Kick-start for Canada's agbio
News Nov 09, 2009
John Hodgson, Nature Biotechnology 27, 970 - 2009
Bioenterprise Capital will
be run by experienced entrepreneurs and investors rather than bankers,
says Dave Smardon, president and CEO of BioEnterprise Corp of Guelph,
Ontario, Canada, one of the entrepreneurs involved. "There were 173
venture capital and angel investor groups active in Canada in 2001," he
says, "but there are now only 30."
Furthermore, virtually all the capital has migrated towards investment in late-stage, lower-risk companies, in information technology, telecommunications and medical applications. The fund managers will take an extremely hands-on approach to their investments, a form of "quasi-incubation" according to Smardon.
To date, over 40 industry and investment mentors have
joined the cause. "The presence of people who know how to make
companies succeed means that we're not picking winners, we are building
winners," says Smardon. The fund is expected to close in September
2010, with money coming from private investors, government agencies and
Approximately half will come from within Canada, and half from international sources. Government participation is expected to be below 20% of the fund's total. One private investment group has already stepped up with a CAD$25 million ($24.3 million) cornerstone.
In a new study in cells, University of Illinois researchers have adapted CRISPR gene-editing technology to cause the cell’s internal machinery to skip over a small portion of a gene when transcribing it into a template for protein building. This gives researchers a way not only to eliminate a mutated gene sequence, but to influence how the gene is expressed and regulated.
Researchers published today a detailed description of the complete genome of bread wheat, the world's most widely-cultivated crop. This work will pave the way for the production of wheat varieties better adapted to climate challenges, with higher yields, enhanced nutritional quality and improved sustainability.