Genome BC Programs

Industry Innovation Program (I²)

The Industry Innovation Program (I²) provides commercialization support for companies developing innovative life science technologies in British Columbia (BC). Life sciences includes the biological aspects of industry challenges in the key economic sectors of Agrifood, Energy, Mining, Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Forestry, and Health. The I² Program also supports digital health and other technologies that will further move the concept of precision medicine into clinical practice.

Funding from the I² program is allocated to promising technologies (products, processes or services) at the early stages of commercial development. The program aims to provide risk capital that is concurrently matched by other public or private funding sources.

Companies must be beyond the research stage and should be in the commercial proof of concept or product development phase and have some formal ownership or control of the technology. Funded companies can be based outside of BC but must have a substantial project presence in BC typically defined as a number of employees residing in BC.

The amount of funding allocated by I² ranges from $100,000 to $1,000,000 per company, and is targeted to initiatives where a clear pathway to commercialization can be demonstrated. We will work with companies to help establish this pathway and link them to other stakeholders in the industry. Our early stage capital can take the form of debt, equity and royalties. We help companies establish near term milestones and a portion of funding may be tied to successful execution of these milestones and advanced in tranches. I² funds are repayable with repayments commencing no more than four years after disbursement.

Contact Pat Brady Director, Industry Innovation Programs for more information

We’ve also prepared a list of frequently asked questions.

The first step is to submit an Executive Summary (max. 5 pages) of the business plan highlighting:

  • The company, team and BC-based activity
  • The technology/service and value proposition
  • The market opportunity
  • The commercialization plan
  • The financial requirements, prospective co-funders and risks involved

Once it is established that the company has a promising technology, a defined market and capable management, we execute a confidentiality agreement and invite the company to submit a full business plan and/or other form of presentation to Genome BC.

Assuming support of Genome BC, a formal due diligence process is conducted to determine the likelihood of commercialization and clearly establishing a pathway to success. A confidential third party review of the company’s technology, IP and/or market will often be performed at this time.

If a company is successful at this stage the next step is to reach agreement on a term sheet detailing:

  • Key financial terms
  • Repayment terms
  • Identification of commercialization milestones and tranche advancement requirements
  • Closing conditions, co-funding and target dates
  • Information rights

If significant gaps are identified during the due diligence process, funds will not be advanced but we will endeavour to point the company toward resources and partners that are able to help remedy the deficiencies.

Upon completion of diligence and the term sheet, the company will be asked to formally present to Genome BC’s Board of Directors who will make the ultimate investment decision. Board meetings and investment decisions are made quarterly.

The goal is successful commercialization, industry growth, jobs, and economic impact for the Province of BC.  I2 funding repayments commence the earlier of four years after disbursement; or when the company achieves commercialization (generally defined as significant product/service revenues, revenues from licensing the technology, or the company achieves a significant financial milestone.

A royalty obligation is included through Genome BC’s I2 Program. The royalty agreement is structured so that Genome BC receives a low, single-digit royalty payment if the technology financed results in significant commercialization revenue. The cumulative royalty payments are normally capped at 2X the amount of the I2 funding. However, early repayment of the I2 funding within four years of disbursement will trigger reduction of the royalty cap to 1x.

The I2 Program Advisory Council is appointed by Genome BC from the business community at large. The Council makes recommendations about the opportunities and risks of potential investments and provides advice on current market conditions that may have an impact on proposed investments and/or the I² program portfolio. The members include:

Dr. Tony Brooks – Chair

Chief Financial Officer and VP, Entrepreneurship & Commercialization, Genome BC

Dr. Tony Brooks is a senior executive with over 25 years of experience in the life sciences, not for profit and public accounting environments. He leads our finance, HR, administration and Entrepreneurship and Commercialization areas.

Throughout his career, Tony has worked with both large and small life sciences companies and brings the vast knowledge he has gained to lead our Industry Innovation Program funding early stage start-ups. He believes in applying best practices, integrity and risk management to deliver high quality outputs. Tony is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. He holds a PhD in developmental biology from the University of London, England and a BSc from the University of Reading.

 

David Christie, B.Sc., M.B.A.:  President, Christie Consulting Services

David has broad and deep experience in the development and commercialization of life sciences technology.  David works with early-stage and emerging technology entrepreneurs to help them create and execute sustainable business strategies that expand their business.  As President, CEO and Director of a publicly-traded technology company, he more than doubled revenue in two years, expanded their asset base four fold and increased cash flow 12-fold.  Early in his career David was Sales Manager of the Year for three consecutive years at Baxter Corporation.  David has worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies but since 2000 has dedicated himself to local early-stage technology companies.  David’s strengths are in implementing strategic change, delivering financial results and effectively commercializing technology.  David has run a couple of companies in the life sciences industry and began his career in information technology sales.

 

Don M. Enns, B.Sc., M.B.A.: President and CEO, TRANSFERRA Nanosciences Inc.

Don Enns has been a leader in British Columbia’s life sciences industry for over 25 years; most currently at TRANSFERRA Nanosciences Inc., a specialty contract manufacturing firm that has supported the pharmaceutical sector in over 50 countries.  Prior to that, he served three years as President of Life Sciences BC, an industry organization that promotes trade, investment and development of the provincial life science community.   For most the 1990s and well in to the 2000s, he led CANTEST Ltd., a BC-headquartered global organization providing professional analytical and clinical services for the environmental, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food safety industries. His contribution helped CANTEST earn a spot among the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada and to be recognized as one of BC’s 25 Best Employers. Enns is a director of numerous local for-profit companies as well as several non-profit organizations involved with national standardization, trade, education, community affairs and public health. He has overseen expansion into European and Southeast Asian markets; been responsible for merger and acquisition activity; and consulted for international agencies such as the UN Development Programme. He is currently co-Chair of Canada’s National Research Council’s Advisory Committee as well as a past director or committee advisor to Genome British Columbia, the World Wildlife Fund of Canada and two UBC faculties, among other organizations.

 

Nancy Harrison, P.Eng, MBA: President, MSI Methylation Sciences Inc.

Nancy Harrison has over 20 years financing and building companies in the biotech industry. Since the formation of MSI, Ms. Harrison has led the business efforts, focused on operations, business development, financial and the patents.

Prior to MSI, Ms. Harrison was a Partner of Ventures West Management Inc. building the company from $70 million under management to $850 million. As one of the most experienced life sciences investors in the Canadian venture capital industry she was instrumental in Ventures West’s involvement in the sector and with companies such as Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., AnorMed Inc., Xenon Pharmaceuticals,

Sembiosys Genetics Inc., Caprion Pharmaceuticals Inc., Celator Technologies Inc., Alder Biopharmaceuticals and Oncogenex Technologies Inc. Ms Harrison has an undergraduate degree in Engineering from Queen’s University and an MBA from McGill University.

 

Paul Hemsley, B.Sc., M.B.A.: Founder and President, Hemmera

Hemmera is an environmental consulting firm specializing in environmental planning and management, site assessment and remediation, and community engagement and social science services. Founded by Paul in 1994, the company has matured into a leading consultancy employing over 250 professionals, with offices in Burnaby, Victoria, Calgary, Whitehorse, and Toronto.

Paul is personally committed to establishing sound and sustainable business practices. He was a nominee for BC Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002, was recognized as a 40 Under 40 Achiever in BC, and holds an MBA from Dalhousie University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Queen’s University.

In addition to his business and leadership skills, Paul is recognized as an environmental assessment specialist with project leadership ranging from contaminated sites to First Nations land development. Paul’s project management experience includes significant marine port developments, as well as wind energy and infrastructure projects across western Canada.

Paul is fully conversant with the extensive provincial and federal regulatory framework related to projects being proposed in Canada, and is also experienced in land use management, having played an integral role in the evolution of public policy and planning since 1990.

 

Scott Phillips, B.A.Sc., Eng.: President, StarFish Medical

Scott holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia. Prior to starting StarFish, he worked in diverse areas such as lithium battery development and manufacturing, UV spectroscopy instrumentation and hi-fi audio speakers. Under his leadership StarFish has grown from being a highly motivated team working on one project at a time to a diverse professional organization with clients around the world and 100% focus on medical devices.

 

Tom Urban, ‎B.A., M.B.A.: Founder, Agribusiness Advisors

Tom began his professional career in investment banking with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 1988.  He subsequently spent 14 years in the agricultural seeds business with Pioneer Hi-Bred and E.I. DuPont de Nemours primarily in Eastern and Western Europe.   In 2004, Tom left DuPont to join the early-stage forestry genetics company, CellFor, Inc. and served as CellFor’s CEO until 2012 when the Company was sold to ArborGen, the market leader in forestry genetics.  Tom founded Agribusiness Advisors in 2013 and is currently working with early-stage companies as an investor and advisor to the CEO and Board of Directors.  The Agribusiness Advisors portfolio includes companies in traditional forestry, precision farming, bio-pesticides, insect protein, teak plantations, cocoa nurseries and industrial enzymes. Tom also serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of British Columbia.  Tom received his undergraduate degree from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

 

Michael Albin, Ph.D.:

Following a Ph.D. in chemistry at Pennsylvania State University and postdoctoral research in biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, Michael worked at SYVA diagnostics followed by fifteen years at Applied Biosystems Inc. rising to the role of VP of Science and Technology, and then VP of Strategic Technologies of the parent company Applera Corp, an S&P 500 company.

As VP of Science and Technology at Applied Biosystems Inc. (now Life Technologies Inc.), Michael was responsible for R&D programs with a budget in excess of US$100 million and overseeing the development of the company’s product pipeline via internal development, investment and acquisition.

In recent years Michael has worked as a private consultant focusing on technical and strategic assessments and the positioning of a wide range of companies in the life sciences, molecular diagnostics, and personalized medicine. In addition he has been appointed to carry out due diligence for venture capital and other investment organizations worldwide.

We’ve prepared a list of frequently asked questions.