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LifeSciences BC Announces Recipients of the 2012 LifeSciences British Columbia Awards

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 11:45pm
The Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 8, 2012-- LifeSciences BC is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 LifeSciences British Columbia Awards. They are: Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence Dr. Neil Cashman, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Innovation and Achievement Award Dr. Tim Durance, Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO, EnWave Corporation Leadership Award Dr. Bruce M. McManus, Director, NCE CECR Centre of Excellence for Prevention of Organ Failure, University of British Columbia Medical Device Company of the Year Neovasc Inc.

Dr. Don Rix Award for Lifetime Achievement Dr. Ian de la Roche, Adjunct Professor, Forest Resource Management, University of British Columbia These awards are presented annually to recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the development of British Columbia's life sciences industry.

"This year's award winners are outstanding," says Don Enns, President of LifeSciences BC. "British Columbia has some great leaders in biotech, and the four individuals and one company selected for these awards are incredible innovators. Our sector is world-class, and these winners represent significant achievements resulting in economic growth for B.C." This year's theme, "Create. Connect. Converge." is meant to demonstrate how today's researchers and business leaders are creating and connecting locally and globally. Science and technology are converging, and B.C.'s life sciences sector is leading the way.

The LifeSciences British Columbia Awards will be presented at a gala ceremony the evening of Thursday, April 19 in front of an audience of approximately 600 guests representing the biopharmaceutical, medical device, bioproducts, bioenergy and greater life sciences community at the Vancouver Convention Centre (West Ballroom CD).

The 2012 LifeSciences British Columbia Awards are presented by: Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy, LLP; Genome British Columbia; and Rx&D, Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies. Media sponsor: Business in Vancouver Magazines.

For event details, please visit: http://www.lifesciencesbc.ca/Events/Upcoming_Events/event04191201.asp About LifeSciences BC LifeSciences BC is a not-for-profit, non-government industry association that represents and supports the biopharmaceutical, medical device, bioproducts, bioenergy and greater life sciences community of British Columbia through facilitation of partnering and investment, advocacy, education and promotion of our world-class science and industry.

-------------------- BACKGROUNDER About the 2012 LifeSciences British Columbia Award Recipients Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence Dr. Neil Cashman Professor and Canada Research Chair Brain Research Centre University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Dr. Neil Cashman is a neurologist/neuroscientist and internationally-recognized leader in prion and neurodegenerative disorders, and has received numerous accolades over three decades for his research and contributions to biotechnology. As a Senior Investigator at the University of British Columbia's Brain Research Centre and the Scientific Director of PrioNet Canada, he has focused his efforts on translating research discoveries in protein misfolding into innovative therapeutics and diagnostics for neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), as well as protective vaccines for the infectious prion diseases, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease). Dr. Cashman's ground-breaking discoveries and globally collaborative efforts have shaped the Canadian research landscape in this field, and has fostered the careers of many young scientists. He has authored over 300 scientific publications, filed 30 patent applications and received grant support in excess of $50 million.

In 1998, Dr. Cashman was the scientific founder of Montreal-based Caprion Pharmaceuticals, and in 2004, founded Amorfix Life Sciences, Ltd., a company focused on the diagnosis and treatment of protein misfolding diseases. To kick-start Canadian prion research after the socioeconomic shock of BSE in 2003, Dr. Cashman organized a Network of Centres of Excellence named PrioNet Canada, to network multidisciplinary researchers in Canada and internationally to investigate the causes and prevention of animal and human prion diseases. He also holds the Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration and Protein Misfolding Diseases, is a clinically-active Professor of Neurology at UBC and serves as an expert consultant for the Canadian government and international industry.

-------------------- Innovation and Achievement Award Dr. Tim Durance Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO EnWave Corporation Dr. Tim Durance, Founder, Chairman & Co-CEO of EnWave Corporation, is a world leader in the innovation and advancement of high-speed vacuum microwave drying technology. Since 1996, he has grown his Radiant Energy Vacuum (REV) technologies from early stage concepts invented at his laboratory at the University of British Columbia into a pipeline of technologies which range from prototype to industrial offerings, all positioned to challenge the conventional industry standards of freeze drying (lyophilisation), air drying and spray drying.

An accomplished academic, Dr. Durance was a Professor in the Food, Nutrition and Health Program at UBC, and has been a member of the faculty since 1987. He is the author of more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications, 15 patents and numerous book chapters, scientific presentations and invited lectures on technology and food processing. Dr. Durance received his Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Food Science from UBC, as well as a B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Guelph and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Waterloo. He has also grown EnWave Corporation from a university start-up to a TSX-listed company with a market capitalization of over $100 million, employing 25 people and owning engineering and biotechnology facilities, as well as a pilot-plant.

The concept of vacuum-microwave technology, which EnWave calls Radiant Energy Vacuum (REV), has been available in nascent form for several decades in the food industry. Two major technical challenges have persisted to prevent companies from developing the technology to a commercial scale: plasma discharge (or "arcing") and uneven drying. Over the past five years, EnWave scientists and engineers, led by Dr. Durance, have tackled the first challenge of uncontrolled plasma discharge through a series of patented innovations that serve to control microwave energy in a vacuum chamber. His team has also overcome the second challenge by ensuring homogeneous dehydration of product as it moves, under pressure, through the microwave field.

Dr. Durance's ability to innovate, while leading a team of highly skilled engineers and scientists, has led to the creation of a technology suite that has gained interest from large multinational companies, including Merck, whom EnWave announced a Research Evaluation Agreement with in December 2011.

-------------------- Leadership Award Dr. Bruce M. McManus Director, NCE CECR Centre of Excellence for Prevention of Organ Failure University of British Columbia Dr. Bruce McManus is Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, at the University of British Columbia. He serves as Director, UBC James Hogg Research Centre at St. Paul's Hospital, Co-Director, Institute for Heart + Lung Health and Director, NCE CECR Centre of Excellence for Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF Centre). Dr. McManus served as inaugural Scientific Director of the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, from 2000 to 2006.

Dr. McManus received B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, a M.Sc. from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Toledo. He pursued post-doctoral fellowships at the University of California - Santa Barbara (Environmental Physiology) and at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland (Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Pathology), and residency training at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital - Harvard University (Internal Medicine and Pathology). After 11 years on faculty at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre, including a John F. Fogarty Senior International Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany, Dr. McManus joined the Faculty of Medicine at UBC where he served as Department Head of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine from 1993 to 2000. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, College of American Pathologists, American College of Cardiology and American College of Chest Physicians.

Dr. McManus' investigative program relates to mechanisms, consequences, detection and prevention of injury and aberrant repair in inflammatory diseases of the heart and blood vessels. He works in a cross-disciplinary setting, enabled by computational sciences, and focused on molecular bio-signature development and implementation. Dr. McManus has co-authored approximately 350 peer-reviewed publications, several chapters while editing four books and is a co-holder of numerous patents. He has served as Councilor for the International Society for Heart Research and the American Society for Investigative Pathology, and as President of the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology. Dr. McManus serves on several editorial boards and advisory committees, has long been committed to training and mentoring scientist trainees across a range of disciplines and has convened many public and private sector partnerships in research aimed at preserving or restoring heart and lung health. He has been recognized for his scientific contributions by numerous institutions and organizations through visiting professorships and lectureships, was co-recipient of the prestigious Max Planck Research Award in 1991, elected to the Royal Society of Canada as a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences in 2002, and became an inaugural Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2005. Dr. McManus has received the Research Achievement Award of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the BC Innovation Council's Lieutenant Governor's Technology Innovation Award and the CSATVB Scientific Excellence Award, Canadian Society for Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Dr. McManus has had the great pleasure of working with his wife, Janet Wilson-McManus, for nearly three decades, and watching his children, Alex, Amity and Cate pursue life's great adventures.

-------------------- Medical Device Company of the Year Neovasc Inc.

Neovasc focuses on treating advanced cardiovascular disease and heart failure - an area of immense clinical need and rapid technological development. The company made significant advances in 2011 by growing revenues and achieving important development and regulatory milestones to establish itself internationally as a leading developer and provider of cardiovascular device products.

Neovasc has three distinct product lines that target the cardiovascular field: 1) its biological tissue business, 2) the ReducerT product for treating refractory angina and 3) the TiaraT transcatheter mitral valve replacement.

Neovasc has established itself as a leading supplier of certain specialized types of biological tissue and related development and manufacturing services to the cardiovascular device industry, and in particular to companies developing and marketing transcatheter heart valves. The company now has customers around the world ranging from small start-ups to some of the largest corporations in the medical device industry, and estimates that over 25,000 patients were implanted with devices fabricated from Neovasc's biological tissue last year. The company has seen steady growth in revenues every year since it was formed in 2008, and forecasts continued growth in its tissue business for 2012.

Neovasc's Reducer is a novel device implanted using a catheter in the large vein draining the heart muscle to treat "refractory" or untreatable angina. Refractory angina results from advanced cardiovascular disease that prevents certain parts of the heart muscle from receiving enough blood to function properly. Millions of patients around the world suffer from refractory angina and are severely debilitated, with everyday activities such as climbing a flight of stairs resulting in severe chest pain. The company's approach to treating this condition with Reducer is unique. Rather than working on the blood inflow side, as is done with conventional treatments, the Reducer device modulates the outflow of blood from the heart muscle to force more blood into these ischemic territories to provide relief of angina pain providing treatment for an otherwise untreatable patient. Implantation of the Reducer is undertaken through a small catheter inserted into the jugular vein in the neck to access the heart, and takes about ten minutes to take effect. Clinical results to date using the device have been excellent, and in November 2011, the Reducer received a CE Mark allowing the company to begin marketing the product in Europe.

The third product in Neovasc's portfolio is the Tiara mitral valve. Over the past five years, there has been a shift in the way physicians manage advanced heart valve disease - taking what has traditionally been an "open heart" surgical procedure and more frequently performing it via a catheter inserted through the groin or a small incision in the chest. This transcatheter approach has been increasingly adopted for treatment of aortic valve disease, and first generation products are now on the market for this purpose but its application to mitral valve disease has significantly lagged due to the anatomical complexity of the mitral valve and associated disease. In response to this opportunity, Neovasc has leveraged its unique combination of expertise with biological tissue products, heart valves and catheter based implants to develop Tiara, a transcatheter mitral valve replacement. The company is now a leader in this area and is currently on track to undertake its first human implantations of Tiara within a year. This has never been done before and if successful, Neovasc has the potential to significantly alter how mitral valve disease is treated in the future.

Neovasc's growth, successful development of leading edge medical devices and growing international reputation make the company a worthy recipient of this award.

-------------------- Dr. Don Rix Award for Lifetime Achievement Dr. Ian de la Roche Adjunct Professor Forest Resource Management University of British Columbia For the past four decades, Dr. de la Roche has helped usher Canada's traditional agriculture and forestry resources into the new bioeconomy. From his early career as a scientist working in agricultural biotechnology, through his many years as a key architect of innovative industry-government partnerships, commercialization initiatives and joint R&D ventures, Dr. de la Roche's contribution to Canada's innovation agenda has been immeasurable.

A trained plant geneticist, Dr. de la Roche spent the first ten years of his career as a senior research scientist and head of genetic engineering at Agriculture Canada's Ottawa Research Station, publishing over 80 scientific articles on plant genetics, physiology and biotechnology. He then moved into a leadership role at Agriculture Canada, spending the next decade in senior positions, including overseeing crop R&D programs at 50 research facilities across Canada. Dr. de la Roche went on to lead three national Research Institutes focused on biotechnology and crop improvement. This was followed by his most senior role as Director General, Priorities, Strategies and National Programs. Among Dr. de la Roche's many accomplishments at Agriculture Canada, he led the development of the National Agriculture Biotechnology Initiative, established the first Industry Relations Office to facilitate commercialization of new technologies and formulated the Canadian Biotechnology Strategy for dealing with the European Economic Community.

In 1988, Dr. de la Roche was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister at Western Economic Diversification Canada, playing a prominent role in the promotion of business development, commercialization of new technologies and creation of R&D initiatives involving industry, government and university partners. During this time, he became a key architect of the International Centre for Agricultural Science and Technology and the Plant Biotechnology Cluster in Saskatoon.

In 1992, Dr. de la Roche became President and CEO of Forintek Canada Corporation, Canada's national wood products research institute. During his tenure, he oversaw a major expansion into value-added and secondary manufacturing, significantly increasing revenue streams for the sector. Under Dr. de la Roche's leadership, Forintek became a key organization during the onset of the mountain pine beetle epidemic by making the industry aware of the potential market consequences, and helped counter many of the concerns about beetle-killed wood, conceiving scientifically-based strategies to recover value from the resource and maintain market access. In 2006, he oversaw the creation of FPInnovations - a merger of the three national forestry R&D institutes and the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre.

Throughout his career, Dr. de la Roche has helped change how we think about our forestry sector - from a finite natural resource to a sustainable, diversified sector with a strong innovation system. His life's work has helped position B.C. and Canada as an innovation leader in the forestry sector.

CONTACT: LifeSciences BC Jason Lesage, 604-602-5227 Manager, Communications and Public Relations jlesage@lifesciencesbc.ca KEYWORD: NORTH AMERICA CANADA INDUSTRY KEYWORD: EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OTHER EDUCATION HEALTH BIOTECHNOLOGY CARDIOLOGY GENETICS INFECTIOUS DISEASES MEDICAL DEVICES PHARMACEUTICAL OTHER HEALTH NATURAL RESOURCES AGRICULTURE RESEARCH OTHER SCIENCE SCIENCE GENERAL HEALTH SOURCE: LifeSciences BC Copyright Business Wire 2012 PUB: 03/08/2012 04:00 AM/DISC: 03/08/2012 04:00 AM http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120308005286/

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