More Than Engaging with Government – Let’s Work Together

Vancouver, B.C., November 7, 2017 On November 2, 2017, I had the pleasure and opportunity to represent LifeSciences BC board, together with Nancy Harrison, Chair, Board of Directors, Dr. Lesley Esford, President & CEO, along with other board members, Dr. Pieter Cullis and Scott Phillips. Our visit included breakfast with the NDP caucus and lunch with the Liberal caucus, where Dr. Esford presented an overview of the life sciences sector in B.C. What we shared with government were several impressive and enlightening facts: There are 450 life science companies in B.C. Vancouver is rated as “Best City in the World” to start a new Business by CityUp Index and was rated by as the “#1 Best Startup Ecosystem” by Startup Genome to support entrepreneurs and raise seed rounds in Canada. B.C. is the only province in Canada, to develop and launch several novel products generating billions of dollars in cumulative revenue. Reflecting that B.C.’s life science companies have a track record of taking blockbuster products with historic regularity, from idea to market.A few of these products are: Visudyne® by QLT Taxus® by Agniotech Mozobil® by Anormed Vyxeos®, developed by Celator (recently acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals) and soon to be launched. B.C. is the only province and Vancouver one of the few cities in North America, except Boston and San Francisco, with three companies, Zymeworks, Innovative Targeting Solutions and Abcellera, signing global partnerships with 15 of the world’s largest global pharma companies, worth billions of dollars. In 2017, B.C. had the largest IPO in recent Canadian Biotech History when Zymeworks raised $80M. Several other companies including Aurinia, Arbutus and Aquinox...

How Trump Presidency and BREXIT Are Creating the Perfect Storm for Reversing Canada’s Brain Drain

Historically Canada has faced a significant challenge in attracting top talent compared to the United States and retaining top talent already in Canada. Until recently, top entrepreneurs would often choose to start their next big idea in the US, for several reasons, including: Better access to capital Better access to talent Lower income taxes The results of the 2016 presidential election and BREXIT have changed this. For the first time, some of the top US, UK and international executives and entrepreneurs are considering relocation to Canada. Canada offers the following first class resources: Friendly and easy business regulation Top notch basic science from world class universities Lower corporate income tax Significant government R&D incentives designed for start ups such as SRED, IRAP and Mitacs Provincial incentives for investors (Angels and Venture Capitals) to invest in early stage companies and most importantly, a progressive open minded government that is in tune with the need for change in the 21st century. This January 28, 2017 article from Globe & Mail quoted several global technology leaders including Google, Netflix and Uber CEO expressing concern about top talent leaving US. At Novateur, we have been addressing the shortage of experienced pharma talent by matching the best global advisors to Canadian biotech and pharma Companies. Since the US election, several of our most sought after US based advisors have expressed genuine interest in relocating to Canada. We are delighted to announce that as of April 1, Dr. Gina Stetsko, a world-class biotechnology expert in CMC Manufacturing and process scale up has relocated from San Diego to Vancouver and joined Novateur as a full time...

Trends at the FDA in Medical Device Approvals

Dr. Carol Stephens delivered a speech at the LifeSciences BC McCarthy Spotlight Speaking Series event in Vancouver, BC on November 17, 2016. The speech was focused on the trends at the Food and Drug Administration regarding medical device approvals.   View and download the full presentation View and download the full presentation About the Author Dr. Carol Stephens has 28 years of experience in drug development and support with focus on regulatory planning, negotiation, execution, and compliance. In her spare time she likes to design new gardens, spoil her dog Moxie, and travel with her...

Trends at the FDA in Drug Approvals

Dr. Thomas Stephens delivered a speech at the LifeSciences BC McCarthy Spotlight Speaking Series event in Vancouver, BC on November 17, 2016. The speech was focused on the trends at the Food and Drug Administration regarding drug approvals.   View and download the full presentation View and download the full presentation   About the Author Thomas W. Stephens, Ph.D. has 28 years of pharmaceutical development preceded by 12 years of in vitro diagnostic experience with emphasis in research, regulatory, project management and administration. In his spare time Tom pursue various interests including astrophotography, underwater photography, swimming, gardening and...

Expanding in a Restricting World: Value Added Medicine

In every jurisdiction across the globe, spending in healthcare is under fire and medical interventions whether biopharmaceuticals or medical devices, appear at the epicenter. Many countries/provinces have been asked to limit any increase on their budget or find savings overall. Funding of medical interventions has been shifting in recent years to more of a commodity approach for many areas with it being difficult to demonstrate value behind incremental innovation. An additional challenge is the opposing force between policy makers and innovative researchers – both of whom have the ultimate goal of improved health and outcomes for patients. Over the last 15-20 years, the healthcare space has undergone tremendous growth and expansion through innovation and research. However, yesterday’s innovation is today’s commodity. HIV/AIDS in the 80’s was a breakthrough disease that had policy makers shifting their spend not only to innovative research and treatment but also to a change in infrastructure to accommodate the acute treatment of a disease that is now treated as a chronic condition mostly with medications off patent. Other more common illnesses have seen incremental innovation to address population health issues such as depression, type II diabetes, Crohn’s disease to name a few. Through this incremental innovation, disease states once treated at a high cost due to the limited treatment options and interventions, have become ones with multiple therapeutic choices with significant price decreases due to market saturation and loss of patent exclusivity. Specialized Treatments Fast forward to today where treatments are becoming highly specialized and the opportunity for incremental innovation correspondingly more complex and targeted. In doing so, we have numerous examples of breakthrough medications...