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INSIGHTS FOR THE LIFE SCIENCE INDUSTRYJULY/AUGUST 2012VOLUME 15, NUMBER 7From Mendel to MolecularWe are living inA GENOMICWORLDPublication Mail Registration Number: 40052410MICK BHATIASpotlight on McMasterUniversity Stem Cell andCancer Research p.23


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contentsJULY/AUGUST 2012 – VOLUME 15 – NUMBER 723A new strategy forthe developmentof anti-cancer drugsFEATURES11 LIVING IN A GENOMIC WORLDThe application of genomics and its impact onmultiple sectors(By Brad Popovich)Opinion17 PROGRESS AND PROMISEProfiling some exciting areas of cancer researchtaking shape at the Samuel Lunenfeld ResearchInstitute of Mount Sinai Hospital(By Karin Fleming)11Dr. Brad Popovich, chiefscientific officer GenomeBC discusses how fargenomics research hascome and its impact onmultiple industrial sectors20 CANADIAN TRENDS IN GENOMICSAfter a decade of supporting basic researchand discovery, emphasis is now being placedon innovation in applied research(By Daniel Tessier)DEPARTMENTS6 RESEARCH NEWS9 BUSINESS CORNER26 NEW PRODUCTS28 CALENDAR OF EVENTS8R&D NEWSNew life sciences fundingprogramIN EVERY ISSUE14 INNOVATORWinning Immunity: Halifax basedImmunovaccine Inc. is leading the wayin vaccine development(By Janet Damianopolous)23 SPOTLIGHTMcMaster University researchers discoverdrug that destroys human cancer stemcells but not healthy ones(By Blake Dillon)www.bioscienceworld.caJULY/AUGUST 2012 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS 30 PM


PUBLISHER’S NOTECompanies bring theirA-game to BioFinance 2012It was a chance to make connections, to pitch ideas and to form partnerships. Heldon May 29th and 30th at the St. Andrew’s Club in downtown Toronto, BioFinance2012 brought together the who’s who of Canadian biotech companies with thepromise of putting them in the same room as potential investors. The event mostcertainly delivered on this promise.As for the presentation schedule, MaRS Innovation filled the schedule on day oneshowcasing promising breakthroughs and technologies from 17 of Toronto’s topuniversities and research institutes. Day two featured corporate presentations frommore than 62 public and private life science companies. In addition, BioFinance alsoran a series of 13 panels comprised of industry experts and leaders discussing everythingfrom investment landscape and financing, to forecasts of what to expect in andaround the industry in the coming months. In all, there were 520 participants over thetwo days with 72 expert panelists, 20 sponsors and two large networking receptions.While much of the buzz leading into the event centred on the recent acquisition ofEnobia Pharma by Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for $610 million (the largest transactionin recent Canadian history), there was also lots of speculation and evidence atthe event that the VC community both locally and internationally is falling in lovewith biotech once more.As proof, one only had to look around the room to see potential investors out infull force at BioFinance, often huddled with companies discussing opportunities.Some of these investors even gave us the chance to speak with them one-on-oneabout their activities (to see video coverage of Investors at BioFinance 2012 visit:www.youtube.com/user/BiotechnologyFocus).This positive showing was echoed by event organizer Michael Stinson, who stated,“With the possibility of increased venture capital now available to fund Canadianbiotech companies, as well as the continued interest from U.S. venture capital, 2012could mean a very promising year for many Canadian life science companies.”As for the event as a whole, Stinson was pleased with both the turnout and thehigh level of activity. It will be exciting to see what transpires in the coming monthsas a result of the meetings and discussions that took place at the event. This yearmarked the 15th anniversary for BioFinance, and according to Stinson, next year’sevent will take place on May 28th and 29th, 2013.PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEFSTAFF WRITERSEDITORIAL INTERNCONTRIBUTING WRITERSNATIONAL ACCOUNTMANAGERGRAPHIC DESIGNERCONTROLLERMARKETING MANAGERCIRCULATION DIRECTORTerri PavelicShawn LawrenceChristopher RogersDaniela FisherBrad PopovichDaniel TessierJanet DamianopoulosKarin FlemingBlake DillonMurray McLaughlinMarcello SukhdeoElena PankovaJohn R. JonesMary MalofyJames Watsoncirculation@promotive.netTel: 705-812-0611EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARDCeline Bak, Analytica Advisors; Rob Henderson,BioTalent Canada; Najla Guthrie, KGK Synergize;Pierre Bourassa, IRAP, Montréal; MurrayMcLaughlin, Sustainable Chemistry Alliance;Carol Reynolds, Wordmark Consulting Group Inc.;Ulli Krull, UTM; John Kelly, Erie Innovation andCommercialization; Peter Pekos, Dalton PharmaServices; Brad Thompson, Oncolytics; DarrellEthell, CanReg; John Hylton, John H. Hylton &Associates; Robert Foldes, Cognovie Inc.; RandalR.Goodfellow, P.Ag., Senior Vice President, CorporateRelations, Ensyn; Bob H. Sotiriadis,LLB, a partner with Leger Robic Richard;Dale Patterson, Genome Canada; Darcy Pawlik,Syngenta Seeds Canada Inc; Gail Garland, OBIO;Barry Gee, CDRD; Bonnie Kuehl, Scientific InsightsConsulting Group Inc.Biotechnology Focus is published 10 times per year byPromotive Communications Inc. 24-4 Vata Court,Aurora, Ontario L4G 4B6 Phone 905-727-3875Fax 905-727-4428www.bioscienceworld.caE-mail: biotechnology_focus@promotive.netSubscription rate in Canada $35/year; USA $60/year;other countries $100/year. All rights reserved. No part ofthis publication may be reproduced without writtenconsent. Publications Mail Registration Number:40052410 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:circulation dept – 24-4 Vata Court,Aurora, Ontario L4G 4B6National Library of Canada ISSN 1486-3138 \All opinions expressed herein are those of thecontributors and do not necessarily reflect the views ofthe publisher or any person or organization associatedwith the magazine.If you would like to order hard copy or electronicreprints of articles, contactSandra Service 905-727-3875 x221reprints@promotive.net4 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012ABC Membership Applied For.


Ontario Institute for Cancer ResearchtechnologyexpoFriday, September 14, 2012Toronto, Ontario, Canada2012OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to the prevention,early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This event will be a unique opportunity toexplore some of OICR’s most exciting projects, innovations and commercialization efforts, and tonetwork with investors from across North America.Keynote SpeakersMichael Powell, PhDSofinnova VenturesStephen HurwitzChoate, Hall & Stewart LLPFunding for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research is provided by the Government of OntarioTo register, please visit www.oicr.on.ca/techexpo2012


R & D NEWSOmniActive Health Technologies opens R&D centre in PEIIndia-based ingredient supplier company,OmniActive Health Technologies is openinga new research and developmentfacility in Charlottetown, Prince EdwardIsland, contributing to the province’sgrowing bioscience cluster.PEI’s Minister of Innovation and AdvancedLearning Allen Roach said the newfacility provides OmniActive with a baseof operations for development, expansionand growth in North America.“OmniActive has been an importantpartner in our plans for development ofthe Island’s bioscience sector,” said Roach.“The Government of Prince Edward Islandhas worked with this company as they establishan Island research presence at theBIOTECanada appointsnew president and CEOBIOTECanada announces the appointmentof Andrew Casey as the association’snew president and CEO starting July30, 2012.Casey joins the biotech industry afterspending almost 20 years in senior roles(From left to right) Dr. Jayant Deshpande,President, OmniActive Health Technologies,the Honourable Allen Roach, Ministerof Innovation and Advanced Learning, theHonourable Gail Shea, Minister of NationalRevenue, and Mr. Rajesh Udhoji,OmniActiveHealth Technologies, recently participatedin the official opening of a new bioscienceresearch and development company, Omni-Active Health Technologies, at the new PEIBioCommons Research Park.National Research Council Charlottetownand now move to expand that presenceinto space within the Biocommons ManufacturingCentre.”Currently, the company employs a seniorresearch scientist, a nutritional biochemistand three undergrad students from Universityof PEI’s science faculty. In the comingthree years, the company hopes to increasethe number of student researchers to five.The new facility will be a centre for innovationand discovery-based platforms.Its aim is to find new dietary ingredientsthat can provide therapies for preventativehealth solutions. The problem areastargeted are eye health, obesity and jointand brain health.in the national trade association business.Currently, Casey is the vice president ofpublic affairs and international trade withthe Forest Products Association of Canada(FPAC). Prior to joining the FPAC, Caseywas assistant vice president, governmentrelations, for the Canadian Life and HealthInsurance Association.The announcement was made by BradThompson, chairman of BIOTECanada.Correction noticeAn article which appeared in the June, 2012 issue of Biotechnology Focus titled‘Determining Patentable Subject Matter in the United States and Canada’ failedto properly identify the authors and the company they represent. We regret theerror. The author’s bylines are as follows:Melanie Szweras, B.Sc., Ph.D. (Genetics), LL.B., is a partner in Bereskin & Parr LLP’sBiotechnology & Pharmaceutical practice group. She is also a registered Canadian andU.S. patent agent. Melanie can be reached in Toronto at 416.957.1678 or HYPERLINK“mailto:mszweras@bereskinparr.com” mszweras@bereskinparr.com.Micheline Gravelle, M.Sc. (Immunology), is a partner with Bereskin & Parr LLP andhead of the firm’s Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical practice group. She is also aregistered Canadian and U.S. patent agent. Micheline can be reached in Toronto at416-957-1682 or mgravelle@bereskinparr.com.Clinical Trials& Patents• Aeterna Zentaris (Québec, QC) and itspartner Yakult Honsha have commenced aPhase 1 trial for blood cancer treatment withAeterna Zentaris Inc.’s cancer treating drugperifosine. The orally-taken drug works by inhibitingAkt activation in the phosphoinositide3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Yakult Honsha issponsoring and carrying out the initial trial inJapan. The two step Phase 1 trial is an openlabeltest, where perifosine is mixed with(Velcade®) and dexamethasone in patientswith refractory multiple myeloma who hadbeen treated before with bortezomib. Theprimary goal is safety, secondary goals compriseof response rate, progression-free survivaland time to tumour progression.• Clinical stage vaccine development company,Immunovaccine Inc. (Halifax, NS),announces positive results from a Phase 1clinical trial. The trial targeted multi-functionalimmunotherapeutic responses induced bythe DPX-0907 vaccine. The Phase 1 trial wasconducted at five U.S. centres. Patients receivedthree injections (0.25 mL or 1 mL doses)of the active immune therapy DPX-0907,three weeks apart. Sixty-one per cent of thestudy’s evaluable cancer patients, and 89 percent of evaluable breast or ovarian cancer patients,experienced targeted T cell responsesagainst one or more of DPX-0907’s seven keycancer-specific antigens. The trial includedobserved immune responses in advancedstage ovarian, breast and prostate cancer patients.Seventy-three per cent of immune respondersgenerated a response after the firstvaccination. Responses were detected at twoor more time points after vaccination in 83 percent of responders. Sixty-four per cent maintaineda lasting response one month after athird vaccination.• The NCIC Clinical Trials Group at Queen’sUniversity will sponsor and conduct an openlabel,randomized, non-blinded Phase 2clinical study of Oncolytics Biotech Inc.’s(Calgary, AB) REOLYSIN®. Study participantswill be patients with advanced or metastaticnon-small cell lung cancer. NCIC CTG andOncolytics’ collaborative work also includescolorectal and prostate studies. Dr. BradThompson, president and CEO of Oncolyticscommented that the study builds on thecompany’s existing NSCLC clinical studiesand on clinical research combining REOLYSINwith docetaxel. In this study, patients withsquamous cell histology will be treated eitherwith REOLYSIN in combination with docetaxelor with docetaxel alone. Patients with nonsquamouscell histology will be treated eitherwith REOLYSIN in combination with pemetrexedor with pemetrexed alone.6 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


R & D NEWSBlood test for pregnant women predicts underweight infantsThe IGFBP-4 is a protein that has beenlinked to pregnancy before, but thisstudy was the first to show its part inpregnancy complications. IGFBP-4 levelswere examined in first trimester bloodsamples from women who participatedin a large study of pregnancies and newborns,the Ottawa and Kingston (OaK)birth cohort.While the protein blood test is still atthe experimental stage, Dr. Gruslin hopesto create a more refined version withinthe next few years that could be madeavailable to all pregnant women. She alsohopes her studies on IGFBP-4 could lead toimprovements to fetal growth in high-riskpregnancies.The study was published in the Journalof Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolismand funded by the Canadian Institutes ofHealth Research and the National Key BasicResearch Program of China. It was carriedout by researchers at OHRI, University ofOttawa, the Chinese Academy of Scienceand the Third Hospital of Hebei MedicalUniversity in China.Researchers at the Ottawa Hospital ResearchInstitute (OHRI) and the Universityof Ottawa announce a new study that findswomen with high levels of a certain proteinare 22 times more likely to give birth to tinyinfants than women with normal levels ofthe protein.In their report, Dr. Andrée Gruslin, a highrisk obstetrician at The Ottawa Hospital anda University of Ottawa professor in the facultyof medicine, along with her team ofresearchers analyzed a protein in the bloodof pregnant women. This protein, calledthe Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein-4(IGFBP-4), determines whether or not thereis a risk of Fetal Growth Restriction, alsoknown as Intrauterine Growth Restriction,a condition thought to have an effect onthree to five per cent of all pregnancies andcause almost half of all stillbirths. Infantsborn with the condition have a larger threatof developing serious health problems ininfancy and childhood, along with chronicdiseases such as hypertension and diabeteswhen they are adults.Dr. Gruslin’s research could potentiallylead to a widely available blood test thatcould help improve the outcomes of thosediagnosed with the condition, which is estimatedto be as many as one in every 20pregnancies.“Usually, we don’t find out until later in apregnancy that a fetus isn’t growing properly,but this test can tell us in the first trimesterif there’s likely to be a problem,” said Dr.Gruslin, in a release. “By identifying thesehigh-risk pregnancies early on, we will beable to monitor these women more closelyand hopefully help them deliver a healthierbaby.”THE 13th INTERNATIONALCONFERENCE ONSYSTEMS BIOLOGYAUGUST 19–23, 2012TORONTO, CANADAPlenary Speakers:Jurg Bahler, University College LondonThijn Brummelkamp,Netherlands Cancer InstituteDavid Botstein, Princeton UniversityMichael Boutros, DKFZ HeidelbergGeorge Church, Harvard Medical SchoolAnne-Claude Gavin, EMBL HeidelbergTim Hughes, University of TorontoBen Lehner, EMBL-CRG SystemsBiology Unit, BarcelonaNorbert Perrimon, Harvard Medical SchoolPam Silver, Harvard UniversityMike Snyder, Stanford UniversityEran Segal, Weizmann InstituteOrganizers:Brenda Andrews, Gary Bader,Charlie Boone, Cynthia Colby,Roland Eils, Anne-Claude Gavin,Stefan Hohmann, Michael Hucka,Tim Hughes, Roy Kishony,Hiroaki Kitano, Edda Klipp, StephenMichnick, Corey Nislow, Fritz Roth,Sachdev Sidhu, Michael SnyderSponsor:register now for early bird discounts www.icsb2012toronto.comJULY/AUGUST 2012 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS 7


R & D NEWSCQDM, MaRS Innovation, Ontario Brain Institute and Ontario Centres of Excellence partnerto launch Life Sciences Funding ProgramFrom Left to Right: Consul General of Canada to New England Patrick Binns; Québec Minister ofEconomic Development, Innovation and Export Trade Sam Hamad; Ontario Minister of EconomicDevelopment and Innovation Brad Duguid; Québec Minister of Health and Social Services Yves BolducTogether with key partners from Ontario,the Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery(CQDM) is creating a new initiative to fundcollaborative life sciences research projectsbetween Ontario and Québec.CQDM is partnering with three leadingOntario organizations: MaRS Innovation(MI), Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) and OntarioCentres of Excellence (OCE) to launchthe Québec/Ontario CQDM Funding Program,which will support collaborative researchprojects that seek to develop newtools for biopharmaceutical research.“This initiative will help deliver on the potentialof the Ontario-Québec Life SciencesCorridor, and build on the reputation of thelife sciences industries in Canada’s two largestprovinces,” said Ontario Minister of EconomicDevelopment and Innovation BradDuguid. “That means new opportunitiesfor innovation, investment and job creationthat will benefit all Canadians.”“Québec and Ontario are lead actors inthe life sciences sector, a field with muchpromise. We have put in place measuresto respond to the needs of our businessesand our researchers in that field. The projectsannounced today fully accord with thisvision and contribute to our efforts to bringtogether the advantages of our two provinces,”commented the Québec Minister ofEconomic Development, Innovation andExport Trade Sam Hamad.The new program is open to all researchersin Québec and Ontario from academicinstitutions or small- to medium-sized enterprises(SMEs). Selected projects will beeligible for up to $750,000 in funding forthree years. CQDM will fund the Québecarm of the project. While the research beingperformed in Ontario may be funded bymany different sources, OBI, OCE or MaRSInnovation will work with Ontario-basedpartners to secure funding and will alsoprovide support in preparing projects.The initiative is the first notable and concreterealization of the Ontario-Québec LifeSciences Corridor, announced at the 2011BIO International Convention. It will buildupon two previous pilot projects and existingstrengths within the two provinces toincrease innovation, productivity, investmentand job creation.Detailed information about the Québec-Ontario CQDM funding program is availableon the OCE website, http://www.oce-ontario.org/news-events/news/newsarchives/2012/06/19/cqdm.Pfizer Canada injects $4.5million into Alzheimer’sresearchPfizer Canada and the Fonds de recherchedu Québec – Santé announce theestablishment of a joint fund for Al-zheimer’s disease and related disorders,created with $4.5 million in funding fromPfizer Canada.The new research grant program, thePfizer-FRQS Innovation Fund, will be administeredby the FRQS, and will be open toQuébec’s research community. The new programwill give researchers a chance to betterunderstand the disease. The fund will be dividedinto two parts: one focuses on creatinga home base for Québec researchers, whilethe other will fund high-risk, high-spinoffpotentialprojects that allow researchers toexplore new research opportunities.“The purpose of creating this fund is tomobilize Québec researchers, to providethem with an infrastructure that will enablethem, among other things, to set up an Alzheimer’spatient data registry,” says ClaudeLazure, FRQS’s acting scientific director, ina prepared statement. “It will also make itpossible to conduct innovative research forbetter understanding the mechanisms underlyingthis disease by exploring researchhypotheses that have so far never beeninvestigated. Pfizer Canada’s financial supportis extremely valuable because it providesa unique opportunity to further ourknowledge of this disease, which is havinga considerable impact on Québec society.”“Setting up this fund for Alzheimer’s diseaseis part of a broader Pfizer strategy forpartnering with the FRQS to meet healthneeds identified in the Québec populationand is therefore enabling Québec’s life sciencessector to bolster its presence andglobal leadership,” said Allen Van der Wee,general manager of Pfizer’s Primary BusinessUnit Canada, in a release.Further details on the Pfizer-FRQS InnovationFund will be announced on the FRQS’swebsite at www.frqs.gouv.qc.ca.8 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


BUSINESS CORNERErnst & Young report says 53 per cent increase in financing a positive sign for Canadian biotechsThe Canadian biotech industry’s financialperformance was down again in 2011, buta surge in positive clinical news stimulatedthe sector nonetheless, generating a 53per cent increase in financing according toErnst & Young’s 2012 Beyond Borders report.“The Canadian biotech sector respondedwith cost-cutting measures and improvedtheir overall business practices in the wakeof the 2008 crisis,” said Paul Karamanoukian,national life sciences leader and partnerat Ernst & Young. “As a result, the strongercompanies were able to weather the stormand do more with less, as efficiency is thename of the game in the life science worldof today!”In 2011, the Canadian biotechnology industryraised slightly more than US$740million, an increase of US$257 million comparedto 2010. Public companies raisedUS$574 million, a US$178 million increaseover 2010.In 2011, 15 public companies raised 80 percent of the total public financings, which isa clear improvement over 2010, when mostof the public company financings went toonly eight companies.“There are more successful companiesthis year than last, and this is sending apositive signal to new potential investors,”commented Karamanoukian.As for private companies, they raised justunder US$166 million, which represents a91 per cent increase over 2010.According to Karamanoukian, preliminaryreviews of the first quarter of 2012show an upward trend. With the Canadiangovernment and some provinces announcingstimulus programs, the sectorcould see a real turnaround.“We’re also seeing some of the majorpharmaceutical companies partneringwith the public sector to create investmentfunds that should result in further increasesin investments, which demonstrates theindustries trust in our science.”The province of Quebec is now leadingthe pack in both total public company financingsand venture capital financings,surpassing the 2010 leader, British Columbia.Manitoba and Nova Scotia are alsoemerging as players in the sector. The totalpublic and private financing breakdown byprovince was as follows: 50% of total financing, withUS$372.6 million 24% of total financing, withUS$177.3 million 15% of total financing, with US$112.2million 9% of total financing, withUS$62.9 million 1% of total financing, withUS$8.6 million 1% of total financing, withUS$6.4 millionOther highlights of the report included thefollowing: Once again in 2011 there were noIPOs, the number of public companies remainedvirtually flat in Canada at 71 companies,while overall revenues decreased 21 percent from 2010 to US$998 million. The overallemployment in the sector also fell in 2011.• EnWave Corporation (Vancouver, BC) hassigned a collaboration agreement with CherryCentral Cooperative Inc., a U.S. companyspecializing in production and processing ofred tart cherries, along with other fruits andvegetables. After a successful initial evaluationof EnWave’s Radiant Energy Vacuum (REV) technology,Cherry Central is planning to expandits usage of the REV technology. The company,under the terms of the contract, can license itsREV technology for production of red tart cherriesand apple and cherry powders for commercialdistribution.Dealmakers• Biopharmaceutical company ProMetic LifeSciences, Inc. (Laval, QC) has received a $4.6million purchase order from its continuingsupply agreement with Octapharma, a Swissbasedplasma fractionation company specializingin human proteins. The shipments for theorder are expected to be over $2 million during2012’s second half of the year. Octapharma’s latestorder relates to its purchase of PrioClearTM,a proprietary prion capture resin incorporatedinto the company’s manufacturing process forits solvent/detergent treated plasma productOctaplas®LG. Currently, Octaplas®LG is approvedfor marketing in several European countries,and is the object of ongoing proceduresfor regulatory approval in the North Americanmarket.• Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (Mississauga,ON) has signed an agreement granting anexclusive worldwide license for its preclinicalAlzheimer’s disease diagnostic test, theAmorfix Aggregated Abeta Assay (the A4) toJSW Lifesciences GmbH. The A4 is an ultrasensitiveassay that measures the levels of aggregatedAbeta (beta amyloid) in brain, spinalfluid (CSF) and plasma from preclinical animalmodels used for Alzheimer’s disease researchand drug development. The A4 enables thedetection and quantitative measurement ofaggregated Abeta, the building block of brainplaques and a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease,up to a year earlier than conventionalmethods. Under the terms of the agreement,JSW will market and perform the A4 assay asa service in the area of preclinical Alzheimer’sdisease studies.• Valeant Pharmaceuticals International,Inc. (Montréal, QC) has agreed to acquireOraPharma, a specialty oral health companythat develops and commercializes productsfor improving and maintaining oral health. Thedental hygiene company, currently owned byWater Street Healthcare Partners, is a privateequity firm specializing in the health care industry.The total consideration for the deal isapproximately $312 million, with up to $114million in potential contingent payments basedon OraPharma achieving specific milestones, includingrevenue targets.• Lyonbiopole has joined the already existingconsortium between Alsace BioValley andQuébec Consortium for Drug Discovery(CQDM). A first agreement, signed in November2010 between the two partners had alreadyhelped to initiate several research collaborationbetween actors in Alsace and Quebec. Withthese early successes and the special relationshipestablished between Alsace BioValley andLyonbiopole, a new bilateral agreement hasbeen recently signed between CQDM and Lyonbiopole.This new agreement aims to develop ajoint program to enhance biomedical researchin Québec, Alsace and Rhone-Alpes by the alignmentof international resources. This collaborativeprogram aims to co-finance research projectsbetween the three regions Québec, Alsaceand Rhone-Alpes.10 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


GENOMICSBy: Dr. Brad Popovich,Chief ScientificOfficer at Genome BCFromMendel toMolecular:Photo: Dominic Schaefer Photography.WE ARE LIVINGIN A GENOMIC WORLDThe history of genetics can betraced back to an Augustinianmonk by the name of GregorMendel. In the 1860s Mendel beganstudying pea plants and the characteristicsthat were passed on from one generationto the next and then published his findings.Prior to this, many theories had existed abouthereditary characteristics of living organisms.Despite his meticulous work and documentation,it was not until the early 1900s thatthe tenets of Mendelian genetics began tobe more widely accepted. In concert withscientists working within the teachings ofMendel’s principles, mathematicians in theearly half of the 20th century also began todevelop models to explain population geneticsand ultimately applied them to evolution.In 1953 the double-helix DNA structure wasrevealed when James Watson and FrancisCrick cracked the nucleus of the cell and theera of molecular biology was born.While much has changed since 1953, includingpolymerase chain reaction (PCR) atechnique in molecular genetics that allowsdetection and manipulation of even the tiniestamounts of DNA sequences, the mostsignificant and profound changes in genomicshave occurred in just the last decade,arguably since the sequence of the humangenome was completed in 2003. Today, werefer to genomics as a discipline that studiesthe structure, function and inheritance ofthe genome. It allows us to study molecularmechanisms and the interplay of genetic andenvironmental factors in health and disease.The knowledge and innovations emergingfrom the field of genomics are providingsolutions to complex biological challenges,many of which are then raising questions ofsocietal and economic importance.Although the human genome gets the bulkof the attention, all living organisms have agenome: animals, plants, viruses and evenfungi. The development of technologies tosequence the DNA of whole genomes on aroutine basis – essentially to map an organism’s‘blueprint’ – has enabled thousands ofgenome sequencing projects in labs aroundthe world. Along with the human genomesequence, we now have blueprints containingstructural information for all kinds oforganisms, such as soil microbes, trees, beesand salmon.From Cancer toCardiovascular diseaseThe field of cancer research is proving to bewhere some of the most exciting examplesof genomics applications are making a differencein human health. The remarkablediscoveries and advances in cancer researchare leading to vaccines and therapies to fightmany forms of the disease. Even thoughCanada is a world leader in overall survivalJULY/AUGUST 2012 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS 11


GENOMICSThe impact of technologyreaches into all sectors.Canadian watershedsmay soon be benefitingfrom improved testingfor contaminants thanksto the application ofgenomics.rates and cancer care, it is estimated thatthere will be 186,400 new cases of cancerdiagnosed in Canada this year (excludingabout 81,300 non-melanoma skin cancers)and 75,700 cancer-related deaths (CanadianCancer Society – www.cancer.ca). Thesefigures equate to an enormous burden onhealthcare systems. The applications andtechnologies resulting from genomics researchcould play a significant function inhelping to reduce these costs.Genomics is playing a leading role in thepursuit of personalized medicine as theimplementation of molecular medicine providesa deeper understanding of the contentsin the genome, including variations in genes,gene expression, proteins and metabolites.Scientists and clinicians are using genomicsto sequence certain cancer tumours to identifythe most effective treatment and movingus away from a one-size-fits-all approach. Ifwe can measure and test for the expressionof multiple genes, detect genetic variationsand quantify proteins and other moleculesin the body, we can gain substantially moreinformation about a specific patient’s condition,allowing us to tailor the treatmentplan. If a cancer is found to be resistant toan existing therapy, a patient can avoid theineffective treatment and the accompanyingside-effects and focus on other more effectivetherapies.Such ‘therapeutic stratification’ is currentlybeing utilized in cancer research projectsacross Canada involving pediatric medulloblastomas(brain cancer), acute myeloidleukemia (AML), breast and prostate cancers.Major innovation hubs across our country areburgeoning with clinicians, researchers andbioinformaticians joining together under thegenomic umbrella to work towards the goalof better outcomes for patients and theirfamilies.Cancer is not the only area of humanhealth that is being affected by genomicsresearch. A dramatic change in how we approachnumerous health-related concernsis on the horizon as genomics provides amore powerful magnifying glass with whichwe can examine our health in both well anddiseased states. With our genetic blueprint inhand scientists are working towards indentifyingpatients’ underlying genetic susceptibilityto adverse drug reactions. Tests arebeing developed to predict if a patient willexperience known adverse effects, such asdeafness or heart failure, enabling cliniciansto tailor an individual’s drug therapy. If adrug response can be predicted, incidentsof adverse reactions can be lessened, livescan be saved and our healthcare system canrealize economic savings. Researchers arecurrently working on moving these tests intothe clinic.The development of personalized vaccinesand individual gene therapy may sound likescience fiction. However, we hope to seetoday’s results moving from clinical trialsto clinical management within the decade.To ensure this can happen there must benumerous factors at play not the least ofwhich is collaboration between research andregulatory bodies. The continued developmentof cutting-edge technology to makethings more efficient and effective will alsohelp further our understanding of the humangenomic code.From Fish to ForestsHuman health often dominates discussionsof genomics research. But a wide cross sectionof other sectors exists where genomicsresearch is making significant impacts.Forestry, fisheries, agriculture, bioenergy,mining and the environment are all sectorsbenefiting from advances in genome scienceresearch. Increasing understanding of livingorganisms at a molecular level is layingthe groundwork for developing effectivesolutions to international challenges such asclimate change, sustainable food networks,and energy sources.Aquaculture is a timely example: many ofBritish Columbia’s wild salmon runs havebeen steadily declining for the past twodecades. Researchers are using genomics toinvestigate the stressors that might be under-12 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


GENOMICSWe now know there is a better toolto sooner identify pathogens andcontaminants in our water, whichwill allow us to set thresholds todetermine levels where waterpollutants become dangerous.and outlay invested into genomics has positionedBC as a leader in the transformation ofhow tree breeders, forestry disease expertsand others approach their work. Lookingback at the changes in forestry practices inthe last decade we expect to see even morepositive change over the coming years as aresult of investments in genomics. This outlaywill continue to spin off benefits in healthierand better-adapted tree varieties for the futurebenefit of Canada’s forest economy.mining salmon performance and survival.They have identified biomarkers for growthand feeding, high water temperature stress,response to low oxygen and numeroussignatures that contain differential immunestimulation. These signatures reflect conditionaldifferences among migrating salmon.By studying these signatures and patternsof immune stimulation, researchers are nowinvestigating their hypothesis that a largeproportion of salmon dying prematurelymay be linked to the presence of a newvirus. These breakthrough findings werepublished in Science and led to researcherparticipation in the recent Commission ofInquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmonin the Fraser River (the Cohen Commission),and raised numerous questions aboutthe impacts of environmental issues andfarm-raised species on wild fish. Ongoingresearch aims to understand the cause-effectrelationship between specific genomic signatures,new pathogens and salmon mortality.Researchers will use this knowledge topredict and, if possible, mitigate the causesof diminishing runs.The impact of technology reaches into allsectors. Canadian watersheds may soon bebenefiting from improved testing for contaminantsthanks to the application of genomics.We now know there is a better toolto sooner identify pathogens and contaminantsin our water, which will allow us to setthresholds to determine levels where waterpollutants become dangerous. The issue ofclimate change is also being addressed usinggenomics. Research is underway to help addressthe climate-change-induced mismatchbetween the inherent genetics of trees andthe locations where they grow. Using genomicanalysis coupled with cutting-edgegeospatial analysis and climate modeling,research teams are looking at the impact ofclimate change, and how to help manageadaptation processes through breeding andgeographic placement for two of BC’s mostimportant trees – lodgepole pine and spruce.The future of Canada’s forest industry islooking brighter these days: the forest pathologist’sarsenal includes molecular toolsin addition to traditional testing methods tohelp determine tree health. Additionally, anentirely new realm of possibilities has beenuncovered with an increased understandingof the genetic and molecular underpinningsof practical and selective tree breeding. TimeFrom Research to RealityToday anybody and everybody who isstudying a living population can ask betterand more refined questions thanks to genomicstechnology. All living things containgenomes and by understanding them, theybecome more accessible to the relevantcommunities around them.Genome BC has played a catalytic role inidentifying opportunities where genomicscan make a difference to B.C., the rest ofCanada and the world. A critical step in thishas been ensuring that research answerstimely questions. Knowledge can no longerremain in silos — and Genome BC ishelping break down these silos and moveideas from the lab to everyday applications.Innovative solutions to real world problemsare imminent. This means current, relevantproblems are being addressed. By examiningsector opportunities and matchingresearch with those needs, we can delivervalue to end-users by offering genomic solutions.For more GENOMICSinformation visit ourDRUG DISCOVERYWeb Portal atwww.bioscienceworld.caJULY/AUGUST 2012 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS 13


INNOVATORSWINNINGIMMUNITYby Janet DamianopoulosHalifax company leadsthe way in vaccinedevelopmentHalifax-based clinical stage vaccine developmentcompany, Immunovaccine, is forgingnew paths in cancer and infectious diseasemanagement, earning much evidence-basedaccolade. CEO John Trizzino and chiefscience officer Marc Mansour are steeringthe company as a team from the businessand science sides respectively. A seasonedhealth care business professional, Trizzinohas over 17 years of experience dealing withinfectious disease vaccines. With a PhD inmolecular and cellular biology specializingin immune cells, Mansour has guided thecompany’s scientific foundation from thebeginning over 10 years ago. Trizzino andMansour share the story of Immunovaccine,making it clear that the company valuesambition, versatility and the highest qualityresearch.Immunovaccine grew around technologydeveloped at Dalhousie University for thepurpose of immunocontraception in animalpopulations. It has since been tailored to humanimmunotherapy and infectious diseaseapplications. The DepoVax is a vaccinedelivery system that combines antigens andadjuvant, carried via liposomes, in a depot –an oil-based solution that retains them at thesite of vaccination. The DepoVax platform isunique in that it emulates a real bug. Uponinjection, immune cells are attracted in largenumbers to the depot, actively clearing itover a prolonged period of time. The attractionand long term exposure of antigen presentingcells to the depot generates a robustimmune response.Early on, the technology was licensed outto Pfizer Animal Health. While Immunovaccinecontinues to pursue animal health applications(now exploring the potential to targetinfectious disease in companion animals), itsearly vision was far broader in scope. As theDepoVax technology is effective on multipleplatforms, the company wanted to leverageit wherever possible. “After a long evaluationwe made a strategic decision to start focusingon human health applications for theplatform. It was a huge challenge and I’mall about taking challenges so it was great,”says Mansour.In 2005, Immunovaccine began to delveinto tests with known cancer models ofthe time. Mansour describes the light bulbmoment reviewing the results of the firststudy demonstrating the platform couldenhance a cancer vaccine: “I still rememberthat meeting when the immunologist cameinto the room and showed us the results…I was looking at the results and we were alllooking at each other thinking ‘how can younot be jumping up and down?’” A series offurther studies and published papers quicklyfollowed.Licensing some antigens from a companyin the U.S., Immunovaccine very quicklydeveloped DPX-0907. At the same time, thecompany was working on its manufacturingprocess and making DepoVax scalable andthus possible to commercialize. Things cametogether in 2008/2009 when the companystarted making DPX-0907 in the U.S. andfiled its first IND with the FDA. DPX-0907went through a Phase 1 trial in a record 9months targeting patients with breast, ovarianand prostate cancer.“It was the first time DepoVax made it intothe clinic so we demonstrated a good safetyprofile and showed that it is generating immunityin humans,” says Mansour. Presently,Immunovaccine is looking to take DPX-0907into a Phase 2 trial.During the DPX-0907 Phase 1 trial, thecompany struck a deal with Merck KGA totake an early stage clinical product from theirpipeline, put it in DepoVax to enhance it andtake it into the clinic in a better format. Theantigen at Merck KGA, Survivin, was a biomarkerfor cancer that had been the subjectof much scientific literature. Immunovaccinevery quickly developed DPX-Survivac, completingnecessary safety studies and preclinicalwork and getting clearance in the US andCanada to run clinical trials in less than a year.Since December 2011, the product has beenin the Phase 1 trial stage of a Phase 1-2 pro-“When you’re talking about vaccines foraddiction you want to get the body’simmune system to respond as robustlyand as efficiently as possible so what we’retrying to do here is to enhance the benefitof their antigen candidate to get as quickand durable a response as possible.”— John TrizzinoWLaesmThenaheleSoyore14 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


Scan for registration specialsand more information!WHERE BIOBUSINESS HAPPENSJOIN STRATEGIC PARTNERS & INTERNATIONAL LIFE SCIENCES LEADERS IN RIOWith innovation, business and globalization outlining the focus of the 2012 BioPartneringLatin America (BPL) conference, this event is designed to showcase innovation,establish strategic contacts and generate business relationships through face-to-facemeetings and a high level of networking activity.The growth of the bio-economy in Latin America has been led by small and medium sizeenterprises fueled by a confluence of government support, world-class science anda blooming venture capital industry. The regions achievements in human and animalhealth biotechnologies have attracted many investors and multinational companies,leading to an increasing number of partnering deals in the past couple of years.So join us at the 3rd annual BioPartnering Latin America which will enable you andyour company to connect with global life science leaders who are driving growth in theregion. This is where business happens.BRAZIL 2012Hotel Sofitel Copacabana | Rio de Janeiro | 11-13 September 2012www.techvision.com/bpl


INNOVATORStocol. It is being tested at several sites acrossNorth America, targeting patients with ovariancancer. Final data is expected before the endof the year. The company is currently lookinginto partnering opportunities and grant opportunitiesin the U.S. and Canada to movethings forward for the Phase 2 stage. Mansourcites DPX-Survivac as a huge opportunity inimmunotherapy, noting that the company isvery excited about it.Planning to advance their work withinfectious disease applications as well,Immunovaccine is in the midst of a nonhumanprimate challenge study fundedby the National Institutes of Health. Thestudy employs DepoVax as a componentof several bio-defense vaccine candidates.The company is very optimistic that thestudy will result in not only protection butprotection in fewer doses, which would furthervalidate the advantage of the DepoVaxplatform. Trizzino clarifies that protection infewer doses is critically important in regardto pandemics or bio-terror events whenprotective levels of immunity are neededas quickly as possible. The company is alsocurrently working with Weill Cornell MedicalCollege to develop an anti-cocaine vaccine.The aim of the vaccine would be to preventrelapse in people who have overcome addiction.“When you’re talking about vaccinesfor addiction you want to get the body’s immunesystem to respond as robustly and asefficiently as possible so what we’re trying todo here is to enhance the benefit of their antigencandidate to get as quick and durable aresponse as possible,” says Trizzino.Immunovaccine’s business developmentstrategy to maximize the potential of itsbroadly applicable patents by workingwith as many organizations as possible hasbeen yielding dividends. The company wasrecently named best early stage vaccinebiotech at the fifth Vaccine Industry ExcellenceAwards. Trizzino comments that itwas a pleasant and exciting surprise for thecompany, noting it also is a confirmationthat the company’s strategy is working. “Youhave to be very diligent in making sure thatyou are talking to the right people – the right16 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012“In this industry, it’s about getting outthere telling your story, showing thedata. All your successes, everythingis data driven - it’s your success andyour failure.”— Marc Mansourscientists, the right key opinion leaders, theright government agencies, the right nongovernmentorganizations - so that peopleare aware of the technology.” A compellingcase, he says, must be made and repeatedseveral times to get people to pay attention.Immunovaccine has been aggressively makingits case over the past six months andTrizzino attributes the ViE Awards recognitionin large part to these efforts.He also stresses the importance of soundtechnology to achieve success in the field.“The increasing value of a company comesfrom solid clinical data so you’re only able tomove a good biotechnology company alongif you continue to generate good data andgenerating good data gives you an opportunityto invest further in advanced clinicaldevelopment.” Immunovaccine aims to utilizeits foundational platform in as many areas aspossible, collecting stores of strong data tosupport its efficacy. Mansour confirms theneed for solid data. “In this industry, it’s aboutgetting out there telling your story, showingthe data. All your successes, everything is datadriven - it’s your success and your failure.”Future plans see the company advancingvarious programs into clinical trials andcontinuing pre-clinical studies that supportinnovative clinical trial designs. Mansour expoundson the opportunities for Survivin, asit can be applied to many types of cancer andthere are many research avenues to explorewith it before proposing anything for clinicaluse. Specifically within the coming year, Immunovaccine’sgoals are plentiful. They planto advance the development of DPX-0907,announce final data from the DPX-SurvivacPhase 1 trial, and identify partners and fundingopportunities to take DPX-Survivac intoa Phase 2 clinical trial. The company alsoplans to expand its animal health businessinto new indications, announce data from thebio-defense vaccine study, expand its infectiousdiseases vaccine pipeline, and developa Phase 1 clinical trial for one of its infectiousdiseases candidates. Over the next 12 to 18months, the focus will likely be to bring aninfectious disease antigen candidate into theclinic. Immunovaccine is currently looking atseveral opportunities including some of theemerging market tropical diseases that donot currently have an effective vaccine to testwith DepoVax.To advance their technology and perpetuatesuccess, Trizzino stresses the importanceof building the best and brightest team possible,including a dynamic and diverse boardof directors. “You’ve got to have the rightscience minds supporting you both insideand outside of the company, having a strongscientific advisory board, bringing peoplethat are really capable, key opinion leadersto discuss the direction that the company isgoing in.” Since Trizzino came on board inSeptember 2011, his vision of a cohesive,ambitious and experienced team to leveragethe company’s resources has taken shape.The board of directors has seen three newadditions in biotech investment bankerStephanie Léouzon, CEO of OncolyticsBiotech Inc., Brad Thompson, and formerSanofi-Pasteur CEO Wayne Pisano.There may be some expansion into newlocations on the horizon as well. While theroots of Immunovaccine remain in Halifax,Trizzino stresses the need to view the companyas a global entity, leveraging whateverthey can out of Halifax and Dalhousie butalso looking to the U.S., Asia and Europe inorder to build capability and facilitate greatersuccess. He envisions the company havingmore of a physical presence in the U.S. andlikely in Asia as well. For a company whosecore culture champions response and reactionto opportunity, expansion is part of anatural evolution.Assured that Immunovaccine will maximizeevery opportunity that presents itself,embracing diversity and solidifying its reputation,it’s likely they will be making a lot ofnews in the near future. “I think there is alot more to come from Immunovaccine overthe next 12 months,” Trizzino says. We areexcited to see it unfold.For more INNOVATORSinformation visit ourPROFILES Web Portal atwww.bioscienceworld.ca


By Karin FlemingONCOLOGY FEATUREPROGRESSAND PROMISEat the Samuel Lunenfeld ResearchInstitute of Mount Sinai HospitalMillions of Canadians and their families areaffected by cancer—an illness that is not asingle disease, but an enigmatic one comprisedof well over 100 subtypes. The complexityof cancer and its impact on so manypeople has researchers worldwide scouringfor better tools to use against it.Researchers at the Samuel Lunenfeld ResearchInstitute of Mount Sinai Hospital areat the forefront of efforts to understand thegenetic and molecular events underlyingmany types of cancer, as well as identifyingtargets for early detection, understanding theprocess of metastasis, and developing new,personalized therapies.Understanding the geneticbases of cancerSurgeon-scientist Dr. Steve Gallinger, seniorinvestigator and co-director of the Fred A.Litwin Centre for Cancer Genetics, and histeam are working to identify the gene(s)conferring risk for familial pancreatic cancer.“The identification of these genes would bea major breakthrough in understanding thebiologic basis for individuals at increasedrisk of pancreatic cancer, facilitate earlier diagnosisand would help lead to newer, moresophisticated and personalized therapies,”says Dr. Gallinger.Through Dr. Gallinger’s research, a newtechnology called exome sequencing allowsresearchers to develop a detailedmap for the genomes of patients at highrisk of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Gallinger andhis team are currently examining severalpromising genes that may lead to excitingbreakthroughs in generating a genetic roadmap of familial pancreatic cancer.Dr. Irene Andrulis, a molecular biologist,senior investigator and co-director of the FredA. Litwin Centre for Cancer Genetics at theLunenfeld, is world-renowned for her pioneeringwork in hereditary breast cancer. She iscollaborating with researchers internationallywho are conducting genome-wide analysesof genes that impact the risk of breast cancer.For example, Dr. Andrulis’ team is involvedin a study as part of the CIMBAgroup (Consortium of Investigators of Modifiersof BRCA1/2), a collaborative group ofresearchers assessing genetic abnormalitiesand cancer risk—including environmentalfactors—in women who carry the BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic mutation.“We are studying women who carry genesthat increase the risk of breast cancer, to betterunderstand the factors triggering onsetof the disease and, ultimately, finding waysto prevent these triggers,” says Dr. Andrulis.While cancers of the breast and pancreashave a more fully characterized genetic signature,lung cancer is often associated withenvironmental risks, including the knownlink to tobacco smoking. But Dr. RayjeanHung, Lunenfeld Principal Investigator andleading cancer epidemiologist, believes thatunderstanding the epidemiology and genesunderlying lung cancer is becoming increasinglyimportant, as cumulative evidencehas suggested the disease is not exclusivelylinked to smoking but may involve hereditaryrisk factors.Dr. Steve Gallinger“The identification of thesegenes would be a majorbreakthrough in understandingthe biologic basisfor individuals at increasedrisk of pancreatic cancer.”In 2008, Dr. Hung and her team uncovered,for the first time, an important geneticregion associated with lung cancer risk. Sincethis pivotal paper, her research group andothers have identified additional geneticregions linked to an increased susceptibilityto lung cancer, including two loci on chromosome5, as well as genetic variations inchromosome 15.Meanwhile, Dr. Hung’s group is also leadingan effort to apply new statistical modelingto investigate the genetic factors that mayaffect lung cancer survival.The International Lung Cancer Consortium,of which Dr. Hung is scientific coordinator,continues to search for additional lungcancer genetic variants. The Consortium iscurrently conducting combined analyses ofall lung cancer genome-wide data, whichwould be the largest study of its kind for lungcancer genetics.Uncovering the role of DNAdamage and repairLunenfeld Senior Investigator Dr. Daniel Durocheris one of only a handful of researchersThe Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital >Dr. Irene Andrulis“We are studying women whocarry genes that increase the risk ofbreast cancer, to better understandthe factors triggering onset of thedisease and, ultimately, findingways to prevent these triggers.”JULY/AUGUST 2012 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS 17


ONCOLOGYin Canada studying DNA repair mechanismsin the cell. He is investigating how cells effectivelyprotect the integrity of our geneticmaterial and how these systems are inactivatedin cancer.Dr. Durocher and his team discovered thata gene known as RNF8 helps guide BRCA1,a protein that assists in repairing DNA damageand, when mutated, is known to causebreast cancer. By guiding BRCA1 to the sitesof damaged DNA, RNF8 helps ensure thatthe necessary repairs can be orchestrated.More recently, Dr. Durocher and Lunenfeldcolleagues Drs. Anne-Claude Gingrasand Frank Sicheri uncovered pivotal newinformation on how cells regulate theirgenetic material through their research intoa protein called OTUB1, a discovery thatmay lead to the development of strategiesto improve cancer therapies.“In recent years, we have been very goodat finding proteins that are necessary forDNA repair,” says Dr. Durocher. “What wedid not appreciate was that gatekeepersexisted to inhibit the capacity of the cell torepair DNA.”After exposing cells to radiation, Dr. Durocherand his team used RNA interferenceto discover that OTUB1 inhibits a cell’s DNArepair mechanisms, through its role in theprocess of ubiquination.“Perhaps the biggest surprise was thatOTUB1 works by an entirely new andelegant mechanism,” says Dr. Durocher.“Mutations in genes that repair our DNAcan lead to cancer, infertility and immunedeficiency. Therefore, inhibiting the proteinsthat block DNA repair could lead to newtypes of therapeutics for these diseases.”Identifying protein networksand the mechanisms ofcellular communicationLunenfeld senior investigator and internationallyrenowned cancer researcher Dr. JeffWrana’s explorations of the interactions ofhuman proteins, and the complex networkof pathways that lead to illness, has givenscientists and clinicians new opportunitiesfor the diagnoses and treatment of cancer.Dr. Wrana and post-doctoral researcherDr. Ian Taylor developed a new softwareanalysis tool called ‘DyNeMo’ that analyzesbreast cancer tumours and helps physiciansprovide more accurate and individualizeddiagnoses and treatments.“Cancers aren’t diseases of single genes,but a network,” says Dr. Wrana. “Differencesin the way these networks are organized incancers allow us to predict the prognosis ofa newly diagnosed breast cancer patient.”Now Dr. Wrana is working with MountSinai surgeon Dr. Alex Zlotta to apply theDyNeMo software to uro-oncologic cancerssuch as those of the bladder and prostate.“These types of technologies are the futureof cancer diagnostics and prognostics, allowingus to grasp the true nature of a patient’scancer — and ultimately empowering clinicianswith new knowledge about how bestto treat their patients,” says Dr. Wrana.Exploring the role of insulinin the development of cancerSeveral years ago, studies showed thatdiabetics taking metformin — a drug commonlyused to treat type 2 diabetes — wereless likely to develop cancer or succumbto the illness than diabetics who do nottake metformin. Other results of studies inwomen with breast cancer who are waitingfor surgery have shown that the drug mayslow tumour proliferation rates.Dr. Pamela Goodwin, a clinician-scientistat Mount Sinai Hospital and Director of theMarvelle Koffler Breast Centre, is leading thelargest clinical trial worldwide to explore thepotential of metformin to reduce recurrenceand improve survival in women with earlystagebreast cancer.Her earlier research showed that high levelsof insulin associated with obesity encouragetumour growth and make breast cancerrecurrence more likely. Metformin lowersinsulin levels, which is one possible explanationfor its anti-cancer effects.“Tumours don’t exist in isolation. Changingthe patient’s physiology by lowering hernatural insulin level may make her bodymore inhospitable to tumour growth andcan potentially change the outcome of thecancer,” says Dr. Goodwin.In the Phase 3 trial, 3,582 non-diabeticpatients under the age of 75 with early-stagebreast cancer and who have undergonesurgery to remove their tumour, are beingrandomized to receive metformin or placebo.The trial began in 2010, and at interim andfinal endpoints patients will be assessed todetermine the effect of metformin versusplacebo on disease-free survival and overallsurvival.“Metformin may exert its effects on breastcancer via insulin-mediated or insulin-independentmechanisms of action, or both,” saysDr. Goodwin. “It may lower insulin levelsand hence reduce signaling through a keyproliferation pathway in breast cancer cells.Secondly, independent of insulin, metforminmay alter metabolism in mitochondria and> The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital >The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount SiDr. Rayjean HungIn 2008, Dr. Hung and herteam uncovered, for thefirst time, an importantgenetic region associatedwith lung cancer risk.Dr. Daniel Durocher“Mutations in genes that repair ourDNA can lead to cancer, infertilityand immune deficiency. Therefore,inhibiting the proteins that blockDNA repair could lead to new typesof therapeutics for these diseases.”Dr. Jeff Wrana“Differences in the way thesenetworks are organized incancers allow us to predict theprognosis of a newly diagnosedbreast cancer patient.”18 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


ONCOLOGYactivate the enzyme AMP kinase, which disruptsnormal cell proliferation and survival.”Targeting sub-typesof cancerous tumoursNew, less toxic cancer treatments targeted tospecific tumour sub-types in sarcoma are onthe horizon, and clinician-scientists in MountSinai’s Sarcoma Program are breaking newground in this area.A team led by Dr. Rebecca Gladdy, a MountSinai Hospital scientist and surgical oncologistspecializing in soft-tissue sarcomas (cancer ofthe connective tissue), has developed novelcell lines from operative specimens at the hospitalthat can be used to assess the molecularchanges characteristic of different sarcomasubtypes, which will help provide a basis todesign better drug therapies.For example, her team found that combiningdoxorubicin, a standard yet toxicsarcoma chemotherapy regimen, with moreselective drugs (found by screening severalhundred compounds) improves the abilityto kill tumour cells.“In creating a biorepository of sarcoma celllines from operative specimens, we now havea more reliable model to better understandwhat genes are driving sarcoma, which willhelp lead us to the development of more effective,less toxic therapies,” says Dr. Gladdy.New insights into the processof metastasisMetastasis is a complex process wherebycancer cells disengage from the originaltumour, enter the bloodstream, and infiltratehealthy tissue in a new part of the body, inconditions that are initially ‘hostile’ to thetumour cell’s makeup.Mount Sinai surgeon-scientist Dr. CarolSwallow is collaborating with Senior InvestigatorDr. Jim Dennis, whose lab has beenstudying metastasis for over 20 years.Dr. Dennis’ lab isolated a gene calledPlk4, which is implicated in liver cancer andpromotes genome instability, a precursor tocancer progression and metastasis. His teamis using mouse models to study the effectsof Plk4 mutations and the resulting changesin cell metabolism and thus propensity forcancerous growth.But while the basic research in Dr. Dennis’lab is critical to understanding metastasis,it is incomplete without clues from patientsamples and clinical data. That’s where Dr.Swallow’s clinical work and her access to theFamilial Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry, avast database of patient tumour samples frompeople with inherited colorectal cancers,comes into play.“We’re able to identify and analyze genesfrom a patient’s primary tumour, and comparethem to those from metastatic tissue,”says Dr. Swallow. “Few other centres inNorth America have access to such a richsource of research data. What we ascertainfrom the samples will help us give patientsmore individualized treatments, customizedto their specific tumour type.”Dr. Swallow points to successes made todate through this model of research, and saysthat her team has already identified a numberof patients for whom they have clinical dataand tumour samples from the primary lesionand from the metastases that emerged yearslater. “With this information, I can work withDr. Dennis and others at the Lunenfeld to sequenceand analyze gene expression, findingclues that will help us understand how andwhy some of the initial cancer cells spread.”The theory underlying Dr. Swallow’s researchinto Plk4 is that blocking the invasivebehaviour of cancer cells will have morespecific, targeted effects on stopping cancerousgrowth than merely stopping cells fromdividing. Elevated levels of Plk4 (and, conversely,abnormally low levels) are a markerof aggressive tumour behaviour, and thegene is on the cusp of being clinically testedat some centres in Toronto.Dr. Swallow’s team is examining the role ofPlk4 in tumour cell invasion in several cancercell lines. Previous data has shown that thegene promotes the migration and invasionof fibroblasts, and is present in the tips ofcancer cell protrusions. Her group is workingto define the cell signaling cascade of Plk4to understand the hierarchies of the pathwayand its cellular effects.In collaboration with researchers in the labsof Lunenfeld scientists Drs. Tony Pawson andAnne-Claude Gingras, she is also using massspectrometry data to determine other proteinsthat Plk4 interacts with during cell motility.“We are now working to determine the upanddown-stream targets of Plk4 to better definethe signaling cascade, and to determineits interacting proteins,” says Dr. Swallow.Karin Fleming is a Communications Specialistfor research at the Samuel Lunenfeld ResearchInstitute of Mount Sinai HospitalFor more MONOCLONALANTIBODIES RESEARCHinformation visit our DRUGDISCOVERY Web Portal atwww.bioscienceworld.caMount Sinai Hospital >The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital >The Samuel Lunenfeld ResearchDr. Pamela Goodwin“Changing the patient’s physiologyby lowering her natural insulinlevel may make her body moreinhospitable to tumour growthand can potentially change theoutcome of the cancer.”Dr. Rebecca Gladdy“In creating a biorepositoryof sarcoma cell lines fromoperative specimens, we nowhave a more reliable model tobetter understand what genesare driving sarcoma.”Dr. Carol Swallow“We are now working todetermine the up- anddown-stream targets of Plk4to better define the signalingcascade, and to determine itsinteracting proteins.”JULY/AUGUST 2012 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS 19


ACROSS CANADABy: Daniel TessierCanadian TrendsIN GENOMICSFrom research to innovationA shift has recently begun to unfold ingenomics. After a decade of basic researchand discoveries, emphasis is now beingplaced on innovation in applied research, aphenomenon that is evident throughout theWestern world. Two factors explain this shift.First, genomics has attained a critical mass ofknowledge and technologies that make thetransformation of knowledge into applicationspossible. Second, public investors nowexpect genomics to produce tangible socialand economic benefits, which translates intosupport programs increasingly focused onapplied research.Canada is not immune to this trend. Since2008, Genome Canada, the organizationresponsible for developing and implementingCanada’s funding strategy for large-scalegenomics projects, has been proposing primarilyapplied research competitions. Thistrend has also been observed in regionalgenomics centres and in major national andprovincial funding agencies. The prioritytargets for investments in genomics are strategicsectors that offer significant benefitsfor human health, agriculture, environment,forestry, fisheries and the development ofnew technologies. The underlying strategy isto focus efforts in these promising sectors inorder to increase economic and trade returnsfrom research and to facilitate the transfer oftechnologies to companies.Such conditions lead to a swift rise in thepotential of genomics innovation in Canada,a movement expected to gain even moremomentum in the coming years. What arethe trends and issues associated with this innovationpotential? Here is a brief overview.A potential that growsstronger with every dayIn human health, the development of genomics-basedpredicative tests and diagnoses willmultiply. Using the patient’s genetic profile,some tests will target the best preventivemeasures and treatments for personalizedmedicine. Others will identify the geneticcharacteristics of cancerous cells, bacteria orviruses that cause disease in order to determinethe most appropriate treatment. Thesetests will become increasingly easy to use, beit in a doctor’s office or possibly even in thehands of patients themselves. These differenttools will help practitioners and patients makeinformed decisions to determine the besttreatments and measure their effectiveness.Research carriedout by Dr. MichelG. Bergeron, fullprofessor and directorand founderof the InfectiousDisease ResearchCenter (IDRC) atUniversité Laval,readily exemplifiesthe potential ofhealth care applications. Dr. Bergeron’s teamhas created a diagnostic tool in the form ofa compact disk, a kind of miniature lab thatuses DNA-based tests to perform diagnoses.This groundbreaking device allows a physicianto identify a variety of microbes, such asC. difficile, in less than an hour and pinpointtheir antibiotic resistance genes. This applicationstems from research conducted as partof the PRIVAC program, a major competitionfunded by Génome Québec. It was owing toa successful collaboration with Dr. Bergeronthat BD Diagnostic GeneOhm, a moleculardiagnostics company that ranks among theleading developers of rapid assays in detectingand identifying a range of infectiousagents and genetic variants, moved to theQuébec Metro High Tech Park. BD DiagnosticGeneOhm invested $60 million in a manufacturingplant and research centre, and nowemploys 325 people in Québec City.The alliance between Dr. Bergeron’sresearch and the entrepreneurship of BDDiagnostic GeneOhm led to the developmentof a series of tests that is sold today inover 200 hospitals across the United States,Canada, Europe and Asia; this internationaloutreach positions Québec as a world leaderin this sector.In forestry, examplesof promisingapplications aresimilarly compelling.For instance,support is beingprovided to developtools that willhelp better managethe sustainabledevelopmentof our forests. Professor John MacKay,researcher in forest genomics at UniversitéLaval, has embarked on one of the mostimportant Canadian initiatives ever undertakenin forest genomics in the country,SMarTForest, which he heads jointly withJörg Bohlmann from the University of BritishColumbia.The goal of SMarTForest is to developgenomics tools that will be used to select,from populations of white, black, Sitkaand Norway spruce, the specific seedlingswhose genetic characteristics are associatedwith superior phenotypes in terms of rapidgrowth, better wood quality and greater insectresistance. These tools will allow for therapid identification of the highest performing20 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


ACROSS CANADAseedlings for reforestation, while respectingboth the requirements of the forest industryand the need to protect the genetic diversityof the species. In short, the work ProfessorMacKay and his collaborators are doing willbe contributing to the sustainable developmentof our forests and the vitality of thiskey sector of the Canadian economy.Genomics has given rise to many emergingbiological solutions in the environmentalsector. These green solutions give governmentsand businesses the opportunity tomake more cost-effective choices for theindustry, while ensuring the sustainability ofnatural resources.The work of Dr.Adrian Tsang,professor of biologyat ConcordiaUniversity, and histeam is aimed inthis direction, as itinvolves the studyof genes of certainfungi that couldpave the way fora solution to the shortage of fossil fuel. Theteam sequences and analyzes fungal DNA tounderstand its structure and how it works inorder to develop innovative technology. Theacquired knowledge would enable them tocreate processes that reduce the use of chemicalproducts derived from oil in the industry,but above all, to convert wood waste intobioethanol, a clean fuel. The applications ofthis work have the advantage of significantlyreducing the cost of energy production andmaking it more environmentally friendly.In agriculture and fisheries, genomics canalso be used to improve stock management.The selection of genetic traits that, forinstance, make certain males better breedersor certain females better carriers would leadto more efficient animal reproduction.As far as aquaculture is concerned, takethe formation of delimited natural pools inthe ocean, which can cause density problemsamong fish populations. In such cases,the various parasites or bacteria specific tothese species should be identified; this iswhere genomics comes in. It can be usedto select certain species or sub-species thatwill reproduce faster and whose meat ismore tender and less fatty. These differentcharacteristics in fish populations, includinglobster, are not only of great economic interest,but also come into play in the health ofthese populations, the environment and thequality of our fish consumption.Many researchers and producers havelearned from these experiences in aquaculture;this is why they now want to usegenomics to identify various species andindividuals in order to target good spawners.Although some fishing areas are verywell characterized, scientists who are usinggenomics tools more and more are now ableto characterize populations and see howthey migrate. This knowledge could be usedto avoid overfishing in certain regions wherethe reproductive potential of fish is lower.Barriers to overcomeThere are, however, some barriers to appliedresearch. They are generally two-fold: regulationsand social acceptance.Regulations in the health genomics sectorare designed to regulate innovative medicaland technological practices. The need forthese regulations emerged in the past decadein light of the social and legal consequencesof changing medical practices. Canada is nottrailing in this area, quite the opposite in fact.It is important to bear in mind that regulationsrelating to human health are generallymore stringent than those on animal health,agriculture or fisheries. Although it is not anobstacle to the development of genomic applicationsin health, it is a greater challengethan in other sectors, hence the importanceof working with this type of oversight.Another barrier to consider is social acceptance,which arises from the integrationof new applications within society. Whenwe consider the development potential ofconsumer products, for instance, the publicinterest must be preserved and remain aconstant concern. The goal is to maximizethe benefits genomics has to offer and minimizethe risks associated with the introductionof certain products and services. Publicopinion is always a key criterion where applicationin society is concerned.Social acceptance is as much an issueamong the general public as it is in theindustry and among practitioners; all thesecategories of users must be considered whenadopting innovation-driven applications sothat they can be integrated into daily life.The health sector is of particular significance.Today’s doctors are not always ableto read a genetic profile or a DNA sequenceto interpret the results so they can prescribemedication or propose treatment. There iscurrently a sizeable gap between the massiveamount of data being produced inhealth genomics and the clinicians’ ability tointerpret it accurately. If the clinician doesnot have the required qualifications, it willtake special tools, from bioinformatics tovisualization, for a faster and more effectivedecision to be made. The percentage oftrial-and-error will no doubt drop as soon asthe level of knowledge about these applicationsand their adoption by users increases.The ability to be able to prescribe the rightmedication at the right dose for the rightpatient remains one of the main challengesof personalized medicine.Even if the coming years are spent developingtools to help clinicians in theirdecision-making, it will not be without theintroduction of genomics in medical schools.This is an inevitable adaptation in medicaltraining that can only be contemplated inthe long-term.Working in synergy fora competitive futureNo matter the scope of application, endusersare key to developing the full potentialof applied research in genomics. Businesses,industry and foundations must all gear theiractions towards commercialization becausethat is where their strength lies. This is notusually the case with researchers, whosefocus is on discovery. But a new synergyseems to be taking shape in this regard,as much within the research communityas within the economic sector and amongpolicymakers.Only with such synergy will genomics beable to start emerging as a true force capableof stimulating major business sectors. It isthere to provide the tools and solutionsto real issues for improving practices andstrengthening the competitiveness of oureconomy, now and in the future.Daniel Tessier has worked for the National ResearchCouncil (NRC) Biotechnology ResearchInstitute for 19 years. His work in genetics, proteinengineering, new technology implementation,including the NRC’s pan-Canadian microarrayplatform and biosensors for the privatesector, has resulted in over 40 published articles.Mr. Tessier holds a Master’s in Microbiology andImmunology from McGill University. He hasworked as Senior Director, Operations and BusinessDevelopment for the McGill University andGénome Québec Innovation Centre since 2005,where he oversees a team of 65 employees.For more ACROSS CANADAinformation visit ourPROFILES Web Portal atwww.bioscienceworld.ca22 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


By Blake DillonSPOTLIGHTMcMaster Universityresearchers discover drug destroys humancancer stem cells but not healthy onesImagine having access to a cancer-fightingtreatment that doesn’t come with the toxicside effects of conventional treatments, likechemotherapy or radiation. Thanks to MickBhatia and a team of researchers at theMcMaster Stem Cell and Cancer ResearchInstitute, we’re on the brink of exactly that.Bhatia, alongside his team of scientists,has discovered that the drug known asthioridazine can successfully kill cancer stemcells while leaving the normal, healthy cellsrelatively unscathed. However, for Bhatia,that’s not even the most intriguing part ofthe discovery.“The unusual aspect of our finding is theway this human-ready drug actually killscancer stem cells by inducing differentiation,”he says. “It changes them into cells thatare non-cancerous.”The research was published in the May 24,2012 issue of the science journal CELL.The innovation is the next step in Ontario’srole in the discovery of the link betweencancer and stem cells. It was back in 1997that researchers at the University of Torontofirst discovered cancer stem cells in certaintypes of leukemia. Today, they’ve beenidentified in blood, breast, brain, lung, gastrointestinal,prostate, and ovarian cancers.Bhatia, as the principal investigator forthe study and the scientific director of theMcMaster Stem Cell and Cancer ResearchInstitute of the Michael G. DeGroote Schoolof Medicine, believes the new finding holdsthe promise of bringing to life a new strategyand discovery pipeline for the developmentof anti-cancer drugs in the treatment of variouscancers. In fact, the team has identifiedanother dozen drugs that have good potentialfor a similar response.To flesh out the promise, McMaster researchershave already pioneered a fullyautomated robotic system to identify severaldrugs, including thioridazine, and their effectsnot only on cancerous stem cells, buton normal ones as well.“Now we can test thousands of compounds,”Bhatia says. “Eventually, we’ll beNew business venture tocommercialize stem celltechnologiesMcMaster University andActium Research Inc. havesigned an agreement that will allowActium to address the need for betterdrugs targeting cancer stem cellsand regenerative medicine.Mick Bhatia and Jennifer Russell talk while running an assay withthe CGD (Cell Growth and Discovery) WorkCell.Scientific director of the McMasterStem Cell and Cancer Research Institute(SCCRI) Mick Bhatia says theagreement, which covers McMaster’sproprietary human stem celllines, cancer stem cells and platformsdeveloped by SCCRI researchers, isexactly what’s needed to acceleratethe movement of his team’s researchdiscoveries into the marketplace.Actium Research Inc. is a drugdiscovery and development companytargeting both cancer stemcells to improve survival and healthoutcomes, and normal tissue stemcells to promote healing and helpdiscover cures in chronic disease.It was founded by David Young andHelen Findlay – the same duo whofounded ARIUS Research Inc. – oneof Canada’s most successful biotechcompanies. Bhatia has been namedActium’s founding scientific director.More at: actiumresearch.comJULY/AUGUST 2012 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS 23


SPOTLIGHTPostdoctoral Fellow, Eva Szabo andResearch Technician, Monica Graham ofthe Bhatia Lab in the McMaster Stem Celland Cancer Research Institute, visuallyanalyzing the protein expression patternobserved on a Western Blot filmMcMaster University is home to a world-class stem celland cancer research instituteThe McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute (SCCRI), establishedin 2006, is now home to 70 scientists studying stem cell biologywith a unique focus on human stem cells which is core to its translationalresearch efforts.Housed in the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery onMcMaster University’s campus, the 15,000 square-foot suite of laboratoriesincludes the Braley Centre for Automated Stem Cell Screening and DrugDiscovery, which is a centre focused on the exploitation of unique stem cellproperties and cutting edge proprietary technology to propel drug discoveryand the advancement of regenerative medicine.SCCRI researchers continue to make discoveries that pave the way formedical advances. A few examples of that work include: and scientific communities by storm when he and his team discoveredhow to make human blood out of human skin. The findings, publishedin the prestigious science journal Nature, mean that, in the very nearfuture, people needing blood for surgery, cancer treatment, or other bloodconditions will be able to have blood created exclusively for them, fromthem. Clinical trials are expected to begin this year. controls the ability of mouse embryonic stem cells to differentiate intovarious new types of specialized cells such as neurons. Featured on thecover of Cell Stem Cell, the researchers believe the newly discoveredproperties of beta-catenin will have important implications for cancer,because it is frequently found mutated in several types of human cancer. ability to become any cell type in the human body, but when it comes totheir destination, they know exactly where they want to go. Publishedin the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell, the researchers shed new light onhow these regenerative cells turn into more specialized cell types, suchas neural or blood cells. Until then, the thought was stem cells kept alltheir options open when it came to becoming more specialized. Theresults opened the door to tailoring stem cells and improving their abilityfor tissue and organ regeneration.Check out sccri.mcmaster.ca for more discoveriesable to define a candidate drug that has littleeffect on normal stem cells but kills the cellsthat start the tumour.”Once that’s been established, Bhatiasays the next step is to test thioridazine inclinical trials, focusing on patients with acutemyeloid leukemia whose symptoms haverelapsed after chemotherapy. He wants todetermine whether or not, by targeting cancerstem cells – the root of the problem – thedrug can prevent the cancer from comingback.The wheels are already in motion. Bhatia’steam at McMaster has found that thioridazineworks through the dopamine receptoron the surface of the cancer cells in bothleukemia and breast cancer patients. Thismeans that it may be possible to use it as abiomarker that would allow early detectionand treatment of breast cancer and earlysigns of leukemia progression too.The team’s next steps will be to investigatethe effectiveness of the drug in othercancers; explore several other drugs identifiedalong with thioridazine; and begin toanalyze thousands of other compoundsusing McMaster’s robotic stem cell screeningsystem – the latter, in partnership withacademic groups as well as industry.“The goal for all of the partners is thesame,” Bhatia says. “We all want to findunique drugs that will change the way wetackle and treat cancer.”The research was funded by the OntarioConsortium of Regenerating inducing Therapeutics(OCRiT), which is an arm of Ontario’sMinistry of Economic Developmentand Innovation, the Canadian Institutes ofHealth Research, the Canadian Cancer ResearchInstitute, and private donors. Bhatiasays such a large scale research endeavourwould have been impossible without theirsupport and vision.For more ACROSS CANADAinformation visit ourPROFILES Web Portal atwww.bioscienceworld.ca24 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


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NEW PRODUCTSE-Chip The RheoSense Inc. E chipexpands the range of viscosity measurementswith significantly greater shear rates.Mounted on the m-VROC viscometer, the Echip attains 2,000,000 1/s measurementsof water-like viscosity or 1,000,000 1/s forvarious injket inks (~ 4 mPas). Industrialprocesses such as inkjetting, coating, printingand injection include high shear flows.Paper coating, inkjetting, and engine lubricationengage shear rates over 1,000,0001/s. Using the E chip eliminates the onsetof early turbulence. The well-defined,micro-fabricated uniform flow channel ofthe E chip maintains the laminar flow athigh shear rates, producing accurate measurements.This viscosity measurement isfacilitated by the higher full scale pressureof the chip.Web: www.rheosense.comPumps The Harvard Apparatus PHD UL-TRA 4400 Syringe Pump delivers more than200 lbs linear pumping force with accurateand smooth flow from 3.06 pl/min to 215.8ml/min. It is offered in stand alone, remote,satellite and OEM models. The PHD Ultra4400 includes colour LCD touch screenwith icon interface. Users can Easily create,save and run simple to complex methodswithout a PC. It also offers flexibility in connectivitywith a footswitch input, USB serialport, RS-485 ports for daisy chaining anda digital I/O. Optional RS-232 (RJ-11) portsavailableWeb: www.HarvardApparatus.com26 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012Sensors The Mettler Toledo FlowIRTMHigh Pressure (HP) sensors for use withFlowIRTM. FlowIRTM is a small, dedicatedFourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy(FTIR) instrument that offers real-timeflow chemistry monitoring nearlyanywhere within a continuous reactorsetup. Its HP Sensors expand the use offlow chemistry by allowing users to gainthe enhanced control of critical processparameters provided by FlowIRTM in highpressureexperiments. Benefits includefaster experiment optimization, easierlab-to-plant scaling, reduced costs, andshorter time-to-market. InterchangeableFlowIRTM HP Sensors, available in both Di-Comp and SiComp models, allow chemistsworking with high pressure experimentsto quickly and easily swap sensor typesto meet the needs of the current application.The new models can be trustedunder pressures up to 50bar (725psi)and temperatures up to 120°C. No extraequipment or setup is required to use thenew sensors. Users simply substitute thehigh-pressure version for the standardFlowIRTM sensor, gaining the same performance,optical window, chemical compatibility,and flow characteristics they enjoywith the standard sensor.Web: www.mt.com/flowirElectrofusion The Hybrimune® isthe newest addition to the BTX line ofelectrofusion systems. The Hybrimune®is an advanced pulse generator capable ofdelivering variable AC pulse frequencies;utilizing patented technology to enhancethe alignment of cells in large volumes- upto 9 mls in one run. Researchers performingmonoclonal antibody production canachieve the highest efficiencies in scalablethroughputs (up to 180 million cells fusedin milliseconds). Published data demonstratesthat Hybrimune® technology canyield 10–20X greater antigen+ specificclones compared to PEG.Web: www.btxonline.comPumps Supercritical Fluid Technologies,Inc. introduces the completely selfcontainedSFT-10 Liquid Carbon DioxidePump. The SFT-10 pump can pressurizecarbon dioxide up to 10,000 psi (69 MPa)at flow rates from 0.01 to 24.0 ml/min.These characteristics make the SFT-10 anideal pump for use in supercritical fluidextraction as well as a variety of otherhigh pressure applications, includingsupercritical fluid reaction chemistryand chromatography. The SFT-10 utilizesreliable, dual sapphire syringe pump technologyto achieve high pressures rapidlywhile its Peltier chiller has superior coolingcapability. It maintains the temperatureat the pump heads low enough to ensurethe carbon dioxide remains liquid. TheSFT-10 may be acquired as a stand aloneCO2 pump or used as part of SupercriticalFluid Technologies’ SFT-100 / SFT-100XWSupercritical Fluid Extractors.Web: www.supercriticalfluids.comColumns Phenomenex Inc introducesYarra, a new family of aqueous size exclusionchromatography (SEC) columns forbiomolecule analysis. Yarra columns areoffered in three phases with 3-micronparticles, and are ideal for the separationof small to large proteins and peptides,as well as biological therapeutics andbiosimilars. Its proprietary hydrophilicsurface chemistry ensures high resolutionand minimal absorption of proteinsfor accurate quantitation. They are alsohighly reproducible, column-to-columnand batch-to-batch. The lifetime of Yarracolumns can be further extended with theSecurityGuard column protection system.Phenomenex offers complete online applicationand method development andoptimization support for the new product.Web: www.phenomenex.com


Chambers Sheldon Manufacturing,Inc. introduces the SHEL LAB BactroxChamber, the latest addition to its lineof anaerobic chambers. The Bactrox isideal for stem cell research, mammaliancancer research and clinical and researchmicrobiology. It offers precise oxygen andcarbon dioxide control from 1 to 20 percent. Removal of cultures from the incubatordoes not require exposure of cellsto undesirable oxygen or carbon dioxidelevels. The unit’s advanced atmosphericcontroller allows for the use of a highly accurateand long-lasting zirconium dioxideoxygen sensor, with independent oxygenand carbon dioxide control and logging.High Throughput Developed byUnion Biometrica, Inc., the Copas Plusis suitable for high-throughput analysisand sorting of human induced pluripotentstem cell (hiPS) clusters using largeparticle flow cytometry. Union Biometrica’slarge particle flow cytometers allowthe analysis and sorting of intact hiPS cellclusters from a complex mixture of varyingsizes based on size, optical density andfluorescent parameters. This process isgentle and does not influence the morphologyor viability compared to manuallysorted cell clusters.Web: www.unionbio.comNEW PRODUCTSProbes Omega introduces its new pHand ORP differential probes that stay inservice and provide accurate measurementsunder conditions that often renderconventional pH probes inoperable. Theseprobes feature integral 2-wire 4 to 20mA transmitter, a built-in pre-amp thatsupports up to 914mm (3000’) sensor-toanalyzerdistance, 4.6 m (15’) standardcable length and automatic temperaturecompensation on pH versions. Applicationsinclude: process control, industrialand municipal water treatment, food andbeverage, chemical processing, and miningand power generation.Web: www.omega.caSRC101I wish to receive/continue to receive a complimentary subscription toBIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS Yes NoFormat Preference: print digital bothSignature:____________________________________Date: ___________________________Name:_________________________________Title: ____________________________________Company: ______________________________Dept: ___________________________________The Bactrox also has a standalone 300plate incubator so users can comfortablywork without gloves in ambient roomconditions. To minimize set-up time, theBactrox includes an extra- large vacuumlesssample pass box that takes onlysixty seconds to purge. The new designprovides a vacuum-less sleeve entry intothe chamber. Other features of this unitinclude temperature control and logging,superior condensation control, and ultrabright LED examination lights inside thechamber.Web: www.shellab.comBusiness Address : _______________________________________________________________City:_____________________________Prov: __________Postal Code: ____________________Telephone: ___________________________Fax: ______________________________________E-mail: ________________________________________________________________________On occasion, BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS will send third-party information on products & services related to the lab and lifescience industries. These may be cancelled at any time. Please check here if you do NOT wish to receive these.TITLE50 Executive Mgmt.51 Academic Research52 Quality Control/Assurance53 R&D Mgmt.54 Lawyer55 StudentCOMPANYs PRIMARYBUSINESS ACTIVITY50 Private Industry51 University/College52 Hospital/Medical Centre53 Research Institute/FoundationC86 Buying Influence56 Financial Management57 Business/Corporate Development58 Consultant59 Lab Technician/Research Assistant60 Sales/Marketing61 Regulatory Affairs/Validation99 Other (Specify):______________________54 Pharmaceutical Co.55 Government56 Financial Services99 Other (Specify):______________________A Authorize B Recommend C SpecifyC87 Which products are used in your lab?A Analysis InstrumentsB Basic Lab EquipmentC Chemicals/BiochemicalsD Chromatography – GasE Chromatography – LiquidF Filtration, Water PurificationG LIMSC88 Product Development Stage (check all that apply)A Research/DevelopmentB Pilot/ScaleupH Liquid Handling & Sample PrepI Microscopes, Optics, CamerasJ Safety & HygieneK SpectroscopyL Testing Systems/EquipmentM Vacuum EquipmentY None of the AboveC Production/ManufacturingD Tech TransferE Not applicablePLEASE ENTER THE READER SERVICE CARD NUMBERTO RECEIVE INFORMATIONC89 Are you building a new lab? Yes NoC90 We have the following enewsletters:Numbers for advertised products can be found on the adand in the advertisers’ index1 Biotechnology Focus Weekly2 Laboratory focus Weekly3 Drug Discovery4 Commercialization5 Bio-energy6 Nutritional ProductsFor a quick response please fax: 905-727-4428 or e-mail: circulation@promotive.netJULY/AUGUST 2012 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS 27


CALENDARAUGUSTAugust 4-82012 APS Annual MeetingVenue: Providence, RITel: 651-454-7250Fax: 651-454-0766Email: aps@scisoc.orgWeb: www.apsnet.orgAugust 5-9Protein Society 26th Annual SymposiumVenue: San Diego, CATel: 301-634-7277Fax: 301-634-7271Email: cyablonski@proteinsociety.orgWeb: www.proteinsociety.orgAugust 7-9ICNFA 2012: 3rd International Conference onNanotechnology: Fundamentals andApplicationsVenue: Montreal, QCTel: 613-695-3040Fax: 613-695-3040Email: administrator@international-aset.comWeb: www.international-aset.com/index.htmlAugust 15-17ICMEM 2012:International Conference onMechanical Engineering and MechatronicsVenue: Ottawa, ONTel: 613-6953040Email: administrator@international-aset.comWeb: www.international-aset.com/index.htmlAugust 18-22IFBLS 30th World CongressVenue: Potsdam-Berlin, GermanyTel: 905-528-8642 Ext. 31Fax: 905-528-4968Email: communications@ifbls.orgWeb: www.ifbls.orgAugust 19-23244th ACS National Meeting & ExpositionVenue: Philadelphia, PATel: 202-872-6061Email: nationalmeetings@acs.orgWeb: www.acs.orgAugust 27-30World Cancer Congress 2012Venue: Montreal, QuebecTel: +41 22 809 1811Email: congress@uicc.orgWeb: www.worldcancercongress.orgAugust 28-30ICEPR 2012:2nd International Conference onEnvironmental Pollution and RemediationVenue: Montreal, QuebecTel: 613-695-3040Email: administrator@international-aset.comWeb: www.international-aset.com/index.htmlSEPTEMBERSeptember 2-6ABIC 2012 in New Zealand: Adapting to aChanging WorldVenue: Rotorua, New ZealandTel: 306-955-5059Email: abicfoundation@abic.caWeb: http://www.abic2012.com/abic2012/index.cfmSeptember 10-1113th International Conference on Alzheimer’sDrug DiscoveryVenue: Jersey City, NJWeb: www.worldeventsforum.com/addf/addrugdiscoverySeptember 10-13Innovations in Biomedical MaterialsVenue: Raleigh, NCTel: 614-794-5829Fax: 614-794-5882Email: mmecklenborg@ceramics.orgWeb: http://ceramics.org28 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012COMPANY & ADVERTISER INDEXCOMPANY PAGE WEBSITEAlbertatBay ..............................................................................................................25 ..........................................................................................www.albertatbay.comAeterna Zentaris .......................................................................................... 6 ........................................................................................www.aezsinc.comAmorfix Life Sciences Ltd. ........................................................................... 10 ...................................................................................... www.amorfix.comBiopartnering Europe ............................................................................................31 ................................................................................. www.techvision.com/bpfeBiopartnering Latin America ................................................................................15 .................................................................................... www.techvision.com/bplCentre for Drug Research and Development ............................................... 9 ................................................................................................www.cdrd.caChildren’s Miracle Network ...................................................................................9 ......................................................................www.childrensmiraclenetwork.caEli Lilly and Company ................................................................................... 9 .................................................................................................. www.lilly.caEppendorf ................................................................................................................32 ........................................................................................... www.eppendorf.comErnst & Young ............................................................................................. 10 ............................................................................................... www.ey.comFluorinov Pharma Inc. .................................................................................. 6 ........................................................................ www.fluorinovpharma.comGlaxoSmithKline Inc. .................................................................................... 9 ..................................................................................................www.gsk.caImmunovaccine Inc. .................................................................................... 6 ....................................................................................www.imvaccine.comInternational Conference on Systems Biology ..................................................7 .................................................................................. www.icsb2012toronto.comMaRS Innovation .......................................................................................... 8 .......................................................................... www.marsinnovation.comOICR .......................................................................................................................... 5,6 ...................................................................................................... www.oicr.on.caOncolytics Biotech Inc. ................................................................................ 6 ....................................................................... www.oncolyticsbiotech.comOntario Brain Institute ................................................................................. 8 ..................................................................................www.braininstitute.caPfizer Canada ............................................................................................... 8 .............................................................................................. www.pfizer.caPrometic Life Sciences Inc. ......................................................................... 10 .................................................................................... www.prometic.comQuebec Consortium for Drug Discovery ................................................... 8, 10 ......................................................................................... www.cqdm.orgTeralys Capital .............................................................................................. 9 ...............................................................................www.teralyscapital.comValeant Pharmaceuticals International ....................................................... 10 ............................................................................www.valeantcanada.comVWR ............................................................................................................................2 ......................................................................................................... www.vwr.comWyvern Scientific ....................................................................................................21 ............................................................................................ www.wyvernsci.com


WE’VE GONE GREEN!Get all the latest news and information about the Canadian bioscience industry from our digital editionof Biotechnology Focus!BiotechnologyFocusIncludes: bonus interactive features allows you to instantly sende-mail responses to our writers,companies and vendorsFast loading,easy-to-navigateand easy-to-read! search the issue for topics ofinterest visit websites listed within thepublication brings you more informationthan the printed copycaSubscription to Biotechnology Focus digital edition is FREEVisit – www.bioscienceworld.ca/bioindustrysubscription


12bpTHE LAST WORDBy Dr. Murray McLaughlinTHE FOSTERINGOF A CLUSTERCreating an Innovative RegionDr. MurrayMcLaughlin,President &CEO,SustainableChemistry AllianceSarnia has been a cluster in the area of petrochemicalsfor well over 100 years and has benefited exceptionallyfrom that cluster and the collaboration between the publicand private sector.However, as the petroleum industry has consolidated,reduced its research efforts locally, and centralized globally,Sarnia is now production focused for petroleum.Recognizing this change, the Sarnia-Lambton communitydesigned a bold plan to get the cluster on trackfor the 21st century. They brought together all the keypeople from the public, private, non-profit organizationsand academic areas to assess the situation and ensurethe cluster is continued with the right focus on creativityand innovation.Approximately 10 years ago, Sarnia-Lambton ran a seriesof meetings with the purpose of looking at the futureof a successful cluster. The outcome of these sessionswas that in order to maintain the cluster there was a needto shift the focus. An emphasis on green and sustainabletechnologies that could benefit from partnering with thechemical/petroleum industry was the direction of theplan with the decision to build an innovative cluster. Thecommunity came together to ensure a focus on innovationand commercialization of technologies that couldpossibly enhance the local petroleum industry - be it newtechnologies, new partners or innovation that enhancessustainability.In addition the local industry, the Sarnia-Lambtoncommunity created increased relations with WesternUniversity and Lambton College. They established a ResearchPark in Sarnia with research and pilot capabilitiesfor green technologies at the Bioindustrial InnovationCentre (BIC). BIC as a non-profit was supported with a$15 million grant from the Centre of Excellence for Com-mercialization and Research (CECR), a federal governmentprogram managed by the NSERC program, BIC wasorganized into two support entities - The Research/Pilotfacility (BIC) and Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (SCA).SCA was established as a standalone non-profit focusedon investments in green and sustainable technologiesthat are moving to demonstration phase. To date SCAhas 11 investments in its portfolio that generate jobs,collaboration and build on cluster development. Threeof these investments have located in the Sarnia cluster.A key driver is the cross-sector network activity inSarnia-Lambton with government, university/college,non-profit organizations and businesses. This has leadto a true collaboration effort that restarts and reinforcesthe cluster and is a key part of the Michael Porter clusterprescription. (Michael Porter developed the originalcluster concept.)What drives the cluster? First of all, businesses needto provide the economic engine. They provide a largeportion of the capital and drive innovation to maintainsuccess. Sarnia-Lambton is seeing businesses step up,and new ones are being established. Why? Over the pastfew years Sarnia-Lambton has formed a common culturethat welcomes innovation.The whole shift to a new cluster focus has resultedin establishing an engine of sustainable innovation andeconomic growth for Sarnia-Lambton.@Got something to say?Please send your comments/letters tobiotechnology_focus@promotive.net30 BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS JULY/AUGUST 2012


Complete PipettingFrom pipettes to calibration to automationThe Eppendorf complete liquid > Eppendorf liquid handling productshandling solution offers your lab a meet the highest needs for precision,single solution for the superior quality ergonomics and robustnesstips, calibration services and liquid > Eppendorf offers a variety of tipshandling products, from manual in the purity grade your lab needspipettes all the way to automation. > Eppendorf also offers calibrationservices for all Eppendorf andnon-Eppendorf brand pipetteswww.eppendorf.caENA.A1.0157.A © 2012 Eppendorf AG.CENA.A1.0157.A.CA-BFO.indd 16/18/12 10:30 AM

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