Volume 3, Issue 2 March, 2008
Published by Ag-West Bio Inc.
IN THIS ISSUE:
1: Plant Bio-Industrial Oils Workshop review
2: NRC-AAFC National Bioproducts program
3: Biofuels certification
4: Agrisoma: designing new biofuel plants
5: BioGasol seminar
6: Saskatchewan’s Biofuels and Bioproducts Centre
6: Integrating health policy and innovation
7: Metabolic syndrome
9: In the news
10: Ag-West Bio events
Another energized Plant Bio-Industrial Oils Workshop
On Wednesday, February 27th and Thursday, February 28th, Ag-West Bio and NRC-PBI hosted
the fourth annual Plant Bio-Industrial Oils Workshop, bringing together interests assessing and
pursuing opportunities for industrial uses of plant oils.
The workshop featured a mix of local, national and international speakers discussing scientific,
regulatory and commercial topics. The wide range of topics included: accessing new possibilities
for biodiesel as a platform chemical and solvent; potential bioadvantaged molecules such as
azelaic acid; commercializing camelina as an energy crop; technologies such as Engineered Trait
Loci (ETL) for designing new oil profiles; using new solvent extraction technology; producing wax
esters; non-food uses of palm oil; and replacing fish oil with canola and flax oil in aquaculture
The differences to Plant Made Pharmaceuticals (PMPs) were also covered during a discussion of
the use of safflower as a platform for insulin. In addition, Bill Anderson of Canadian Food
Inspection Agency spoke on CFIA’s general regulatory oversight models that focus on the risk
differences related to the nature of the crop and the end product.
While many speakers addressed specific patented technology, others spoke at a broader industry
level. Speaker Greg Penner of NeoBio, although delighted with scientific achievements shared
during the conference, also challenged the participants by saying, “the big movement isn’t
happening yet.” He sees a lack of corporate vision for the agriculture industry as a whole. However,
it is his personal forecast that the opportunities for the future lay in alcohol dehydration and
Fischer-Tropsch fuels. He encouraged “thinking big” and “thinking long-term.”
Using National Geographic’s October 2007 issue “Growing Fuel” as a focal point, Randall
Goodfellow of Ensyn Technologies spoke of the world’s need to comprehend and assess
“greenness” through Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) rather than blindly trusting company claims. Various
measurement tools, software and databases exist today, claiming to quantify LCA. The question,
however, remains: which tool is the right tool for today and for the future?
The overarching message of the two day workshop was that innovation is about change,
developing partnerships and investing in science, commercialization and enablement. The 120
delegates in attendance were rewarded with plenty of chances to network, learn about new
technology and discuss collaboration projects.
Plant Bio-Industrial Oils Workshop returns next winter. Watch for it!
Update on NRC-AAFC national bioproducts program
by Dr. Roman Szumksi, VP Life Sciences, National Research Council
NRC’s Strategy, “Science at Work for Canada”, recognizes environment, sustainable energy, and
health and wellness as the three highest priorities for Canadians. By focusing on
bioproducts/biofuels, NRC determined it could help address those first two priorities. So, in
partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, it has established the National Bioproducts
As there are no “new” federal resources this is a “collaboration” program. No one organization in
Canada is big enough, or rich enough, to tackle these issues on its own. We need to collaborate
and work together across the country, to ensure that we have the critical mass to tackle these large
national priorities. The AAFC-NRC National Bioproducts Program will facilitate such collaboration.
It is necessary to focus our resources as well. Accordingly NRC and AAFC have decided to
establish one large-scale multidisciplinary, multi-party project in each of the following four areas:
1. Chemical and ethanol production from lignocellulosic materials derived from forestry and/or
2. Biomaterials and bio-polyols, which will provide environmentally friendly products for the
automotive, aerospace, construction, and plastics industries
3. Use of biomass and municipal waste to produce energy and chemicals through anaerobic
digestion and gasification
4. Establishing a Canadian capacity to produce biodiesel mainly from marine algae
NRC and AAFC will provide Lead Project Directors to develop one project for each of the four R&D
areas. These Directors will solicit engagement from partners to ensure we have the necessary
resources to work as a country on achieving common objectives. As much as possible, the projects
will be built around existing activity.
Participants in the projects will all want to have a positive impact on three Canadian priorities (the
environment; sustainable energy; and rural revitalization) within a short time frame and will
recognize that by pooling their resources they can collectively increase the chances for a positive
Because having a positive impact on the environment, sustainable energy and rural revitalization is
a priority, emphasis will be given to efficient and affordable transfer of intellectual property to the
industrial sector for its rapid implementation and commercial use.
Projects will be focused, for the most part, on shorter term results – in a three to five year time
period – and will be undertaken with integrity and a social conscience. We cannot think that simply
by using biomass as a starting material, we will have a net positive impact on the environment,
rural revitalization, or sustainable energy. We have to be cognizant of the full impact of our
Dr. Szumski, VP Life Sciences (NRC) is confident that as we move forward we will develop
solutions that are right for Canada and which will establish us as a truly conscientious global
player, while at the same time allowing Canadian companies to succeed in the global marketplace.
Biofuel certification – real reduction in environmental impact
by Monique Wismer, M.Sc. and Darren Anweiler, M.Sc.
Saskatchewan Research Council
Are biofuels sustainable? Depending on which week you read the paper, the answer to this
question may differ. With increasing funding and policy development directed towards biofuels, the
issue of sustainability is becoming increasingly critical.
Major headlines have been devoted to the European Union (EU) lately, as they step back and
reassess whether or not biofuel policies are really going to achieve what they hope – to decrease
the environmental impact of transportation fuels. On January 14, 2008, the EU Commissioner for
the Environment acknowledged that “the environmental problems caused by biofuels and also the
social problems are bigger than what [he] thought they were.” That same day, the Royal Society
issued a report saying the UK government has to rethink its biofuel policy, since it does not ensure
that biofuel use will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And to think that just a couple of
years ago biofuels looked like the perfect way to cut GHG emissions from the transportation sector.
Biofuels, as compared to fossil fuels, involve a number of trade-offs: carbon benefits versus other
environmental benefits; export development versus food security; smaller-scale systems that
stimulate rural development versus efficient large-scale production. To further muddy the situation,
the degree to which these factors are an issue varies depending on the technology platform
implemented, feedstock used, and location of the biofuel production plant.
The fall-out from the realization that not all biofuels are created equally is the concept of biofuel
certification. Ideally, biofuel certification would take into consideration not only environmental
criteria, but also social and economic indicators. The European Commission has stated that biofuel
certification should focus on quantifying the life cycle, or “well-to-wheel” GHG emissions to promote
those biofuels offering cost effective GHG emission reductions. The Biofuel Assurance Scheme
being developed by the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership will likely become the model
considered. Under the scheme, planned to begin in April 2008, suppliers will be required to report
on GHG savings and the sustainability of biofuels. Biofuel producers may choose to supply eligible
renewable fuel to customers and be issued renewable transport fuel obligation certificates,
“RTFCs,” buy RTFCs from other suppliers, or pay a buy-out price.
While biofuels may not be the panacea some are looking for, a biofuel certification program would
go a long way to ensuring the use of biofuels results in real reductions in environmental impacts.
As one would expect, the EU headlines have caused a ripple effect, and now Canada is talking
about biofuel certification. Canada is in a good place to look at certification because we are still in
the initial stages of biofuel policy development. So, what to do? What Canada needs is a common
framework based on a systemic process (i.e. life cycle) to address the economic, environmental
and social factors which will ensure biofuel development moves forward in a sustainable manner.
Agrisoma: Designing new plants for biofuel
As the world struggles with the dilemma of food vs fuel, greenhouse gas emissions and high
petroleum costs, Canadian-based Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. is working to resolve that struggle.
Biotechnology has already increased crop yields and has improved the economics of crop
production, GM crops have gained wide acceptance, with over 114 million hectares under
production by more than 12 million growers world wide. As the need for renewable fuels becomes
greater, Agrisoma is using these same tools to develop crops (including canola and soy)
engineered specifically for biofuel production. These new crops will provide the alternatives to
using food crops as sources for renewable energy.
Steven Fabijanski, President and CEO of British Columbia-based Agrisoma explains, “The
renewable fuels industry began by using commodity food crops as a source of feedstocks. Food-
grade corn, canola and soy are being used as feedstock for biofuel manufacturing which adds to
the cost of biofuels and links food and nutrition to fuel. As the industry grows, dedicated biofuel
crops will enable the energy industry to create its own value chain independent of the food chain.”
Agrisoma has focused on the development of dedicated biofuel crop varieties through its patented
Engineered Trait Loci (ETL) technology. ETL allows the assembly of engineered multi-gene
activities in crops. Agrisoma is using the power of its ETL technology to efficiently re-program the
synthesis and accumulation of plant oils designed for biofuel manufacturing. Additional proprietary
technology allows further improvements to increase productivity and yield. The combined
technology re-programs oilseeds to attain both oil yield and oil chemistry ideally suited for energy
or renewable manufacturing.
The company is focused on developing crop varieties that produce oils capable of being used to
replace petroleum for fuel, manufacturing and other applications. “Plants, and in particular plant
oils, were the precursors to current petroleum reserves, new technologies to modify the
biosynthesis of plant oils is capable of producing plant oils that can directly displace petroleum
sources.” says Fabijanski.
As the need for renewable fuels grows, manufacturers will need both a steady, dedicated supply of
manufacturing feedstock (or oil), as well as an oil with a chemical profile optimized for efficient
manufacturing. Biodiesel is a current opportunity that will benefit from this engineering approach.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the United Sates, the perfect feedstock
for biodiesel manufacturing is a 100% blend of monounsaturated fatty acids. Using its ETL
technology, Agrisoma has been able to rapidly engineer plants to have a monounsaturated content
of 80% and the company is aiming for a 90% level. Monounsaturated fatty acids, in particular long
chain fatty acids, are optimal for manufacturing biodiesel because they produce good cloud point
and low temperature performance. By increasing the levels of monounsaturates, levels of
polyunsaturates become negligible, creating an oil with greater oxidative stability that allows a
biodiesel to be made that will not gel or clog filters and has good cold weather performance, even
at high blends.
Agrisoma plans to produce varieties that provide high yields of these optimal oils. With high
performance oilseeds dedicated to biofuel applications, a new value chain will be developed that is
not directly linked to the food chain, enabling new opportunities for growers and processors. The
company clearly defines its new crop varieties are not food crops. ETL reprogrammed crops are
designed as a source of uniform feedstock suitable for manufacturing and not designed for
nutritional purposes. An industrial-end use feedstock is anticipated to be approved by the biofuels
industry and accepted by producers as the feedstock does not enter the food vs fuel debate.
Agrisoma begins its field trials for its new crop varieties in 2008 and hopes the seed will be
available to farmers by 2010. As the company focuses on obtaining regulatory approval in both
Canada and the United States, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States
Department of Agriculture have the regulatory oversight to ensure environmental safety and
performance and the process may have some bearing on the estimated timeframes. Agrisoma is
working to meet all the regulatory requirements. Through relationships with producers, Agrisoma
will be a partner in the production and sale of biofuel oil to biodiesel refiners. Agrisoma intends to
participate in the ultimate production of its varieties and be a dominant supplier of new crops
dedicated to renewable energy.
“We see this ETL technology as the underpinnings of a very big change in agriculture and its
contribution to the economy,” says Fabijanski. “Our domestic food production capacity continues to
grow and we tend to export much of that production as grain. That will remain important. But the
energy opportunity allows further value to be realized at home. We see this opportunity for
agriculture as big as the opportunity that has been realized by Alberta’s energy sector. By using an
oilseed platform and developing oils that provide a high energy content and compatibility with
existing fuel needs, Canada can become strategically positioned to supply the growing demand for
alternative fuels for both domestic and global markets.”
Agrisoma conducts the majority of its research and development in two locations – Saskatoon and
Ottawa. In Saskatoon, Agrisoma occupies a facility in the Industry Partnership Facility of the Plant
Biotechnology Institute of the National Research Council, where much of its biofuel-related
technology is directed. Agrisoma’s Ottawa agreement is with the Eastern Cereals and Oilseeds
Research Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where the technology is applied to other
crops including soybean and corn.
Danish lesson: BioGasol seminar
Ag-West Bio Inc. was pleased to host a Saskatoon seminar and motivational message from Niels
Langvad, Business Development Manager of Denmark’s biotechnology and engineering company
BioGasol. BioGasol is one of a handful of companies globally at the cutting edge of
commercializing cellulosic ethanol production.
In late January, BioGasol and its U.S. partner Pacific Ethanol received a $24.3M USD contract
from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant in
Boardman,Oregon. The Oregon plant will use BioGasol technology developed at the company’s
Danish pilot plant facility which has successfully produced ethanol from wheat straw, coffee husks,
eucalyptus wood and corn stover. In the announcement, the U.S. Department of Energy
announced a total of $114 million for four small-scale biorefinery projects as part of the country’s
goal of making cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive by 2012. (The only other non-USA-based
company making the list was Vancouver-based Lignol Energy Corporation receiving $30M USD
along with project partners.)
BioGasol’s success comes from the technology’s cost efficiency and flexibility. While maximizing
the output of biofuels and minimizing wastewater disposal, the technology converts carbohydrates
in the biomass to bioethanol. To date, BioGasol has successfully tested its technology on a variety
of biomass options. When asked about the technology’s effectiveness on flax or canola, Langvad
laughed that he had heard much about these Saskatchewan crops and would put them to the test.
Much of the appeal of BioGasol’s technology is its ability to use a variety of biomass options
around the world.
The patented process starts with pretreatment of the biomass, to begin release of C5 and C6
sugars. Once the hydrolysate is cooled, enzymes are added and mesophilic fermentation occurs.
Solids are separated at this point, mostly lignin, and are used to form energy biopellets. From
there, the process continues to another reactor where thermophilic fermentation takes place at
70ºC, producing additional ethanol. Biogas production occurs at the third and final anaerobic
digestion reactor, expelling methane and some hydrogen. Flexibility exists in the system, as energy
demands of processes are such that either the biopellets or biogas can essentially drive the
process and the products of ethanol and either energy pellets or methane can be sold (or applied
to the grid). The technology has applications as a bolt-on application to existing plants or as a
stand alone facility once the technology is further developed and scaled-up.
Based on tests at the company’s 100mn pilot plant, BioGasol can produce bioethanol for $0.35
USD per litre, based on feedstock purchases costing $55 USD per tonne.
BioGasol has held firm objectives. It first scaled up its lab early in the decade. By 2006, the pilot
plant was operating. The company now plans to develop demo plants between 2008 and 2010,
working toward industrial scale commercialization in 2011.
Over 60 people attended Langvad’s talk at Innovation Place, all pleased for the opportunity to learn
from this Danish success story. Demark will host the next United Nations Climate Change
Conference in Copenhagen 2009, where BioGasol’s technology will no doubt be proudly on display
to the world.
Saskatchewan Biofuels and bioproducts centre funded
On Friday, February 22, 2008, Ag-West Bio became a recipient of $257,180 from Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program.
Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost made the announcement on behalf of the Honorable Gerry
Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. The
ACAAF program, administered in Saskatchewan through Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan,
encourages new opportunities and innovative ideas leading to an improved agricultural economy.
The $257,000 allows Ag-West to establish a Biofuels and Bioproducts Centre. “The Centre,
although not a ‘bricks and mortar’ centre, will operate as an industry development centre,
assembling research teams to exploit Saskatchewan’s natural advantages in biomass and in
delivering technology solutions,” said Ag-West Bio Board Chair John Hyshka in receiving the
Ron Kehrig, Ag-West Bio Vice President, Biofuels and Bioproducts, will act as the Centre’s
Director. “Our aim is to facilitate project and operational support toward successful
commercialization,” he explained. “A steering committee representing the U of S, SRC, POS,
AAFC, PBI and the Sask Biofuels Development Council was struck following last year’s Life
Sciences Sector Study compiled by the Conference Board of Canada. Based on those findings, the
Centre will focus R&D efforts in the specific strategic areas of oilseeds, thermal biomass
conversion, carbohydrate bioconversion and fibres. It will work with private and public interests and
research groups to align and assemble efforts to strategic commercial opportunities.”
“The Government firmly believes that continued investments in research are critical to this
[agriculture] sector’s long-term success,” said Mr. Trost. “Projects like these are key to opening up
new doors for the agricultural industry in Saskatchewan and across the country.”
Integrating health policy and innovation
by Darcy Pawlik, M.Sc.
The Canadian system for approving health claims in foods is in urgent need of improvement. With
global access to information, consumers demand fast access to safe products they know exist in
other jurisdictions. The Canadian government’s slow and unpredictable regulatory framework
should be streamlined to the benefit of society.
New food products, novel ingredients and the complex web of their effects on physiology are
incredibly complicated. The ability of regulators to keep up is limited due to costs and access to
expertise. Politicizing the conundrum is a commitment to include consumer input.
Engaging consumers in policy development inevitably slows the process of creating a more
efficient system. Although there is always room for social debate, Canada is struggling to keep up
with the worldwide knowledge-based economy, and time is of the essence for regulatory reform to
improve our position.
If the complexity of technological innovations out-paces consumer access to health products due to
onerous regulations and the immense costs associated, business will head south. A logical
conclusion suggests governments would want to deliver access in order to limit health care costs,
improve citizens’ livelihoods and encourage home-grown businesses to thrive. Unfortunately,
taking into account the benefits of technology are not a criterion for evaluation.
Solutions don’t have to be as complicated as the regulations. Continually assessing regulatory
change in a directed method with emphasis on risk characterization and realization of the benefits
is necessary. Acknowledging our small market and limited resources – both financial and human –
is crucial. We can’t do it all; there is room for cooperation with U.S. counterparts and international
organizations such as the FAO, CODEX and WTO.
Productivity loss to the U.S. due to Canadian regulatory burden is no longer acceptable. Although
Canadians are suspicious of too much government interaction across borders, they are not
opposed to collaboration with America. Aside from outspoken citizens who cry conspiracy at the
drop of hat, our trust for American regulations is exemplified by the purchase of U.S. goods by
To remedy the system, investment in science and technology capabilities by the federal
government is necessary. A science-based regulatory structure ensures a strong comprehension
of risk-benefit regulation, allowing governments to make intelligent decisions. As long as risks are
minimized, access to healthy products for consumers should be a given.
A streamlined approach to introducing healthy foods and ingredients with advanced health
characteristics needs to be employed. We need to encourage the government to engage with
industry in order to understand why they are frustrated and leaving Canada. Growth of the industry
will increase the uptake of home-grown products, while reducing the cost and burden to our health
These goals can be achieved through harmonization, increased efficiencies within the regulatory
system and by assigning reasonable time constraints for regulatory oversight and greater
transparency. If consumers were aware Canadian regulations are stringent and antiquated, and
only focus on uncertainty and risk, not benefit, maybe reform could be realized. Consequently, we
would gain access to useful functional foods, natural health products and new food innovations
available to others around the globe.
When raising the question of the consequences of non-action in smart regulatory reform,
the EACSR argues that “without change, [the regulatory system] will limit Canadians’
access, for example, to new medications, cleaner fuels and better jobs. An outdated system
is an impediment to innovation and a drag on the economy because it can inhibit
competitiveness, productivity, investment and the growth of key sectors.”
External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation, Smart Regulation, p. 10.
“Smart Regulation does not diminish protection, as some may fear. It strengthens the
system of regulation so that Canadians can continue to enjoy a high quality of life in the
21st century. The committee believes that regulation should support both social and
External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation, Smart Regulation, p. 9.
Saskatchewan focuses on pre-diabetes
by Lisette Mascarenhas, PhD, MBA
There are several chronic diseases afflicting human beings today. Some of these diseases are
more prevalent in the general population than others; these are asthma, coronary artery disease,
diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis,
epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and others. A recently published article indicated that in excess of
six million adult Canadians between the ages of 20 and 64 are obese1. Obesity is typically
reported as a function of body mass index or percentage of body fat. Obesity is associated with a
significant risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), hypertension, dyslipidemia, sleep apnea, high blood
pressure, heart disease and some forms of cancer. In the U.S. alone in the year 2000, the
estimated total cost of obesity was $117 billion. In Canada, the cost of diabetes is 10-15% of the
total healthcare budget.
The condition known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes is one that precedes, as the name
suggests, type 2 diabetes (T2D). Metabolic syndrome is characterized by insulin resistance, i.e.,
inability of the tissues of the body to respond properly to insulin. It is usually associated with
abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, atherogenic dyslipidemia and systemic inflammation.
Major contributing factors to developing metabolic syndrome are a genetic predisposition, physical
inactivity and excessive body weight. People with metabolic syndrome are at risk for developing
T2D with all its associated complications including coronary heart disease, kidney disease, eye
disease, and periodontal disease. Metabolic syndrome is a chronic disease that is generally
preventable and, when present, can be manageable using dietary and other lifestyle changes.
Across the world about 230 million people are diabetic, and the number of diabetics in Canada
appears to grow steadily. According to a study published by the Canadian Obesity Network using
data collected in 2005 it was noted that among the four western Canadian provinces
Saskatchewan had the highest percentage of people living with diabetes. In the case of T2D,
several approaches are in vogue, although undoubtedly physical activity and good nutrition are
claimed to be essential elements to preventing obesity and managing diabetes.
Recently, Ag-West Bio secured federal financial support to review the metabolic syndrome space
in Saskatchewan, provincial strengths in research, infrastructure and product or process
developmental activities relating to metabolic syndrome amelioration in Saskatchewan.
Commencing with this article, we are launching a three part series focusing on type 2 diabetes and
the types of activities that are underway in Saskatchewan in terms of company presence and
activities, research activities and research groups, and the global companies that are focused on
Scientific literature presents evidence that a number of ingredients derived from agricultural
commodities such as whole grains, whole pulses, soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, select fatty
acids and resistant starches have applications in the metabolic syndrome area. Several
Saskatchewan companies produce and market such ingredients; for example, Can-Oat Milling,
FarmPure Family of Companies, InfraReady Products Ltd., CanAgra Technologies Inc., CanMar
Grain Products Ltd, and Northern Quinoa Corporation market whole grains such as rye, wheat,
oats, barley and flax. Similarly, Emerald Seed Products produces and markets soluble fibre from
fenugreek seeds that induces satiety, and reduces caloric intake, and Parrheim Foods markets
insoluble fibre from peas that promotes good gut health and regularity. Saskatchewan’s own
Bioriginal Food and Science Corporation produces fish and plant based omega -3 fatty acids which
are purported to influence glucose and insulin homeostasis. In addition, Bioriginal produces
conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) which aids in body weight management, decreased fat mass and
maintenance of lean body mass. While most of these Saskatchewan companies are global
companies, some operate within the domestic market. Interestingly enough, most of our companies
market their products as food ingredients, and rarely as nutraceuticals. There are a number of
companies in Canada, U.S. and Europe which market similar ingredients to the global companies,
such as ADM, BASF, DSM, Nestle, Cargill, Bayer, Kellogg, Quaker Oats, Pepsi-Co and Danone.
While some ingredients for the diabetes market may come from other regions, there are
ingredients that are unique to Saskatchewan and the prairies.
Today’s consumers are well-informed, and seek well-defined, inexpensive, practical and user
friendly solutions to their nutritional and general health problems or needs. Needless to say all
innovative products that reach the health and wellness market and capture market share from
competition must firmly be rooted in sound science and business principles. So, are you curious
about how many of our Saskatchewan companies actually conduct in-house science and how
many out-source their scientific research to researchers in Saskatchewan? While this information is
not clear (due to confidentiality reasons) from this study, what we know is that there are
researchers at the University of Saskatchewan’s Pharmacy and Nutrition, Medicine
(Pharmacology; Community Health and Epidemiology; Family Medicine) and Biochemistry who are
engaged in diabetes related research.
More to come in the next issues!
1 Tessis, R. 2008. A Weighty Issue: Weighing the pros and cons of weight management retailing.
Integrated Health Retailer 7(3): 50-53.
In the News…People
John Gordon is the new director of the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in
Agriculture (CCHSA). He was recruited from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM)
where he continues to serve as a co-chair of the Immunology and Infectious Diseases Research
Jerome Konecsni, president and CEO of the federal granting agency Genome Prairie, will
move across the University of Saskatchewan campus July 1 to take over the Plant Biotechnology
Institute, the National Research Council’s marquee scientific establishment in Saskatoon. more
Andrew Sharpe has accepted the position as Research Officer and Leader of NRC-PBI’s
DNA Technologies Laboratory, effective January 28, 2008. Andrew brings excellent experience in
DNA sequencing, microarrays, TILLING, and molecular marker development in plants. more
Barry Skorobohach has joined POS Pilot Plant as the new Manager, Quality Assurance,
Safety, and Environmental Affairs. Barry brings to POS Pilot Plant wide ranging industry
experience, including quality assurance management positions with Bioriginal Food and Science,
Vita Health products, Banner Pharmacaps, and Abbott Laboratories. more
A team of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan has isolated a gene that has
never before been identified. A study led by U of S biochemist Hong Wang and microbiologist Wei
Xiao says the gene will help plants resist environmental stresses, such as ultraviolet light. More
In the News…Companies
The clients at Saskatchewan’s two research parks and the Forest Centre in Prince Albert
contributed more than $592 million to the provincial economy in 2007 according to a recent
economic impact study, an increase of 5.5 per cent from last year. more
Bioriginal Food and Science Corp. and Arcadia Biosciences Inc. have formed a
partnership to sell oil made from Arcadia’s genetically engineered safflower. Under the agreement,
Arcadia will produce safflower oil with high levels of gamma-linoleic acid and Bioriginal will have
exclusive marketing and sales rights. more
Bio-Extraction Inc. concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Viterra to enter into a
supply agreement for the supply of canola seed to the BioExx Saskatoon extraction facility. Viterra
will supply 40,000 metric tones of Number 1 canols on an annual basis. more
The University of Saskatchewan will lead a $25.5-million national Centre of Excellence for
Commercialization and Research aimed at fast-tracking vaccine development for diseases of major
public health concern. The Centre will be known as the Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise
The Nipawin Biomass Ethanol New Generation Co-operative (NBEC) has signed a
memorandum of understanding with the Saskatchewan Forest Center to ensure a long-term fibre
source for the NBEC. more
Saskatchewan Research Council and Prevtec Microbia Inc., a Québec-based animal
health company, recently received Canadian Food Inspection Agency approval to produce and
market Coliprotec, a vaccine that controls a common disorder in pigs. more
Innovation Place has been named one of Canada’s Top 25 Best Small and Medium
Employers. The award recognizes outstanding Canadian employers that have highly engaged
employees, relative to the other organizations surveyed. more
Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud awarded $8.23 million in funding for 58 agricultural
research and development projects through the province’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).
In the News…Updates
Biofuels projects in Saskatchewan will now have an easier time accessing government
funding, thanks to new changes to the Saskatchewan Biofuels Investment Opportunity (SaskBIO)
Starting and running a business in the City of North Battleford just became easier thanks to
BizPaL, a new online business permit and licence service that saves time on paperwork and helps
entrepreneurs start up faster. more
The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the
Canadian Wheat Board, announced the full removal of kernel visual distinguishability (KVD) as a
variety registration screening criterion for all classes of Western Canadian wheat as of August 1,
In the News…Finance
Bill Thomlinson, executive director of the Canadian Light Source was beaming after finding
out the federal government’s 2008 budget set aside $10 million to help with the facility’s operating
Four new research projects at the University of Regina will receive more than $500,000
through the Innovation and Science Fund. more
The Canadian Light Source (CLS) will benefit from $1.196 million in federal funding to
acquire new equipment that will further solidify the CLS’s reputation as a world leader in
synchrotron technology. more
The Government of Canada is investing $665,551 in four innovative projects through
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF)
program that will allow farmers to take advantage of new and innovative market opportunities.
The western Canadian biodiesel industry will receive a marketing boost with a $330,000
investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada. A new market development program is
being implemented to increase public and business awareness and demand for biodiesel. More
Ag-West Bio Events
Improving Human Health II: Metabolic Syndrome Workshop
April 24-25, 2008 at the Delta Bessborough Hotel, Saskatoon, SK
Ag-West Bio has lined up a stellar speaker list for this workshop scheduled for the spring.
Keynote speaker is best selling author and media personality, Leslie Beck, one of Canada’s
leading nutritionists. As a bonus, Jayne Clendenning (Calamity Jayne) will present a “laughter
yoga” session during the workshop!
For program details and information about the speakers, go to the event website:
REGISTER ONLINE or by calling 306-975-1939.
Current Issues in Protecting and Commercializing Biotechnology
April 17, 2008
Brought to you by the Gowlings Life Sciences Industry Group and Ag-West Bio Inc., this seminar
will deal with a variety of issues, such as copyright, due diligence and changes in patent rules. The
seminar will take place at VIDO Auditorium, 120 Veterinary Road, Saskatoon, SK.
CLICK HERE to register, or send an email to email@example.com
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As part of our commitment to monitoring and improving services, we are conducting an on-line
survey to gather feedback regarding our communications vehicles. Please take the time to fill out
this short survey... it’s quick and easy, and the information we receive from your responses will
assist us in identifying areas that can be improved, so we can serve you better.
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Join Ag-West Bio today!
Support Saskatchewan’s bio-economy. Contact Breanne Cirkvencic for details about membership
Ag-West Bio Inc. Board of Directors
Chair: John Hyshka, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Phenomenome Discoveries Inc.
Abdul Jalil, Director of Research Branch, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Pete Desai, President, Desai & Desai Inc.
Ian McPhadden, Producer
Kevin Gellatly, VP, Alliances, Performance Plants Inc.
Karen Chad, Associate VP Research, University of Saskatchewan
Susan Milburn,VP and Branch Manager, Raymond James
Ron Styles, President & CEO, Crown Investments Corporation
Joe Vidal, President & CEO, Bioriginal
Calvin Sonntag, President, Philom Bios Inc.
The Bio-Bulletin is produced by Ag-West Bio Inc. Ag-West Bio offers the Bio-Bulletin at no cost.
Please fax your requests to: 306-975-1966, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit:
Editor: Deb Shutiak, Communications Director, Ag-West Bio Inc.
101-111 Research Dr., Saskatoon, SK Canada S7N 3R2
Tel: 306-975-1939 Fax: 306-975-1966
Readers wishing to have their comments considered for inclusion are encouraged to submit less
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information. We reserve the right to edit for length.
Funding for Ag-West Bio is provided by Saskatchewan Agriculture.