Government of Canada announces 11 new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research

        World-class centres will share $163 million to move discoveries out
                     of the lab and onto the marketplace

    OTTAWA, Feb. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of
Industry, today announced $163 million to establish 11 new Centres of
Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs). These centres will
share $163 million to pursue major discoveries and bring them to the
marketplace over the next five years.
    "Today's announcement marks a milestone in Canadian research history,"
said Minister Prentice. "The technologies, therapies, services and products
generated by these new centres will help improve the well-being of all
Canadians while positioning Canada at the forefront of priority research
areas. As we stated in our Science and Technology Strategy, this Government is
committed to encouraging these exciting, multidisciplinary partnerships
between the private, academic and public sectors."

    The 11 CECRs and their funding amounts are:

    - Advanced Applied Physics Solutions, Inc. (AAPS), Vancouver, BC
      --$14.95 million
    - Bioindustrial Innovation Centre (BIC), Sarnia, ON--$14.95 million
    - Centre for the Commercialization of Research (CCR), Ottawa, ON
      --$14.95 million
    - Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Vancouver, BC
      --$14.95 million
    - Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine (CEPM), Montreal, QC
      --$13.8 million
    - Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC),
      Hamilton, ON--$14.95 million
    - Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer/CECR in Therapeutics
      Discovery (IRICoR), Montreal, QC--$14.95 million
    - MaRS Innovation, Toronto, ON--$14.95 million
    - The Prostate Centre's Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated
      Discovery and Development (PC-TRIADD), Vancouver, BC--$14.95 million
    - Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise (PREVENT), Saskatoon, SK
      --$14.95 million
    - CECR in the Prevention of Epidemic Organ Failure (PROOF),
      Vancouver, BC--$14.95 million

    More information on each Centre is provided in the attached backgrounder.

    Budget 2007 set aside $195 million over the next two years to create new
Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research in four priority
areas: environmental science and technologies, natural resources and energy,
health and life sciences, and information and communication technologies. The
program will support the operating and commercialization costs of the centres.
    These 11 CECRs join seven Centres of Excellence announced in Budget 2007.
The Government invested $105 million in these seven centres, located in B.C.,
Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
    The CECR program is a cornerstone of Canada's Science and Technology
Strategy. One of the goals of the strategy, launched in May 2007, is to
encourage more private sector investment in research and development. The
strategy also emphasizes capitalizing on our people, knowledge and
entrepreneurial advantages to build a stronger Canadian society and economy.
    The CECR competition and program are administered by the secretariat of
the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), successful research partnerships
between universities, industry, not-for-profit organizations and government.
The NCE program is an initiative of the three federal granting agencies-the
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social
Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes
for Health Research-in partnership with Industry Canada.
    "The NCE program is proud to be a part of the Government's vision for a
more prosperous, advanced and competitive Canada," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier,
Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and President of NSERC. "We welcome these
11 CECRs into the NCE family. We look forward to working with their directors,
researchers and partners to help them achieve their maximum potential and
    As part of today's event, Dr. Fortier also announced the members of the
Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB). This group of respected industry leaders
was established at the onset of the CECR competition to assess the economic
and commercial benefits and opportunities of each proposal and to provide
recommendations to the NCE Steering Committee, who determined the final
selection. The PSAB members are:

    - The Honourable Perrin Beatty (Chair), President, Canadian Chamber
      of Commerce
    - Dr. Sue Abu-Hakima, President/CEO, Amika Mobile Corporation
    - Mr. Alan Bernardi (alternate), Director, Bell University Laboratories
    - Mr. James E.C. Carter, former President, Syncrude Canada Ltd.
    - Mr. J. Haig deB. Farris, President, Fractal Capital Corp.
    - Dr. Kevin O'Brien Fehr, Director, Basic Research and Genetics,
      GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
    - Mr. Fred Hemphill (alternate), former Vice President, Technology
      Project Development and Research, Syncrude Canada Ltd.
    - Ms. Francine Laurent , former President, Innovatech Québec
    - Mr. Raymond Leduc, Director, IBM plant, Bromont, QC
    - Mr. Donald Lush, President, Environmental Bio-detection Products Inc.
    - Mr. Keith Stoodley, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Provincial
      Aerospace Group of Companies
    - Mr. Jeff Turner, CEO, Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics Inc.

    Biographical information is provided in the attached backgrounder.


                        Private Sector Advisory Board

    The Private Sector Advisory Board was established in August 2007 by the
secretariat of the Networks of Centres of Excellence, fulfilling a commitment
made by the Government of Canada in Budget 2007 to establish such a body.
    The PSAB's role was to provide the NCE Steering Committee, made up of the
Presidents of the three federal granting councils (NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR),
with their expert advice and recommendations in the CECR competition process.
Specifically, PSAB members recommended projects expected to create a
strategic, long term economic advantage for Canada.
    The PSAB will also be involved in the peer-review process for the
Business-led NCE competition as well as NSERC's College and Community
Innovation Program.
    Consultation within the research and development community produced and
initial list of around 100 suggested names. After taking suitability and
availability into consideration, the final 12 members (10 permanent and two
alternates) were selected by the NCE Steering Committee.

    The members of the 2007-08 Private Sector Advisory Board are:

    The Honourable Perrin Beatty (Chair): President and Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) of the 170,000 member Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Prior to
joining the Canadian Chamber in August 2007, Mr. Beatty was President and CEO
of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). He was President and CEO of the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and has held portfolios in Progressive
Conservative governments, including Treasury Board, National Revenue,
Solicitor General, National Defence, Health and Welfare, Communications, and
Secretary of State for External Affairs. Mr. Beatty serves on a number of
Canadian Government advisory committees covering issues that include national
security, border management, privacy and international trade. He is also a
member of the Advisory Council of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs
Institute and served for five years as Business Co-Chair of the Canadian
Labour and Business Centre.

    Sue Abu-Hakima: co-founder, President and CEO of Amika Mobile Corporation,
her second startup, launched in 2007. She is an Adjunct Professor at the
University of Ottawa. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Ontario
Centres of Excellence and is Chair of the Board of Management for the Center
of Excellence for Communications and Information Technology. She is also on
the Board of the Ottawa Software Cluster. In 2003 she contributed to the Prime
Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs. Dr. Abu-Hakima holds
19 international patents in messaging and content analysis, with a 20th
pending. She has published and presented over 100 papers. Dr. Abu-Hakima holds
Masters and Doctorate degrees from Carleton University in Ottawa, with a
specialization in artificial intelligence.

    Alan Bernardi: Director of Bell University Laboratories (BUL). He manages
over 60 research and development projects in the BUL initiative in Canada. In
2005, he received the First Invention Award which recognizes and rewards BCE
innovators for creating and developing their first patentable invention. Since
1984, he has worked at CAE Electronic, Bell-Northern Research (BNR), Nortel,
Bell Emergis and Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montréal (CRIM) as a
Director for research teams in telecommunications, software engineering and
knowledge-based systems. At CRIM he established two international
partnerships. From 1993-1996, he taught in the McGill University MBA program,
and currently teaches in the Department of industrial engineering at Ecole
Polytechnique de Montréal. Mr. Bernadi is a member of the scientific committee
for the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS)
Networks of Centres of Excellence.

    James E.C. Carter: served Syncrude Canada Ltd. for more than 27 years,
including 10 years as President and 18 years as operations chief. He played a
prominent role in a variety of initiatives to enhance safety, reliability,
production, unit costs and product quality. Prior to joining Syncrude,
Mr. Carter held senior management positions at McIntyre Mines Ltd. and the
Iron Ore Company of Canada. Mr. Carter serves on the Boards of Directors of
EPCOR Inc. and Careers: The Next Generation. He is a director and past chair
of the Mining Association of Canada and was also a member, director, and
executive member of the Alberta Chamber of Resources. In 2005, he was named
Resource Person of the Year by the Alberta Chamber of Resources and was
inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

    J. Haig deB. Farris: President of Fractal Capital Corp., a private venture
capital company financing high technology start-ups and resource services
technology companies. A former Adjunct Professor at the University of British
Columbia (UBC), he is a founder and director of two UBC spin-off companies:
D-Wave Systems Inc., a quantum computing company; and Zymeworks Inc., a
biosciences and enzyme engineering technologies company. Mr. Farris is a
Council Member at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and is
past Chair of the Science Council of British Columbia. He co-founded a
financial consulting firm and was co-founder of the largest venture capital
pool in western Canada. Mr. Farris has received a Friend of Science World
award, the Bill Thompson Award for career achievement from the BC Technology
Industries Association, and the Pioneer of Innovation Award from the Vancouver
Board of Trade.

    Kevin O'Brien Fehr: Since 1992, Dr. Fehr, who has a background in
pharmacology, has managed basic research and genetics studies conducted in
Canadian companies and universities on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). She
also works to attract funding from GSK's international sources to support
Canadian researchers. She serves in an advisory capacity on several Boards of
Directors, including the AllerGen Network of Centres of Excellence and the
Canada Foundation for Innovation. After working for 10 years at the Addiction
Research Foundation of Ontario as a scientist and educator, Dr. Fehr joined
the staff of the Medical Liaison Service of Sandoz Canada. There, she spent
five years liaising between the company and the Canadian medical research
community in the areas of psychiatry and neurology.

    Fred Hemphill has played a key role in transformation of Alberta's oil
sands industry. He spent his entire career at Syncrude Canada Ltd., retiring
from the position of Vice President, Technology Project Development and
Research. He was responsible for the research and development of new
technological innovations and for the engineering and construction of these
technologies. During his long and distinguished career at Syncrude, he held
many senior management positions including Vice President, Bitumen Process and
Vice President, Human Resources and Support Services. Mr. Hemphill is a
past-president of the Fort McMurray United Way and has served on boards and
committees of Keyano College, the Alberta Science Centre and the Oil Sands
Discovery Centre.

    Francine Laurent has 20 years of experience in technology, management and
financing. In 1996, joined Innovatech Québec, a $125 million early-stage
venture capital fund, as an investment analyst, and became president in 1998.
She has overseen more than $100 million worth of investment in technology and
has served on the boards of numerous private companies and public
organizations. In 2008, Mme Laurent resigned from Innovatech to take on a role
as Advisor on investment and economic development to the office of the Mayor
of Quebec City. She is a member of the Quebec Science and Technology Council.

    Raymond Leduc heads IBM's largest semiconductor assembly and test site in
Bromont, QC, which produces microelectronic components for all of IBM's
leading products as well as the microprocessor components for the Nintendo
Wii, Microsoft's XBox 360, and Sony's Playstation 3. Mr. Leduc joined IBM in
1981. He has held various management positions in the engineering and finance
departments before being named Director of the Bromont plant in 2003.

    Donald Lush: President of Environmental Bio-detection Products Inc. in
Mississauga, ON. EBPI develops and manufactures biologically based testing
kits for evaluation of toxicity of contaminants in environmental media and the
evaluation of chemicals and environmental samples. During his 30 years in the
environmental consulting business, Mr. Lush has served in technical,
management and advisory roles as founder, president and chairman of a number
of environmental and technology focused companies in Canada, the U.S. and
Europe. He spent most of his consulting career with Beak International as a
senior principal and board member and acted as Chairman of the Board for
15 years. He is Chair of the Board of Microbial Insights, located in
Knoxville, TN.

    Keith Stoodley: Senior Vice President of Marketing with the Provincial
Aerospace Group of Companies, based in St. John's NL, which specializes in
fixed wing aircraft based maritime surveillance modifications and operations.
Mr. Stoodley also chairs a public-private partnership focused on the
development of the ocean industry cluster in Newfoundland and Labrador. Prior
to 2005, he was Vice President and Director, Oceans, with the Lotek Group.
Under his stewardship, Lotek received Canada Exporter Awards in 2002 and 2003
and the National Research Council's Innovation Award in 2004. He has served as
a director and a member of the Environmental Export Council of the Canadian
Environmental Industry Association, the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce
Innovation Council, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador's Genesis
Centre and International Business Advisory Council and the National Round
Table on the Environment and the Economy.

    Jeff Turner: CEO of Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics Inc. Dr. Turner is a
biotech industry executive and entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in
life science product development and commercialization. He is also an Adjunct
Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto. He holds
34 domestic and international patents and has published more than
100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and abstracts. As President and CEO
of Nexia Biotechnologies Inc., the world's second-largest transgenic animal
company, Dr. Turner managed 124 employees in Canada and the U.S and raised
$67 million in private and public funds. In 2006 he completed a $20-million
licensing agreement for the company's stem cell technology.


         11 Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research

    The 11 new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)
focus on priority areas in research and commercialization and are a key
element of Canada's Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy. This S&T Strategy
is a multi-year framework that will create an environment that encourages
innovation partnerships between the academic, private and public sectors, and
will guide the intelligent, strategic investment of public funds.
    Through the Strategy, the government will promote world-class excellence,
target more resources to priority areas in the national interest, create
partnerships, work collaboratively with the provinces, and hold itself
accountable for delivering results that matter to Canadians.
    Budget 2007 provided $195 million over the next two years to create these
CECRs. In addition, the seven Centres of Excellence announced in March 2007
($105 million in 2007-08) are eligible to compete in future competitions under
the CECR program.

    The 11 CECRs are:

    1- Advanced Applied Physics Solutions, Inc. (AAPS), Vancouver, BC

    Advanced Applied Physics Solutions Inc. is a wholly owned, not-for- profit
subsidiary of TRIUMF, Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear
Physics. AAPS' mission is to improve the quality of life of people around the
globe by developing technologies emerging from worldwide subatomic physics
research. AAPS will collaborate with academic, government, and industry
stakeholders to research and develop promising technologies to a commercially
viable stage, while increasing domestic industrial capacity to ensure
long-term societal and economic benefits to Canada. During its initial five
years, AAPS plans to form at least six joint ventures. One of these will
develop a new underground imaging system to improve productivity in the
natural resource sector. Others will develop technologies with a range of
applications, including medical isotope production and pollution mitigation.
    Centre Director: Mr. Philip Gardner, TRIUMF

    2- Bioindustrial Innovation Centre (BIC), Sarnia, ON

    The Bioindustrial Innovation Centre (BIC)'s vision is for Canada to become
the globally recognized leader in taking sustainable feedstock, such as
agricultural and forestry by-products and wastes, and turning these renewable
resources into energy and value-added chemicals for use in applications
ranging from construction to automotive parts. The BIC will provide programs
and facilities to build, demonstrate and test technologies in partnership with
industry. It will allow Canada to jump start and accelerate the
commercialization of cutting edge, sustainable technologies in order to move
innovation from the lab bench to the pilot plant and from demonstrations all
the way up to full scale manufacturing. Located in the heart of Canada's
largest chemical clusters, the BIC will play a key role in the transformation
of this industry into a cleaner, greener global powerhouse.
    Centre Director: Mr. William Hewson, County of Lambton Community

    3- Centre for the Commercialization of Research (CCR), Ottawa, ON

    The Centre for the Commercialization of Research will help ensure that new
technologies developed in Canada's outstanding research universities reach the
global marketplace; create a new and highly innovative economy that is
globally competitive and environmentally responsible; and create the next
generation of Canadian innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders. The
Centre will also play an important role in other critical areas, including the
development of complex and convergent technologies that require the alignment
of various disciplines; and national and international collaborations. The new
Centre will build on the record of success achieved by the five Ontario
Centres of Excellence (OCE), improving and expand the existing, successful OCE
commercialization model. The initial focus of the Centre will be on
commercializing new technology discoveries related to the environment, natural
resources and energy; health and related life sciences; and digital media.
    Centre Director: Mr. Ron Killeen, Ontario Centres of Excellence

    4- Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Vancouver, BC

    The Centre for Drug Research and Development proposes to dramatically
increase the probability that discoveries made by Canadian researchers become
medicines that improve the health and well-being of Canadians and millions
worldwide. The CDRC will provide an infrastructure in which the therapeutic
potential of medical discoveries can be better validated in the academic
environment, reducing the risk of failure in subsequent development. The CDRD
is mobilizing the scientific disciplines from academia to conduct drug
discovery in an integrated, collaborative manner. The Centre is combining this
with a commercial arm to ensure that promising discoveries receive the
investment necessary to become new medicines. In addition, the CDRD training
model promises to produce highly-skilled workers to drive the therapeutic
innovation pipeline, attract international talent to Canada, and spur growth
in knowledge-based jobs and companies.
    Centre Director: Ms. Natalie Dakers, CDRD

    5- Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine (CEPM), Montreal, QC

    Given the critical importance of a patient's genetic background in the
acceptance or rejection of a given drug, there is an urgent need to introduce
approaches, tools and services based on genomic technologies. The Centre of
Excellence in Personalized Medicine (CEPM) optimizes therapies by capitalizing
on recent discoveries in genomics. The CEPM draws on the outstanding talent
and infrastructure available in health and teaching institutions throughout
Canada. It works in partnership with the pharmaceutical and the
biotechnological industries. Researchers benefit from knowledge acquired by
companies at the product development stage and by practitioners in an
institutional setting. Clinical trials are a major focus of activity and the
development of safe, effective drugs, with as few side effects as possible, is
a key objective. The Montreal Heart Institute is the host institution and has
partnered with Génome Québec for this venture.
    Centre Director: Dr. Carole Jabet, Génome Québec

    6- Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC),
       Hamilton, ON

    Canada has invested in research to create new molecular imaging probes,
special chemical compounds that can diagnose disease early on or evaluate
changes in the patient during treatment. The Centre for Probe Development and
Commercialization (CPDC) will ensure that this success is translated into
products that will provide more effective diagnosis and treatment options for
Canadians. The CPDC will create the capacity to convert methods used to
produce promising probes in the lab into methods suitable for commercial and
clinical use. The Centre will validate the safety and efficacy of promising
probes, leading to human use in clinical trials. Finally, for those probes
that have proven to be both safe and effective, the CPDC will play a key role
in managing intellectual property to attract investment to Canada.
    Centre Director: Dr. John Valliant, McMaster University

    7- Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer(IRIC)/CECR in
       Therapeutics Discovery (IRICoR), Montreal, QC

    Cancer is among the most devastating and costly health problems in Canada.
The latest development in the fight against cancer has been the introduction
of "targeted therapies" which, unlike chemotherapy and radiotherapy, are based
on understanding tumor development. The Institute for Research in Immunology
and Cancer (IRIC)/CECR in Therapeutics Discovery will accelerate the
development of new targeted cancer therapies by supporting the impressive
discovery portfolio and technological platforms developed at the
internationally-recognized Unit for the Discovery of Medicines at Université
de Montreal (UDM2) and linking them with new partners, including the
biopharmaceutical industry.
    Centre Director: Dr. Guy Sauvageau, IRIC

    8- MaRS Innovation (MI), Toronto, ON

    The downtown Toronto MaRS Discovery District is the gateway to Canada's
largest concentration of scientific research, anchored by major teaching
hospitals, the University of Toronto and more than two dozen affiliated
research institutes. MaRS houses technology start-up companies, academic
health researchers and a wide range of business services. MaRS Innovation
(MI), a joint venture of MaRS and the renowned Toronto academic institutions,
will help turn research strengths into economic opportunities for Canadians
through collaborative work on commercialization by a single integrated
organization. The scale of MI and the breadth of its technology pipeline will
enable recruitment of people accustomed to working at the crossroads of
science and business. Joint teams from MI and each institution will work with
researchers to identify discoveries that can be used by existing companies, or
to launch new businesses that can grow into globally-recognized firms.
    Centre Director: Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, MaRS Discovery District

    9- The Prostate Centre's Translational Research Initiative for
       Accelerated Discovery and Development (PC-TRIADD), Vancouver, BC

    The Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital is one of the world's
most comprehensive and respected prostate cancer facilities, with an
outstanding team of renowned scientists and clinicians. The Prostate Centre's
Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development
(PC-TRIADD) integrates critical components of translational research under one
organization, allowing the seamless management of the complex processes
involved in discovery, preclinical development and clinical research in close
partnership with national clinical trials and research networks, as well as
industry. While PC-TRIADD focuses on prostate cancer, many of its services and
discoveries can be applied to other cancers.
    Centre Director: Dr. Martin Gleave, The Prostate Centre

    10- Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise (PREVENT), Saskatoon, SK

    By partnering with Canadian stakeholders and shouldering the risk of
early-stage vaccine development, the Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise CECR
will strengthen Canada's vaccine industry, promoting growth, investment and
improved global competitiveness. By keeping manufacturing and clinical trials
in Canada, PREVENT will accelerate the rate at which essential vaccines reach
the Canadian marketplace, resulting in earlier access. The Vaccine and
Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan , the
Canadian Centre for Vaccinology in Halifax and the B.C. Centre for Disease
Control have pooled their expertise to create PREVENT. The Centre will conduct
animal studies and proof-of-concept clinical trials for promising early-stage
vaccine candidates.
    Centre Director: Dr. Andrew Potter, University of Saskatchewan

    11- CECR in the Prevention of Epidemic Organ Failure (PROOF),
        Vancouver, BC

    The Prevention Of Epidemic Organ Failure (PROOF) CECR will lead the way in
finding practical solutions to vital organ failure and its impact on Canadians
and our health care system. PROOF's team of world-class researchers,
scientists and clinicians are committed to improving the standard of care and
quality of life for all patients in Canada faced with heart, lung and kidney
failure. PROOF believes that moving away from drug-only strategies towards
biomarker-guided prevention and effective early detection of primary diseases
is the best way to diminish the epidemic of vital organ failure and its
socioeconomic impact.
    Centre Director: Dr. Bruce McManus, University of British Columbia

For further information:

For further information: Deirdra McCracken, Press Secretary, Office of
the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, (613) 995-9001; Natasha
Gauthier, Communications Manager, NCE, (613) 996-0390, (613) 668-0214 (cell),

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890