not-for-profit sources increased overall by 5.8 percent, while corporate funding decreased 4.1 percent between fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2021. Among other key report highlights: research income expanded fastest in fiscal 2021 at the University of Saskatchewan (medical tier, 27.8 percent), Concordia University (comprehensive tier, 25.2 percent) and Université TÉLUQ (undergraduate tier, 48.9 percent). University of Toronto (medical) topped the ranking for faculty research intensity ($531,100 of research income per faculty) and was joined by other tier leaders University of Guelph (comprehensive, $216,300) and Université du Québec à Rimouski (undergraduate, $175,300). Resource Infosource University Research rankings USask

VENTURE CAPITAL FUNDING

Calgary-based lithium extractor Summit Nanotech has closed $50 million in a Series A2 round led by Evok Innovations (Vancouver) and BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund with participation from Xora Innovation (Singapore) and Capricorn Investment Group (Palo Alto). Summit plans to expand their global resource-base and scale their Canadian manufacturing capabilities. Summit Nanotech

Montreal-based horticulture lighting enterprise Sollum Technologies has closed a $30-million financing round, including $25 million from Idealist Capital and $5 million from Fondaction (both of Montreal), to enhance the competitiveness and flexibility of its smart LED grow light solutions. Sollum Technologies 

THE GRAPEVINE

Canada is joining the First Movers Coalition (FMC), the global initiative launched by U.S. President Joe Biden at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The FMC intends to use the purchasing power of businesses to decarbonize high-emitting industries including aluminum, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, steel, and trucking. Other FMC government partners include Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Germany, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Dr. Terry Fonstad has been asked to serve as interim director of the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS) at the University of Saskatchewan. Fonstad has been asked to lead GIWS for the next six months while a governance review and search for a new director takes place following Dr. Jay Famiglietti's retirement as GIWS executive director at the end of 2022. USask

Civil engineering professor Dr. Nemy Banthia has been awarded University of British Columbia's highest academic honor, the University Killam Professorship. Banthia is a renowned global expert in structural materials; the appointment acknowledges his contributions as a teacher, researcher, and international leader in his field. UBC

 Scott Casselman has been appointed vice-president, exploration at Rackla Metals (Vancouver). Casselman was head of minerals geology of the Yukon Geological Survey, and served two years as a member of the Yukon Mineral Advisory Board, which reports to the Yukon Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. Newswire

Paul Sakrzewski has been appointed the new chief executive officer of decision analytics software company Copperleaf Technologies (Vancouver), effective January 1, 2023. Sakrzewski served as president since May 2022; he replaces outgoing CEO Judy Hess, who is assuming the role of vice-chairwoman and chief strategist. Copperleaf reached a $1-billion valuation after going public in October 2021. Copperleaf

 


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