Mayor Lee Announces Opening of Canadian Technology Accelerator in San Francisco

Canada’s First Biotech Accelerator Locates in Mission Bay Marking All Time High for Life Sciences Companies in the City

3/13/12—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today joined by Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) announced the opening of a Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA@MissionBay), a new biotech incubator for Canadian life sciences firms. Located at UCSF’s Mission Bay Campus, the Canadian Technology Accelerator brings four new life sciences companies to San Francisco.

“San Francisco sits firmly at the intersection of cutting edge life sciences innovation and global collaboration,” said Mayor Lee. “The opening of the Canadian Technology Accelerator in Mission Bay underscores the strength of San Francisco’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and reinforces the City’s place as the ‘Innovation Capital of the World.’ I am thrilled to welcome these four new Canadian life sciences companies to San Francisco and want to thank Ambassador Doer and QB3 for their leadership in making the CTA a reality.”

“Collaboration is the lifeblood of life sciences, because it fuels inspiration, leverages research, and multiplies commercial opportunities across borders,” said Ambassador Doer. “This partnership is literally a technology accelerator – it marries Canada’s world-class basic research institutions and life sciences companies with QB3’s proven expertise in translating science to commercial success. Faster commercialization means greater ROI, and that means greater success for both our economies.”

With today’s announcement, San Francisco is now home to 108 life sciences companies, up from just two life sciences companies eight years ago. This growth has been driven by San Francisco’s aggressive focus on developing Mission Bay, attracting established biotech firms and supporting new start-ups and spinouts from UCSF. The City continues to build on the work of Mayors Brown and Newsom which included the approval of the Mission Bay Redevelopment Plan, the passage of the biotech payroll tax exclusion and the recruitment of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

The opening of the CTA marks San Francisco’s fifth biotech incubator. The City through the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) has worked closely with QB3 through the BioSF initiative to support the growth of new biotech companies in San Francisco.

“Mission Bay has established itself as a world center for bioscience entrepreneurs. These new companies join a community that is rapidly becoming a United Nations of innovation,” said QB3 Director Regis Kelly, PhD. “We welcome Canada’s entrepreneurs to the QB3 incubator network.”

Canadian companies are chosen for the accelerator based on their ability to grow locally and globally. The first group of four are: Aquinox, BioMark, Clinisys, and Precision Nanosystems.

“This initiative recognizes the continued importance of San Francisco as a global hub for the life sciences industry and an important entry point for Canadian companies like ours that have built strong international programs,” said Aquinox Pharmaceuticals Chief Medical Officer David Chernoff. “It provides a unique opportunity for a small company to formalize its presence and broaden its business relationships.”

The Canadian Technology Accelerator is joining QB3’s network of five bioscience incubators in San Francisco and Berkeley, and will be the newest members of the QB3 Digital PharmChem Garage, housed on the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Together, those incubators have helped launch 60 bioscience companies in the last six years, ranging in focus from biofuels to new therapeutics for cancer. Those startups have gone on to hire more than 280 employees and raise $226 million in follow-on funding during one of the sharpest recessions in the nation’s history.

The four companies located at the Canadian Technology Accelerator are:
· Aquinox Pharmaceuticals is a private, venture-backed pharmaceutical company committed to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel and targeted small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory disease and cancer.
· BioMark Technologies Inc. is a Canadian based medical diagnostic technology company developing an inexpensive and non invasive screening test for cancer that detects intracellular enzyme activity. This technology is small molecule based versus proteomics-based, which reduces complexity and lowers cost to the health care/delivery industry.
· Clinisys EMR Inc. is a Canadian health informatics company offering software and services to the healthcare industry. Its flagship product is a robust, secure, and scalable web-based Clinical Intelligence Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.
· Precision NanoSystems, Inc. (PNI) has developed proprietary microfluidic devices for the simple, rapid, reproducible and cost-effective manufacture of next-generation lipid nanoparticles (LNP). LNP can be engineered to package and deliver a wide range of bioactive agents to cells and tissues in the body, including conventional or biologic drugs for disease treatment and imaging agents for disease diagnosis.

About CTA@MissionBay
The Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco and Silicon Valley developed the Canadian Technology Accelerator Program – a program designed to support growth in Canadian technology companies by giving them access to the unique resources of the Bay Area. The CTA consists of in-Canada qualification (e.g. preparation seminars); continued help for qualified companies in San Francisco (Maple Tree Life Science Forum held annually in May); and a longer stay in the Consulate-operated CTA@MissionBay. CTA also arranged mentoring with C100 members (successful expats in the Bay Area) and local venture and technology partners, and an opportunity to spend up to six months in San Francisco to pursue business growth objectives.

About QB3
QB3 is a cooperative effort among private industry and more than 220 scientists at UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. One of four technology institutes created in 2000 by former California Governor Gray Davis, QB3 has a joint mission of supporting science, driving the California economy and transforming scientific research into public good.