Volume 93, Issue 37

Thursday, November 4, 1999


Students charged for opt-out

Martin talks money

Biotech receives $20 million fund

Wearing two hats worries teaching association

LSAT's day in court postponed

U of M tenured prof grieves his June dismissal



Caught on campus

Biotech receives $20 million fund

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

Incubators across the province are heating up, thanks to a new fund.

Energy, Science and Technology Minister Jim Wilson announced this week that $20 million will be set aside in a new reserve, entitled the Biotechnology Commercialization Centre Fund, said Mike Krizanc, the minister's communication assistant.

Krizanc explained the money is part of Ontario's SuperBuild Growth Fund, which contains billions of dollars in capital funding to assist a variety of programs.

The Biotechnology Commercialization Centre Fund will allocate money to various biotechnology incubator corporations across the province, Krizanc said. He added London has a huge stake in the new fund as the London Biotechnology Incubator Inc. is the fastest progressing incubator corporation.

A new incubator, to be built at Western's Research Park, will be a facility which houses many new and small biotechnology businesses, by offering office space and research facilities.

Susan Crowley, executive director of the LBI, said the new fund is a positive step towards recognizing a need for small incubator businesses. "The province has recognized for a while there's a gap for funding for small businesses," Crowley said.

Krizanc said the new fund is designed so money will only be granted to the proposals which include partnerships between any two of the following – universities, municipalities, research institutes, private sector partners or trust funds which have legally become corporations.

He added London had the highest stake in the new fund, as the LBI is the most advanced incubator in the province. The partnerships within the incubator include Western, the John P. Robarts Research Institute, the City of London, the Lawson Research Institute and London Health Sciences Centre.

Western's VP-research, Bill Bridger, said the new fund is essential to the incubator. Bridger explained the only money funding the LBI is about $100,000, a collective contribution from all partners. He added the LBI will approach London's Board of Control next Wednesday to lobby for municipal funding.

Crowley said she thinks the chances of getting money from the City are very high. "They've already put us into the draft budget for $5 million." She added as there was no specific fund set up prior to this one, it was up to the LBI to generate funding.

Krizanc said the fund is designed to donate 50 per cent of the money required for incubator projects. "When we evaluate proposals we follow a set criteria based on dollars levied from partners. Most of the funding is through partner interests before we come to the table," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999