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LifeSciences BC names recipients of 2008 awards


Vancouver, BC – LifeSciences British Columbia has announced the recipients of the 2008 LifeSciences British Columbia Awards (previously known as the British Columbia Biotechnology Awards).

The recipients include:

Dr Don Riddle Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence. Dr Riddle, professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC, is a pre-eminent life sciences scholar focused on C.elegans, a microscopic free-living worm (nematode) that possesses only 959 somatic cells, but shares many of the essential biological characteristics central to human biology.

Pyng Medical Corporation, David Christie, President & CEO. Medical Device Company of the Year Award. Pyng Medical Corporation is the developer and manufacturer of the proprietary, award-winning FAST1 Intraosseous Infusion System. With expanding markets in North America, Europe and Asia, the product has worldwide application for use with hospitals, emergency medical services and military forces.

Bob Rieder, Chairman and CEO, Cardiome Pharma, Executive of the Year Award. Mr Rieder has led Cardiome Pharma since 1998 and has driven the development of multiple drug programs, including vernakalant, Cardiome’s lead product candidate for the treatment of atrial fibrillation.
The company is a product-focused cardiovascular drug development company with two late-stage clinical drug programs focused on atrial arrhythmia (intravenous and oral dosing), a Phase 1 program for GED-aPC, an engineered analog of recombinant human activated Protein C, and a pre-clinical program directed at improving cardiovascular function.

Dr Bernie Bressler & Dr Roger Foxall, Lifetime Achievement Awards. Dr Bressler has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to life sciences research and has a passionate belief in the value of commercializing intellectual property from universities and research hospitals. During his tenure as vice president of research at the University of British Columbia (1996-1999), he was actively involved in the growth of the University Industry Liaison Office, which has become a world leader in development and management of technology transfer and biotechnology spin-offs. It is because of his foresight and leadership in this area that UBC scientists are amongst the nation’s leaders in translational medical research. Since 1996, he has served as a board member of Discovery Parks , and in 2007 was appointed chair of the Board of Discovery Parks and Discovery Parks Foundation.

Dr Foxall was instrumental in mobilizing the nascent genomics community leading to the establishment of Genome British Columbia, one of six centres across the country funded partly by Genome Canada through Industry Canada. In serving as its founding president and CEO through 2002 and subsequently as its executive vice president research and executive vice president corporate development until 2005, he demonstrated leadership in initiating global and Canadian partnerships between universities, research centres, governments and the private sector. Dr Foxall then established Life Science Strategies and has worked with numerous organizations across Canada specializing in strategic analysis and consultation in genome sciences, marine biosciences and other areas of life sciences.

Dr Martin Taylor, Leadership Award. Dr Taylor began his career as an assistant professor in geography at McMaster University in 1974 after completion of his PhD at the University of British Columbia. His key career legacy is the demonstrated value of interdisciplinary inquiry which led to the creation of several institutes and departments demonstrating that philosophy. In 1994 and 1995, Dr Taylor served as McMaster’s acting vice-president research and in that role established the Institute for Water, Environment, and Health. He was then recruited to the University of Victoria in 1998 as its first vice-president research. During his tenure, until 2007, research programs experienced growth from $20 million to $100 milllion. This expansion also saw the creation of major national research platforms including NEPTUNE Canada, the world’s first regional cabled deep ocean observatory and VENUS, its sister coastal observatory.

Lignol Energy Corporation, Ross MacLachlan, president and CEO, Emerging Life Sciences Company of the Year Award. Over the past three years Lignol Energy, of Burnaby, BC, has emerged from being a predominantly R&D organization into one that is approaching commercialization of its unique biorefinery technology. Lignol’s technology is now at the forefront of the highly visible and rapidly developing biofuels-from-cellulosic-biomass industry, which has the strong support and encouragement of governments and major corporations around the world. Lignol has established a new Biorefining Technology Development Centre at the BCIT campus in Burnaby.

The awards are presented annually by LifeSciences British Columbia to recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the development of British Columbia’s life sciences industry, and to increase public awareness and understanding of life sciences in the province. This year’s awards will be presented on April 10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver.