Manitoba Life Science News for the week ending January 15, 2010

Jan 19, 2010 | Corporate Member News

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LSAM is proud to be partnering with ICTAM to present a networking breakfast featuring a presentation on SR&ED Tax Credits from Jeff Pniowsky from Thompson Dorfman Sweatman. The breakfast is a great opportunity to connect with your colleagues in the life science sector and get some valuable information on the SR&ED Tax Credit from an industry expert. 

Date:               February 4, 2010

Location:         Fairmont Winnipeg

Time:               7:30 A.M. – 9:15 A.M. (includes a hot breakfast)

Cost:                LSAM Members: $35.00

                        Non-Members: $70.00 

Info:                Jonathan at (204) 272-5094 or [email protected] 

To register please visit 


7:30-8:00am    Registration and Networking Breakfast 

8:00-8:15am    Welcome by ICTAM and LSAM 

8:15-9:00am    Presentation by Jeff Pniowsky, Thompson, Dorfman Sweatman 

9:00-9:15am    Q&A 

9:15am            Adjourn 


Cancellations are accepted until Noon, Monday, February 1, 2010. LSAM is required to pay for guaranteed attendance therefore all registered participants who do not cancel by January 25th will be invoiced regardless of whether they attend the event. Substitutions are welcome. 

Meet Our Speaker- Jeffrey D. Pniowsky

Formerly a senior Tax Litigator with the Federal Department of Justice for almost 10 years, Jeff focuses his practice in the areas of tax litigation and other complex commercial litigation, as well as tax planning and advisory services.

Now serving local and national clients, Jeff brings a wealth of experience in litigating at all levels of both the Provincial and Federal courts. Acting on behalf of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Jeff has handled more than 300 income tax, general commercial and bankruptcy matters. 

His work has included challenges to complex tax avoidance techniques involving large corporate transactions, international taxation and interpretation of tax treaties.  Most recently, Jeff had been advising the Aggressive Tax Planning Division of CRA involving some of the most significant tax matters in the Prairie region. He also sat on the National Tax Avoidance Committee for Justice Canada. 

In addition, Jeff has extensive experience dealing with tax enforcement and other regulatory compliance issues including document disclosure requirements. Jeff sat on the National Documentary Requirements Committee. He is also considered an authority on solicitor and client privilege issues relating to documentary disclosure, having litigated several matters in this area as well as being called upon to act as an adjudicator in a privilege determination. 


REMINDER- Event taking place today

Seminar: Pharmaceutical Medicine in Crisis: A Search for Harmony between Western and Traditional Medicine Systems- Tuesday, January 19, 2010 

What:              Seminar Presented by the Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network 

When:              Tuesday, January 19, 2010 

Time:               3:00pm- 4:30pm 

Where:            Theatre, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods (196 Innovation Drive, University of Manitoba Campus) 

The seminar is being presented by Dr. Steven J Melnick, Ph.D., M.D. the Company majority owner of Dharma Biomedical. Dr. Melnick has also served as Chief of the Department of Pathology and Clinical Laboratories at Miami Children’s Hospital since 1997. He joined the Department of Pathology in 1992 following his Residency training at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. 

His bibliography contains over 100 peer-reviewed publications and abstracts. He is a frequent invited lecturer in medical industry symposia and is currently the study chair for two pediatric clinical trials in development; one which involves the use of Turmeric as an adjuvant therapy in high-risk childhood cancer patients and the other which involves the use of a whey-protein derivative as an intervention in pediatric cancer patients at high risk for cachexia. 

Business of Science in Manitoba: Life Science Careers & Entrepreneurial Skills Workshop- February 10th, 2010 

The Health Sciences Graduate Student’s Association (HSGSA) and LSAM are proud to present the first Business and Science Workshop at the University of Manitoba.  

The workshop will provide students the opportunity to interact with industry professionals and entrepreneurs to find out what they need to know when applying for a job with a life sciences company, or starting their own business within the life sciences sector. 

The life sciences sector encompasses all medically related business ranging from development of diagnostic tools or medical treatments, new chemicals/materials, innovative biological products, nutritional foods to developing more environmentally friendly means of energy production and sustainable medical research. 

The Business of Science in Manitoba: Life Science Careers & Entrepreneurial Skills Workshop will introduce students to the various aspects of starting a business, where to apply for funding, intellectual property and venture capital. Finally the day will round with a presentation from industry leaders in Manitoba on what they are looking for when hiring employees, what gives applicants an advantage and where they can go with a career in industry. 

At the end of the day, all participants are invited to attend the Wine and Cheese Mixer, during which time industry professionals will be present to talk to students one-on-one regarding job opportunities and  what they are looking for in an applicant.  All participants will be encouraged to network, and get to know the faces of industry in Manitoba.   

Presentation Schedule:

1-1:15: Introduction and overview of the life sciences industry in Manitoba and the globally

1:15-1:45: Life cycle of a life sciences company

1:45-2:15: How to start a business

2:15-2:30: Questions

2:30-2:50: Refreshment break

2:50-3:20: Intellectual property and venture capital

3:20-3:50: Government funding and programs

3:50-4:30: Job market skills – what you need to know when applying for a job with a life sciences company

4:30-7:00: Wine and Cheese Mixer – opportunity to chat one-on-one with industry professionals 

This event is offered free of charge by LSAM and the HSGSA, and we encourage all students to take advantage of this rare opportunity. Space is limited, so register early to reserve your spot. To register or for more information please visit

2010 TRLAbs ICT Symposium (“Converged Digital Media”) – February 24, 2010 

What:                          2010 TRLabs ICT Symposium(“Converged Digital Media”)

When:                          February 24th, 2010

Time:                           7:30am – 5:30 pm

Where:                        Delta Winnipeg Hotel (350 St. Mary Avenue, Winnipeg, MB) 

Ticket Info:                  $120 / person  ($95 before Jan 17, 2010)

Event Website: 

Contact Email:            [email protected]

Contact Telephone:    (204) 488-5603 

Converged Digital Media

What are the disruptive applications, creative opportunities and new business models that lie in the convergence of interactive digital media with next-generation telecommunication networks?   What is it about multi-platform digital media that turns the world upside down for network providers and advertisers, while creating potential for a gold rush for digital content developers? 

Featured speakers and discussion panelists from the telecommunications & digital media industries, together with researchers, policy makers, financiers and media convergence visionaries will discuss the implications of the “convergence” of telecommunication networks with New Media. 

All ICT professionals and managers involved in the research, development, commercialization and deployment of New Media applications and telecommunication products and services should attend this highly informative event. 

Symposium fee includes breakfast, lunch, refreshments, after-event reception and a chance to win exciting door prizes. 

Organizing partners of the 2010 ICT Symposium are: TRLabs, Government of Manitoba and Industry Canada. 


Medicure to Consider Third Party Interest for Investment in its Flagship Drug 

Medicure Inc. said last Wednesday it is evaluating a number of offers from third parties interested in a stake in the biopharmaceutical company’s flagship cardiovascular drug Aggrastat. 

The Winnipeg-based company said on Wednesday it is consulting investment bankers Bloom Burton & Co. and Beal Advisors LLC to help evaluate fundraising options. 

Medicure expects the process will take several months to evaluate the best option and solicit new offers, but adds there is no guarantee it will enter into any of the proposed transactions. 

The company says it is attempting to expand Aggrastat’s share of a US$450 million market and requires additional resources to implement its plan. 

Medicure focuses on research, development and commercialization of small molecules to treat cardiovascular and neurological disorders. Its primary interest is the U.S. distribution of Aggrastat, which inhibits platelet aggregation. 

MedGenesis, Biovail to Work on Parkinson’s Treatment 

MedGenesis Therapeutix Inc. said last week that it’s collaborating with Biovail Corporation, Canada’s largest publicly traded pharmaceutical company, on developing a new way to treat Parkinson’s disease. 

The two companies have also struck licence agreements with Amgen Inc. 

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and debilitating neurological disease affecting close to five million people worldwide. Among the best-known victims of the disease is Canadian-born actor Michael J. Fox. 

MedGenesis is a privately held biopharmaceutical company that’s focused on treatments for diseases of the central nervous system.   

Biovail has a broader range of drug products for the treatment of depression, heart conditions and other health issues. 

MedGenesis announced on Tuesday that it had received a worldwide licence for GDNF (glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor) protein from Amgen, which will now own a small equity stake in MedGenesis as a result. 

“This license of GDNF from Amgen presents MedGenesis and Biovail with an exciting opportunity to develop a potential breakthrough therapy for the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease,” said Erich Mohr, chairman and chief executive of MedGenesis. 

MedGenesis has also granted Biovail a license to its Convection Enhanced Delivery (CED) platform for use with GDNF to treat central nervous system conditions, initially Parkinson’s disease. 

CED is a technique for providing targeted, local treatment for central nervous system conditions such as epilepsy and brain cancer. 

Gene Found That Cuts Chance of Dementia 

Researchers found that people with two copies of this gene had a 70 per cent reduced risk of developing the disease compared to those without it. 

Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York found that the gene helped to slow age related decline in brain function. 

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, could lead to new treatments for the condition. Drugs that act in a similar way are now in development. 

Dr Amy Sanders, assistant professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein and lead author of the paper, said: “We found that people with two copies of the longevity variant of CETP had slower memory decline and a lower risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 

“More specifically, those participants who carried two copies of the favourable CETP variant had a 70 per cent reduction in their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease compared with participants who carried no copies of this gene variant.” 

Those who had Alzheimer’s disease and two copies of the gene showed a 50 per cent slower decline in their memory during tests. 

Another study in the British Medical Journal found that blood pressure drugs can also have an effect on the risk of developing dementia and slow its progression in those who already have the disease. 

Researchers at Boston University found people who were treated with angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs were less likely to develop dementia. When ARBs were combined with another type of blood pressure tablet, called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or ACE-inhibitors, the effect was even stronger. 

Those on both drugs were 46 per cent less likely to develop dementia than those treated with other drugs. 

The study also found that people who had Alzheimer’s disease were almost 70 per cent less likely to be admitted to a nursing home – a sign of decline – if they were on both drugs. 

The findings from both studies support theories that factors that traditionally affect heart health such as blood pressure and raised cholesterol also play a role in the development of dementia and treating them can reduce the risk. 

Treating high blood pressure and cholesterol levels may improve blood flow in the brain, helping to protect it from damage, it was suggested. 

Losing the sense of smell may be an early warning sign of the onset of Alzheimer’s, new research from New York University has found. 

Tests in mice have found that smell was the first thing to go in those who had been given Alzheimer’s disease. 

Scientists say the findings, published in the journal Neuroscience, could help identify potential sufferers early. 

$59M Supports Infrastructure for 351 Researchers Across the Country 

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has announced $59 million in support for 262 projects in 40 Canadian research institutions, allowing 351 researchers to conduct cutting-edge research in world-class facilities.

“Access to modern, cutting-edge equipment and facilities is imperative to research in the 21st century,” said Dr Eliot Phillipson, president and chief executive officer of the CFI. “For more than a decade, the CFI has provided thousands of world-class researchers with the tools they need to do their work. Without the right infrastructure, they quite simply wouldn’t be in Canada.”

The government says it estimates that every dollar invested directly in research yields more than $7 in economic benefits, including jobs.

For a complete list of the funded projects, visit

B.C. Gets $23 Million for Clean-Tech Research 

Green power developers in British Columbia will get $23 million for six projects under the umbrella of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt announced last Tuesday. 

Actual amounts of the awards were not specified. Agrisoma BioSciences of Vancouver leads a group of companies and government agencies getting support for biotech research into the economic and environmental performance of renewable fuels. 

Burnaby’s Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation Corp. gets funding, along with Ford and Daimler, for research to reduce the cost of manufacturing fuel cells. 

Ballard Power Systems of Burnaby shares funding with TransLink and ISE Corp. for development of fuel cell hybrid buses. 

ExroTechnologies of Vancouver and the Wind Energy Institute of Canada get funding for refinement of wind turbine gearboxes. 

HTEC HydrogenTechnology and Energy of Delta shares funding withTransLink and Elementary Energy for research into the practicality of hydrogen production and delivery. 

Pulse Energy of Vancouver leads a consortium researching smart grid technologyCanada is going to lend Mexico five million doses of its huge surplus of H1N1 flu vaccine, to help the country meet its immediate needs. 

Plant Could Save Millions from Malaria 

Scientists from the University of York have confidently predicted they will have high-yielding anti-malaria crops available for wide spread plantation in developing countries within two years. 

The discovery of the genetic map of the medicinal herb Artemisia annua has been hailed as a significant breakthrough that could save countless lives. 

Researchers said the new plants they will breed will be given to poor farmers who can use them to grow a cash crop that could help build up fragile economies. 

The research has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Malaria kills at least one million people every year even though it can be prevented and treated. 

The most effective drugs to treat the disease are Artemisinin Combination Therapies. 

More funding has become available to deliver these treatments which are expected to reach 200 million each year by 2012. 

But there is currently a shortage of the plant Artemisia annua which is a key ingredient in the drugs. 

The scientists from University of York said they hope to be able to meet the new demand within two to three years. 

They have published the first genetic map of this species, plotting the location on the plant’s genome of genes, traits and markers associated with high performance in the latest issue of the journal Science. 

The genetic map will enable scientists to recognise young plants as high performers from their genetics. 

It will also inform the selection of suitable parent plants for breeding experiments. 

The map has been confirmed in glasshouse experiments that found the top-performing plants had higher frequencies of genetic indicators for high yield. 

Professor Dianna Bowles and Professor Ian Graham have led the research project. 

Professor Graham said, “The map is already proving to be an essential tool for us. 

“With our new understanding of Artemisia genetics, we can produce improved, non-GM varieties of Artemisia much faster than would otherwise be possible. 

“This speed is essential. We intend to get high-yielding seed to farmers in the next two to three years in order to supply soaring demand for malaria treatments. 

“This is a really tight deadline and we can only do it with the benefit of the new knowledge provided by the map.” 

Prof Graham said the work demonstrated how modern genetics has shortened the time needed to turn a wild plant species into a domesticated crop, with the potential to save millions of lives. 

The scientists will continue to create the new varieties for use by many thousands of small scale growers in the developing world, which is an important source of income. 

The project has received its second grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

This grant will support final development of the new varieties and their delivery to Artemisia producers in Africa and Asia. 

Contact Information

Jonathan Frate
Manager, Membership Services 
Life Science Association of Manitoba
1000 Waverley Street
Winnipeg, MB     R3T 0P3
Tel: (204) 272-5094
Fax: (204) 272-2961
Email: [email protected]

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