This Week’s Biotech Highlights

A week full of money: the Ontario Budget was announced Thursday, and it contained about $700 million of spending on innovation, including $300 million for research infrastructure and $250 million for the previously-announced Emerging Technologies Fund. Reactions were pretty positive, but badly in need of a thesaurus. The proof of the pudding is in the allocation though — in terms of benefits for biotech — the first commitment from the $205 million Ontario Venture Capital Fund turns out to be to a new VC that is more interested in software than soft tissue.

Here’s $100 million that is definitely going to biotechnology: Texas announced $50 million of funding for a National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing, but can’t shake anti-stem cell legislators or a creationist curriculum, and Merck KGaA is starting a biotechnology venture capital fund that will invest €40 million in emerging biotech companies during the next five years

In other non-local news, I had tons of fun playing with Google custom maps to do an “around the world” edition of the Wednesday Brain Dump, collecting and mapping some interesting stories from Montréal to Moscow to Montana.

Two things that are coming to Canada:

  1. Takeda Pharmaceuticals is coming to Canada. Takeda Canada will be headquartered in Mississauga and will register and commercialize medicines from Takeda’s portfolio.
  2. Google Streetview is coming to Canada, so don’t do anything in public you wouldn’t want… well, basically everyone to see.

Did that seem off-topic? Well, it turns out privacy and secrecy were highly relevant to biotech this week, with the fairly stunning accumulation of disclosure failures in the pharma industry lately.

That’s it for the highlights this week, but there’s plenty more where that came from: The Cross-Border Biotech Blog.


  1. I don’t know what I would do without Google Maps. I would probably be lost in Mexico by now.