The announcement of InNOVAcorp's new BioScience Enterprise Centre on the Dalhousie campus was compared to a wedding celebration. Assembled guests gathered Tuesday morning in a lecture hall in the Rowe Management Building to mark the "marriage" of the centre with the previously announced Life Sciences Research Institute.
The LSRI will be built adjacent to the Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building on Dalhousie's Carleton campus, with a completion date of spring 2011. InNOVAcorp's BioScience Enterprise Centre will be a tenant in the new building.
“I propose a toast to a long and fruitful relationship with lots of descendants,” said Jacquelyn Thayer Scott, chair of InNOVAcorp, in a video message.
Kicking off the celebrations was Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald who had the cheque for the newlyweds. Through its crown company InNOVAcorp, the province committed $1.6 million a year for 20 years to fund the initiative.
“Life sciences is one of the fastest-growing sectors in our region’s economy,” said Premier MacDonald, who said he was making the announcement with “absolute glee.”
“It has tremendous potential not only to create employment and attract investment, but also to improve the quality of health care and life for Nova Scotians.”
InNOVAcorp’s BioScience Enterprise Centre is now located on the Halifax waterfront. Although the new location will not expand on its space, the true benefit is being in closer proximity to Dalhousie researchers and students at the Life Science Research Institute, which will be the new home for the Brain Repair Centre and other medical research facilities.
“In these days of sophisticated communications, there is something to be said for the chat over a cup of coffee or at the water cooler,” said Dalhousie President Tom Traves.
It’s exactly those connections that keep companies like Ocean Nutrition Canada rooted to Nova Scotia. Every month, people from other countries attempt to lure the highly successful nutritional supplement company away from the province with carrots like tax breaks or employee rebates.
But the company, which was developed by Dalhousie researchers at a lab in the Tupper Building and nurtured through the support of InNOVAcorp, isn’t interested in moving.
“You must have a community. This kind of industry cluster collaboration was crucial to our growth,” said Robert Orr, company president.
Ocean Nutrition Canada produces Omega 3 EPA/DHA ingredients from fish oil and supplies them to the dietary supplement and health-food markets. The 10-year-old company employees 400 people, including more than 100 researchers with science degrees from Nova Scotia universities. Last year, its export revenues topped $100 million.
Dan MacDonald, president and CEO of InNOVAcorp, says the crown corporation was established by the province to build Nova Scotia-based high-tech companies in the life science, clean technology and information technology sectors. It "incubates" businesses by offering physical space, business services, investment capital and mentoring support.
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