Bigger and Better: 2014 National Biotechnology Week in New Brunswick

admin October 10, 2014

This year’s National Biotechnology Week proved that New Brunswick is home to more than just a strong biosector – it’s a community.

2013-2014 has seen more companies, more industry-research partnerships, more government investment, and more cross-sectoral events and meetings that are shaping the future of our province. Click here to see our timeline of highlights from the previous two years.

National Biotechnology Week is the nation-wide awareness week for the biosciences industry. The New Brunswick events hosted by BioNB were met with a level of participation and enthusiasm that was a welcome surprise. BioNB takes this as a sign that the sector is united, passionate, and gaining recognition as the sector to watch in the province of New Brunswick.

Between September 29th and 30th BioNB hosted the second annual NB Bioscience Twitter Scavenger Hunt. LuminUltra Technologies sponsored the two amazing prizes that were awarded to two very dedicated tweeters. Over two days, dozens of Twitter users religiously followed @BioScienceNB for clues and tasks related to bioscience in our province. Some of the tasks had participants finding creative uses for test tubes, doing some serious online detective work, and even filming their own sales pitches! In the end it was the sector that won. There were over 400 total #nbw2014 tweets, a 10% increase in our Twitter followers, and exposure for over 30 researchers, companies, and individuals. Click here to read our full recap of the Twitter Scavenger hunt.

The world-class Atlantic Cancer Research Institute hosted their Open House on September 30th at their facility in Moncton. Over 30 members of the community had the opportunity to tour their incredible research facility. ACRI collaborates with partners all over the world to discover the genetic origins of cancer and pursues three main areas of development: early detection, enhanced diagnosis, and targeted treatment. Click here to read all about the tour, and click here to visit ACRI online.

BioNB’s annual cocktail event, Innovation at the Station, was not only sold out, it was over capacity! BioNB happily welcomed all of our friends from the bioscience community – we could never turn away such generous and fun folks! The York Street Train Station was bursting with laughter and bright conversation on Friday October 3rd as over 100 guests enjoyed delicious locally sourced food and drink, courtesy of LJW Catering. Companies, researchers, and sector supporters took to the podium to tell their stories of how the community helped them achieve their goals. There was a great energy and vibe all through the evening. Special thanks to our presenters:

·         Josée Landry, Chief of Operations at the Biorefinery Technology Scale-up Centre, Grand Falls NB;

·         Fouad Dabbarh, President of BiomATCan, Fredericton, NB; and

·         Jean Mamelona, VP of BioMolecules for life, Moncton, NB.

The formal part of the night ended with the presentation of awards. Since 2004, BioNB has awarded the New Brunswick Bioscience Achievement Award annually to someone who has made an outstanding contribution toward the growth and promotion of New Brunswick’s bioscience industry. A selection committee made up of representatives from industry, academia, and funding organizations choose the award winners upon reviewing the nominations sourced from the community.

In this unprecedented year of growth and activity in the sector, the selection committee returned with two winners – Mr. Pat Whalen of LuminUltra and Dr. Rodney Ouellette of ACRI.

Patrick A. Whalen, P.Eng is the President and CEO of LuminUltra Technologies Ltd. LuminUltra supplies microbiological testing solutions for water-related industries. The company is headquartered in Fredericton, New Brunswick and sells their products worldwide. With Pat at the helm, LuminUltra has had a very successful year. Some highlights include: establishing new ASTM protocols; growth through partnerships with companies such as DOW, American Airlines, and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles; new partnerships in Europe, China, New Zealand, and Australia; and the addition of 10 new staff members.

LuminUltra Technologies has been identified as one of Atlantic Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies by Progress Magazine for six years in a row, and has received several other honours including New Brunswick Exporter of the year.

Dr. Rodney Ouellette, M.D., Ph.D. is the President and Scientific Director of the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute which he co-founded in 1998. ACRI is internationally recognized for performing world-class cancer research. Dr. Ouellette has overseen many biomedical research successes as the institution, including the development of new cancer biomarker panels for colon cancer and prostate cancer, and the establishment of genomic technologies that have placed cutting-edge tools, such as Next-Generation Sequencing, in the hands of New Brunswick biomedical researchers.

Dr. Ouellette is also the co-founder of Excipio Technologies Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of a synthetic peptide which promises to revolutionize how diseases are detected.

BioNB also presented an award of thanks to one of the organization’s most important supporters and champions, Dr. Laurent Bernier.

Dr. Bernier was the founding Executive Director of BioAtlantech in 1997. He was one of the driving forces behind the inception of BioAtlantech, now called BioNB, as the province’s bioscience agency. Laurent’s career has seen him as a researcher, publisher, entrepreneur, investor and now IP specialist with BioAmber. BioNB would like to thank Laurent for his service to the organization over the past 17 years.

BioNB is proud to be at the helm of such a passionate and unified sector. We hope that initiatives like National Biotechnology Week can show the province and the country that biotechnology in New Brunswick is spurring world-class innovations and holds the keys to our economic future.

Thank you to everyone who participated throughout the week, and a special thanks to our sponsors: clean water experts LuminUltra Technologies, the talented team at CCNB’sBiorefinery Technology Scale-Up Centre, and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation who have honoured and funded many prominent bioscience researchers.

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