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New Report Outlines Women’s Experiences of Gender Bias in Canada’s Biotechnology Sector

From the BioTalent Canada newsroom admin October 30, 2015

OTTAWA – A report released today by BioTalent Canada outlines the results of a national survey of women in the biotech sector and reveals the challenges they often face, including gender bias in pursuing careers in Canada’s Bio-economy.  The national survey and report formed part of BioTalent Canada’s project “Connecting and Advancing Women in the Bio-economy” funded in part by the federal department of Status of Women Canada.

BioTalent Canada will be presenting the key findings of the report: Moving Beyond the Boundaries: Connecting and Advancing Women in Biotechnology at each of three special events in Charlottetown, Toronto and Vancouver and during National Biotechnology Week, October 30 – November 6.

Emerging from the national survey are three key findings:

  • Women want to work in the bio-economy, and when they do, they are regarded as vital contributors to companies’ technological and business success.
  • Gender bias has a real and discernible negative effect on women in the bio-economy workforce.
  • Concrete steps can be taken by the sector to make it even more welcoming and supportive of women’s success.

Among the concrete steps listed in the national report that employers should consider in ensuring their workplaces continue to welcome women are the following:

  • Consideration of work/life balance issues, especially for young women.
  • Awareness of the existence of gender bias within the company.
  • Availability of a structured support network for women in the company.

In its labour market report for new graduates entering the biotechnology industry: Opening The Door, released earlier this year, BioTalent Canada’s compensation survey results indicated that the average annual salary for female participants in a national wage subsidy program was $6,728 less than male participants, demonstrating a potential gender-based salary gap.

“Clearly, the results of this survey and our other labour market reports indicate more work has to be done,” said Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada.  “If biotech companies want to remain competitive and ensure they position themselves as employers of choice for women, who make significant contributions to innovation, then their attitudes and HR programs must evolve,” he said.

The national project undertaken by BioTalent Canada and funded in part by Status of Women Canada stemmed from a disturbing statistic within the organization’s 2013 labour market report: Sequencing the Data, which revealed that in 2013, 59% of the graduates of post-secondary biotechnology programs were women, but employment of women within the sector had fallen by 11% since 2008.

The report was also sponsored by:

PEI BioAlliance
LifeSciences BC
BioMedica Diagnostics

To view or download a copy of the full report

About BioTalent Canada
BioTalent Canada is the HR partner of Canada’s bio-economy. As an HR expert and national non-profit organization, BioTalent Canada focuses on building partnerships and skills for Canada’s bio-economy to ensure the industry has access to job-ready people. Through projects, research, and product development, BioTalent Canada connects employers with job seekers, delivers human resource information, and skills development tools so the industry can focus on strengthening Canada’s biotech business. For more information, please visit

Media inquiries:
Fiorella Jansen-Nicorescu
Marketing & Communications Manager
BioTalent Canada
613-235-1402 ext. 229

– See more at:

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admin September 9, 2015

Researchers are invited to present their health research work/project through poster display and oral presentation sessions during the conference.  The poster displays will provide a forum for researchers to showcase their work and to promote networking among conference participants.  The poster submission Form/Abstract submission deadline is October 1st, 2015 at 4p.m.

Click here for more info.

Every poster author will be able to describe their research to conference attendees during scheduled and informal viewing times as part of the conference program. Visit our conference webpage for details in the program for the scheduled poster viewing times and the student/health professional awards session.

In addition 9 student and 2 Health Professional authors will have the opportunity to present their research to the conference delegates in a special plenary session. These authors will be selected by a panel of judges. Student and health professional authors must come prepared with 3 Power Point slides in addition to their poster in case they are selected (5 minutes presentation).

You must also be the submitter, presenter and 1st author of the poster submitted.

Click here to learn more about the Poster Competition.

Click here to learn more about the New Brunswick Health Research Conference.


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Cross-post via admin September 1, 2015

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

– The Six Million Dollar Man, 1973

Science is catching up to science fiction. Last year a paralysed man walked again after cell treatment bridged a gap in his spinal cord. Dozens of people have had bionic eyes implanted, and it may also be possible to augment them to see into the infra-red or ultra-violet. Amputees can control bionic limb implant with thoughts alone.

Meanwhile, we are well on the road to printing body parts.

We are witnessing a reshaping of the clinical landscape wrought by the tools of technology. The transition is giving rise to a new breed of engineer, one trained to bridge the gap between engineering on one side and biology on the other.

Enter the “biofabricator”. This is a role that melds technical skills in materials, mechatronics and biology with the clinical sciences.

Read full article at


If you need a new body part, it’s the role of the biofabricator to build it for you. The concepts are new, the technology is groundbreaking. And the job description? It’s still being written.

It is a vocation that’s already taking off in the US though. In 2012, Forbes rated biomedical engineering (equivalent to biofabricator) number one on its list of the 15 most valuable college majors. The following year, CNN and called it the “best job in America”.

These conclusions were based on things like salary, job satisfaction and job prospects, with the US Bureau of Labour Statistics projecting a massive growth in the number of biomedical engineering jobs over the next ten years.

Meanwhile, Australia is blazing its own trail. As the birthplace of the multi-channel Cochlear implant, Australia already boasts a worldwide reputation in biomedical implants. Recent clinical breakthroughs with an implanted titanium heel and jawbone reinforce Australia’s status as a leader in the field.

I’ve recently helped establish the world’s first international Masters courses for biofabrication, ready to arm the next generation of biofabricators with the diverse array of skills needed to 3D print parts for bodies.

These skills go beyond the technical; the job also requires the ability to communicate with regulators and work alongside clinicians. The emerging industry is challenging existing business models.


Day to day, the biofabricator is a vital cog in the research machine. They work with clinicians to create a solution to clinical needs, and with biologists, materials and mechatronic engineers to deliver them.

Biofabricators are naturally versatile. They are able to discuss clinical needs pre-dawn, device physics with an electrical engineer in the morning, stem cell differentiation with a biologist in the afternoon and a potential financier in the evening. Not to mention remaining conscious of regulatory matters and social engagement.

Our research at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) is only made possible through the work of a talented team of biofabricators. They help with the conduits we are building to regrow severed nerves, to the electrical implant designed to sense an imminent epileptic seizure and stop it before it occurs, to the 3D printed cartilage and bone implants fashioned to be a perfect fit at the site of injury.

As the interdisciplinary network takes shape, we see more applications every week. Researchers have only scratched the surface of what is possible for wearable or implanted sensors to keep tabs on an outpatient’s vitals and beam them back to the doctor.

Meanwhile, stem cell technology is developing rapidly. Developing the cells into tissues and organs will require prearrangement of cells in appropriate 3D environments and custom designed bioreactors mimicking the dynamic environment inside the body.

Imagine the ability to arrange stem cells in 3D surrounded by other supporting cells and with growth factors distributed with exquisite precision throughout the structure, and to systematically probe the effect of those arrangements on biological processes. Well, it can already be done.

Those versed in 3D bioprinting will enable these fundamental explorations.


Besides academic research, biofabricators will also be invaluable to medical device companies in designing new products and treatments. Those engineers with an entrepreneurial spark will look to start spin-out companies of their own. The more traditional manufacturing business model will not cut it.

As 3D printing evolves, it is becoming obvious that we will require dedicated printing systems for particular clinical applications. The printer in the surgery for cartilage regeneration will be specifically engineered for the task at hand, with only critical variables built into a robust and reliable machine.

Appropriately trained individuals will also find roles in the public service, ideally in regulatory bodies or community engagement.

For this job of tomorrow, we must train today and new opportunities are emerging biofab-masters-degree. We must cut across the traditional academic boundaries that slow down such advances. We must engage with the community of traditional manufacturers that have skills that can be built upon for next generation industries.


Australia is also well placed to capitalise on these emerging industries. We have a traditional manufacturing sector that is currently in flux, an extensive advanced materials knowledge base built over decades, a dynamic additive fabrication skills base and a growing alternative business model environment.

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admin August 31, 2015

Innovation at the Station 2015 is fast approaching – will you be rubbing elbows with New Brunswick’s finest on October 2nd?

There’s no denying it: the bio sector is a big deal!  Every entrepreneur, lab assistant, accountant, farmer, student, professor, hobby Tweeter, supporter, family member, and friend makes up this incredible community. The sector has boomed over the past 2 years, seeing unprecedented growth in the number of jobs and active companies.

BioNB invites all friends and stakeholders of the bioscience and business communities for great company and delicious locally-sourced food and drink at Innovation at the Station – BioNB’s flagship networking event. Click here to learn more and to register.

View photos from the previous two Innovation at the Station events below. Use the arrows to cycle through the photos, or click the photo to view the full album and captions.

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BioNB seeking nominations for annual bioscience award admin August 24, 2015

It’s that time again!

The bioscience community’s annual networking event, Innovation at the Station, is coming up on October 2nd, 2015. Ticket sales took off immediately as everyone was hoping to reserve their spot to enjoy great food, great drinks, and the opportunity to rub elbows with New Brunswick’s best. Click here to register.

One of BioNB’s favourite events of the evening is the presentation of the NB Bioscience Achievement Award where the community recognizes one individual who, above all others, has made outstanding contributions to the growth and promotion of the sector.

Call for Nominations

Members of the bioscience community are invited to submit their choice for the recipient of the NB Bioscience Achievement Award. Nominees can be from industry, academia, research, and any supporting role that has a stake in the bioscience community. All nominations will be considered by the review committee and the winner will be announced at Innovation at the Station on October 2nd, 2015.

Click here to submit your nomination. (ENG/FR)

Nomination deadline: September 23rd, 11:59PM.

Past Winners

Click each name for more info.

2004 – Dr. Rudra Singh

2006 – Dr. Tillman Benfey

2007 – Dr. Chris Lucarotti

2009 – Dr. Thierry Chopin

2010 – Dr. Marc Surette

2011 – Jack Stewart

2012 – Jonathan Sweeney

2013 – John Argall

2014 – Pat Whalen and Rodney Ouellette

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by Peter Moreira admin August 12, 2015

by Peter Moreira

Read the full article at

When Mycodev founder Brennan Sisk appeared with New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant to announce the company’s $500,000 funding in March, he knew it was a celebration for more than his company.

The funding announcement by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation was the latest in a string of events that showed something interesting happening in the province: life sciences companies are stepping into the spotlight.

In the startup world in the past few years, a sentence with the words “New” and “Brunswick” usually included the letters I and T. IT was front and centre, and with good reason. Celebrated exits like Radian6, Q1 Labs and User Events have been great events for the province. But lately there have been companies like Fredericton-based Mycodev to talk about.

“One of the things that Mycodev is offering, for lack of a better word, is an opportunity for bricks and mortar, right here in New Brunswick, to diversify what’s happening here,” said Sisk in an interview.

He’s proud that his company, which is producing medical grade chitosan from fermented fungus, will manufacture locally. The company is working with three medical partners on developing medical products, including bandages that use the properties within chitosan to stanch bleeding.

Of course this is not the only recent win in life sciences in the past few months. NB Biomatrix is a Saint John company using nano-technology to develop a biodegradable, anti-bacterial liquid that can remove heavy metals and other pollutants from waste water. It first got noticed when it won the $15,000 BioInnovation Challenge, a pan-Maritimes bio-sciences competition, last autumn. Then the company bagged $222,250 by placing third in the NBIF Breakthrucompetition in March.

“The reason we’re seeing more startups on the bio side is we’re seeing more startups in general,” said Meaghan Seagrave, the Executive Director of BioNB, the umbrella organization that supports biosciences in the province. “When you have that push within a culture, innovation is going to happen across the board. The biotech sector is starting to creep up a little bit more now because it takes it longer to get to market.”

Seagrave’s analysis of the segment is broad in both time and space. She notes that 70 percent of New Brunswick land-base is covered with biomass in the form of forest or farmland. And the province has two distinct coastlines offering a range of sea-life.

As a result, the province’s traditional industries have been fishing, farming and forestry. But what Seagraves highlights is that New Brunswick’s research facilities have grown up around these industries. The province boasts 13 research facilities – and that tally doesn’t even include its academic institutions. Most of them support research in these traditional sectors, including how to extract materials from organic material. The result is often a commercial product.

For example, she said, Biomolecules for Life is a Moncton company that grew out of someone wondering whether there were any marketable chemicals in sea urchin guts. (They were thought to be a waste product left over when sea urchins were processed for export markets.) It turns out sea urchin innards are rich in Fucoxanthin, a chemical that helps with appetite suppression and weight reduction. The company is now marketing Ocean Slim, a natural health product containing Fucoxanthin.

As it earns revenue from Ocean Slim, it is working on a higher-value drug that will require the full regulatory process.

Seagrave also cited the example of Sackville-based Soricimed Biopharma, which is commercializing a synthesized compound originally found in shrew venom that can stop growth in cervical, bone and lung cancer cells. It is now moving into Phase II clinical trials, which aim to prove the drug is medically effective.

“I think we are a kind of a hidden gem because we have all the required assets we need in this province,” said Seagrave. “We have an abundance of biomass and we have significant research and development capacity. We also have the human capital. It’s like the biotech sector has kind of like been bubbling below the surface.”

It’s the sort of activity that convinces Sisk the biotech segment in New Brunswick deserves more notice.

“The Bioscience community in New Brunswick is pretty busy, though it doesn’t get a lot of attention,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is bring attention to it. We’re just one of the companies here trying to put bricks and mortar here and create some good high-paying jobs.”

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Fredericton-based company Biomatcan admin August 12, 2015

Job Description – Production Laboratory Assistant

Biomatcan Ltd, Fredericton, NB

Main Functions:

  • Work in a regulated clean room environment
  • Participate in development of products and formulations
  • Perform laboratory tests
  • Technical support and production
  • Write reports using Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Lab and equipment maintenance


  • Hold a technical degree in chemistry, material science, biomaterials, biochemistry, or related field (master’s, bachelor’s, collegiate, or equivalent)

Salary to be discussed.

Send resume to:

Click here to learn more about Biomatcan.

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Posted via admin August 6, 2015

Posted via

SARNIA, ON, Aug. 6, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ – BioAmber Inc., a leader in renewable chemistry, announced today the opening of its BioAmber Sarnia plant that was jointly built with Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Read at

BioAmber Sarnia makes renewable chemicals from sugar instead of petroleum. The new plant uses innovative biotechnology and will produce biobased succinic acid from glucose sourced from southern Ontario agricultural suppliers. The BioAmber Sarnia plant is the world’s largest succinic acid production facility and will be globally competitive while making chemicals more sustainably.

BioAmber Sarnia is part of the growing bio-industrial cluster in Sarnia Lambton and has received support from the Government of Canadaand the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure’s Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund. BioAmber is also grateful for the support of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada and the Sarnia Lambton community.

BioAmber Sarnia’s financial partners include Export Development Canada, the Farm Credit Corporation and Comerica Bank.

NOTE: Photos and digital materials are available on request

Quick Facts

  • BioAmber Sarnia construction cost: approximately US $141.5 million
  • Capacity: 30,000 tons/year of succinic acid
  • World’s largest succinic acid plant
  • Disruptive technology is lower cost than oil-based production
  • Markets: increasing demand for renewable building block chemicals in large global markets
  • Applications: examples include: plastics, paints, textiles and coatings, artificial leather, food and flavours and personal care products
  • Volumes specified in signed take-or-pay and sales agreements exceed annual production capacity
  • Approximately 300 construction jobs and 60 full-time jobs were created by the project; many of the plant operators are graduates from Lambton College
  • 100% reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions compared to the equivalent production process that uses petroleum.


JF Huc, CEO BioAmber: “We’re excited that our renewable chemicals made from sugars are making everyday applications around the world more sustainable. We believe our disruptive biotechnology is going to profitably deliver benefits for the environment, our customers, our shareholders and the Sarnia Lambton community. ”

Brad Duguid, Member of Provincial Parliament Scarborough-Centre, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure: “The opening of the BioAmber Sarnia facility is key to the development of Sarnia’s very unique bio-industrial complex, delivering good jobs, significant exports, and diverse markets for Ontario farmers with the full support of the Government of Ontario. The production and development of sustainable chemicals by BioAmber, working from within the existing chemistry cluster in Sarnia, is an economic and environmental win for the community and the province.”


SOURCE BioAmber Inc.

For further information: BioAmber Investor Contact: Mike Hartmann, Executive Vice President, 514-844-8000 Ext. 120

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By Adam Huras, via admin August 5, 2015

By Adam Huras, via

FREDERICTON – A Fredericton startup has won an international competition that called for ways to reduce the use of sand in hydraulic fracturing.

View article at with subscription.

The inaugural Statoil and GE Oil & Gas Open Innovation Challenge could be worth as much as $400,000 to BIOPolynet – a graduate of the Fredericton-based Planet Hatch Accelerator Program – if its technology reaches certain milestones toward commercialization.

The contest was launched by the Norwegian state oil company and the oil and gas unit of the conglomerate General Electric Co. in search of alternatives for sand in shale gas development.

The technologies selected could eventually address a major concern of communities that stand opposed to ‍frack‍‍ing.

Sand is part of the solution of pressurized liquid – known more commonly as ‍fracking fluid – that is injected into wells to open up tiny fractures in underground rock, enabling oil and natural gas to flow freely.

More than 100 submissions from applicants from over 30 countries were received.

BIOPolynet was one of five winners named, receiving an initial cash prize of $25,000.

Its founder and CEO Mostafa Aghaei immigrated to New Brunswick from the Middle East a few years ago to take a position at the University of New Brunswick.

The biophysicist brought with him a technology he developed to help stabilize huge sand dunes in Iran. That product, made from natural polymers that bind together when mixed with water, has been used to prevent erosion.

That same technology is now being applied to sand in hydraulic ‍fracking, making the fluid used more viscous or thicker. Making the fluid slightly “sticky” helps the particles to adhere to the surface of fissures in the underground rock formation.

That means the mixture could keep fractures in the rock open for longer, releasing more oil or gas, while requiring less sand and water.

“We are excited and honoured to win such a large global challenge,” Aghaei said in a statement on the contest’s website.“This prize will make a big difference to our company.”

The technology could ultimately address a public concern.

“Well stimulation requires hundreds of truck trips to transport materials, which increases road wear and traffic as well as noise, dust and emissions,” states the innovation challenge’s website.

“By focusing on sand, the crowd-sourcing challenge looked for solutions that have the potential to reduce the environmental impacts on local communities, lessen emissions and make energy production more efficient.

“Proppant and water are the most trucked materials in hydraulic fracturing.”

It adds:“The end game is to develop a diverse portfolio of technologies that help reduce the environmental footprint, while enhancing operational efficiencies.”

A second innovation challenge – focusing on water in unconventional energy development – was recently announced and remains open for submissions until late September.

Click here to visit BIOPolynet’s official website.

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ACOA News Release admin July 23, 2015

ACOA News Release

Moncton, N.B. – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – July 23, 2015

The Government of Canada announced a $750,000 investment today in the Canadian Imaging Research Centre, formerly called the Canadian Diagnostic Research Centre Inc., for equipment and improvements that will help enhance research and commercialization opportunities in the health and life sciences sector.

Robert Goguen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for New Brunswick and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), joined Canadian Imaging Research Centre officials at Moncton’s MRI office to make the announcement today.

The CIRC is a non-profit organization, created to provide health researchers with support and access to advanced medical diagnostic imaging infrastructure, expertise and other research-critical resources in New Brunswick.  Specifically, the project will increase capacity in the health research field by providing assistance towards equipment costs, facility improvements, marketing and training.  This will help the CIRC carry out a broad range of diagnostic imaging services designed to support research and commercialization initiatives, primarily in the health sciences sector.  In order to increase this research activity, the CIRC will combine the resources of the Moncton MRI office and the Canadian Health Solutions facility in Grand Bay/Westfield.

Quick Facts:

• The CIRC is a strategic collaboration between Canadian Health Solutions (CHS); Moncton MRI and Health & Life Science New Brunswick.
• The establishment of the CIRC will leverage private sector investment; augment existing resources and build research capacity and economic activity in the region.
• The CIRC will provide access to critical 3T MRI diagnostic imaging equipment and research personnel expertise.
• The Government of Canada, through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund (ICF), is providing a contribution of $750,000 toward this project, while Canadian Health Solutions Inc. and Moncton MRI are providing $568,102.


“Our Government’s top priority is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Our investment in the Canadian Imaging Research Centre will bring resources together to create a collaborative research environment, attracting world-class experts. This will in turn build research capacity and economic development opportunities throughout the region.”

– Robert Goguen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and MP for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for New Brunswick and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)
“Medical research in New Brunswick and indeed Atlantic Canada has been limited by access to advanced medical diagnostic imaging. With the funding support received today from ACOA, the Canadian Imaging Research Centre will enable researchers and clinicians to have access to infrastructure and specialized personnel to support Atlantic Canadian research and innovation. This support will be made available to medical personnel, universities, innovators, hospitals and charitable organizations.”

– Dr. David Elias, Chairman, Canadian Imaging Research Centre

Associated Links:


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