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Mississauga : Innovation + Job News

53 Mississauga Articles | Page: | Show All

Biopharmaceutical company Eisai to establish Canadian HQ in Mississauga with staff of 11

Late last month, the provincial government and Esai Inc, a Japanese-based biopharmaceutical conglomerate, announced that the company will establish a Canadian headquarters in Mississauga. The expansion of Esai's operations will see the company invest $15 million in the region, supplemented by a provincial government grant of $2 million. What is now a one-person operation will add 11 new staff over the next five years.

Eisai first announced its expansion into Canada just over 15 months ago. Then, the company's chairman Hajime Shimizu said the Canadian operation would anchor an expansion of the Esai's marketing of its drugs in Canada as it embarked on a substantial expansion of its activity here. In a statement on the recent headquarters expansion announcement, Esai Canada president Takihiro Hirasawa said the company selected Mississauga as its headquarters because of "its exceptional talent pool, comprehensive research and clinical trial resources and unique global connections and partnerships."

The GTA centre will be conducting clinical trials and introducing the company's range of medications to Canada, including those to treat Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and breast cancer.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Lauren Tedesco, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Trade; Lynn Kenney, senior director, U.S. corporate communications for Eisai; Manufacturing Chemist

Pharmaceutical giant Roche Canada to invest $190 million in Mississauga R&D facility, hire 200

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Roche Canada will invest $190 million to construct a new research and development facility in Mississauga, the company announced last week. According to information sent in an email by Corporate Affairs Manager Mike Vesik, "The Mississauga site will coordinate the execution of global clinical trials both within the Roche affiliate network that support more than 60 countries world-wide, and as outsourced trials working with Contract Research Organizations."

"We are extremely pleased to bring global Pharmaceutical Development opportunities to Ontario," Roche Canada President and CEO Ronnie Miller said in his announcement. "We have built a respected clinical expertise within the Roche global network, and this new capability will firmly establish Roche Canada, and the province of Ontario, as a global hub for life sciences and biopharmaceuticals."

The facility will be one of six global research centres for the company, developing new medicines, taking them through testing and trials and bringing them to market. The company estimates the facility will create 200 new jobs through direct employment. Vesik says that the jobs be for both scientists to lead and manage clinical trials and for support staff, and adds that the talent pool in the GTA and the area's school's is one of the key assets of the plant's location.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Mike Vesik, Roche Canada

Local inventors win Ontario Water Innovation Award for most efficient toilet in the world

The Proficiency ultra-high efficiency toilet is the most water-efficient toilet in the world, requiring just three litres of water per flush (versus the standard high-efficiency level of 4.8 litres, and previously standard levels of 6 litres or 13 litres per flush). It was invented in the GTA by the firm of Hennessy and Hinchcliffe and is distributed by Mississauga's WaterMatrix.

Recently, this homegrown success in sustainable washrooms was recognized by the provincial government with an Ontario Water Innovation Award. Rock Rotman of WaterMatrix says that this latest in a long string of awards for innovation is significant because it comes from the government. "It's validating, especially when you've got the government onboard, because they're the ones who can really help promote this, he says, pointing to regulations in various jurisdictions that require high efficiency in toilets and rebate programs that reward homeowners who replace lower-efficiency models.

WaterMatrix has distributed the Proficiency since its launch two years ago, Rotman says, and they've seen the market growing as environmental awareness grows and the stigma attached to older models of efficient toilet -- which were known not to work as well -- fades.

Rotman says the benefits of conservation are not just government recognition and environmental good feelings: those who replace even a six-litre model with a three-litre one see savings in water usage of 33-44%. And as the world market for water heats up and conservation efforts force prices higher, the market for this local innovation will only grow, he says.

Writer: Edward Keenan

Source: Rick Rotman, Marketing Communication Coordinator, WaterMatrix

Mississauga's MedX Health buys innovative MoleMate diagnostic tool

Mississauga'a MedX Health has announced the purchase of Siascopy, including its proprietary non-invasive imaging system MoleMate for diagnosis of dermatalogical issues such as moles and lesions. MoleMate has already received approvals in the United States, and MedX intends to begin marketing and sales of the product to American physicians within a matter of weeks.

"The FDA approved MoleMate Skin Imaging System is a significant advance in the early detection of potentially life threatening moles and lesions. Physicians have also found the hand-held device easy to learn and use, and that it rapidly provides accurate images of the pigment, blood, and collagen below the mole or lesion. Now, for the first time, physicians can more accurately evaluate suspicious moles and lesions in a non-invasive, pain-free way. Experts also believe it may reduce the need for time consuming and expensive biopsies," Steve Guillen, President and CEO of MedX Health Corp, said in his statement announcing the purchase.

MedX is a 12-year-old company that designs, manufactures and distributes a range of light- and laser-based non-invasive therapeutic tools, including "laser accupuncture" treatements marketed for addiction therapy, dental, vetrinary and arthritic and muscle therapies.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Steve Guillen, President and Chief Executive Officer, MedX Health Corp.

GalaxoSmithKline will expand Mississauga plant, create 70 new jobs

GalaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced an expansion of its Mississauga manufacturing facility that will see more than $33.6 million invested in expanding the pharmaceutical company's production. The plant already employs more than 300 staff, and the expansion, according to a company spokesperson, will see 70 new jobs created at the facility.

The global pharmaceutical giant has had a presence in Ontario for more than 100 years, and manufactures pharamaceutical "foams,
ointments, lotions, liquids and other niche products" here, according a statement by GSK VP of Global Manufacturing and Supply Sue West. The expansion will introduce production of carvedilol tablets, zanamivir dry powder inhalation and new dermatological products.

In addition to more than $30 million in investment from GSK, the project is receiving a grant of $3.6 million from the provincial government. "GlaxoSmithKline's efforts to create a global centre of innovation here in Mississauga will create and protect hundreds of jobs," said Innovation Minister Glen Murray in a statement.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Ralph Benmergui, Office of Minister of Innovation Glen Murray

Local solar power companies AMP and Potentia team up to land 20-year school board contract

A contract awarded to AMP Solar LP, a joint partnership between Port Credit's AMP Solar Group and downtown Toronto firm Potentia Solar to provide rooftop solar installations on 450 Toronto schools is "history making," according to AMP Solar Group president Dave Rogers, who reports that his company is honoured to have received the award.

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) representatives, in a release announcing the project, agree, noting that at 66 megawatts, the size of this project makes it the largest rooftop educational solar project in Canada and leads the way for institutional North American projects to come. TDSB Director of Education Chris Spence calls the project "groundbreaking."

The project will retrofit school roofs that are due for repairs with solar panels that will in turn feed into the grid, their energy sold to the provincial electricity provider under the province's FIT program. The program costs the school board nothing, as it is financed through the sale of the energy produced.

Writer: Edward Keenan

Source: Steve Shaefer, AMP Solar Group

Fire prevention tool earns Mississauga's Pioneering Technology a small business innovation award

Mississauga's Pioneering Technology has been recognized as one of the leading innovative small businesses in Canada by the 2011 Innovations@Work Awards handed out by Rogers and Profit magazine. The awards recognize Canadian companies that have fewer than 20 employees--in the words of the organizers, "the only award of its kind in Canada, it celebrates the next generation of innovative small companies whose big ideas move their businesses and their industries forward."

Pioneering was recognized for its Safe-T stovetop cooking system, which is designed to prevent cooking fires, the leading cause of household fires in Canada. According to a recent profile in Profit, the system was designed in 2000 by Indian-born former NASA engineer and Pioneering founder Reza Shah after a small cooking fire in his own kitchen almost bunt down his own home. The element shuts itself off if it reaches a temperature higher than 350 degrees celsius and keeping the power off until they have cooled down.

After initially encountering resistance in the market, the company shifted its marketing focus substantially in 2006 and 2007. The changes brought success--the company has now reported a profit in six consecutive quarters.

Pioneering CEO Kevin Callahan greeted the innovation award as evidence the years of hard work are paying off. "We have worked hard to develop and bring some of our innovative product solutions to market. We have done a lot of heavy lifting ... and we are now seeing the benefits."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Kevin Callahan, CEO, Pioneering Technology; Profit Magazine

SmartSoft Technologies opens Toronto sales and support office to serve North American demand

SmartSoft, a European-based card-payment company that serves the global banking industry has made the GTA a prominent part of its plan to ramp up North American business. With a strong base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, CEO Ayse Nil Sarigollu said in a release, "We see a tremendous need for our award-winning payment solutions in Canada and the USA and our rapid growth in the region supports this notion." As such, the company is making a "significant investment" in opening two sales and support centres in North America, one in Portland, Oregon, and the other in Toronto.

Greg Smith of SmartSoft said that the company chose to spearhead its North American expansion from Toronto because of the strong partnerships the company already has in place here, and said there would be a number of jobs created by the new office.

The company specializes in the design, manufacture and marketing of card payment systems and software for the global banking and payment processing industry.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Greg Smith, SmartSoft

Growing exercise empire Fit Chicks adds 4 new locations (including one in Mississauga)

When we last wrote about the Fit Chicks fitness empire one year ago, the workout training company had expanded to reach 15 locations in the GTA since its launch in 2008. Co-founder Laura Jackson told us then that she expected the company to keep on growing, and the activity in the twelve months since has borne out her prediction.

Last week, the company announced the launch of four new locations -- one in Vancouver, one in Calgary, one in Ottawa and one in the GTA, in Mississauga -- bringing the total number of locations now to 28. In almost doubling in size over the past year, the company has gone national, opening gyms in Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver for the first time.

The business was founded by Jackson and Amanda Quinn, who say they've "been besties since grade nine" in 2008 to fill a hole they saw in the fitness market. The concept is a series of "bootcamps" run by fitness instructors focused on a challenging but achievable workout that also gave women (or "chicks," according to company lingo) education about how to live healthy. As part of a plan to expand into merchandising and larger scale wellness, the company recently introduced a "High Intensity Hottie" workout video that is now included with bootcamp registrations.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Laura Jackson, Head Chick, Fit Chicks

SunEdison gets the go-ahead for new solar plants in Mississauga, Whitby, will create 250+ jobs

Late last month, the Ontario government approved five new solar installations for SunEdison across the province that total 31 new megawatts of projects. Two of the projects are located in the GTA -- 500 kW rooftop projects in Mississauga and Whitby.

Jason Gray, SunEdison's Canadian manager, says the recent approvals increase the company's total solar production (either completed or in the pipeline) in Ontario by a little more than one-third. Since arriving in Toronto in 2007, the company has quickly taken advantage of the province's Feed-in-Tariff program to grow.

Gray says that since each installation employs roughly 125 people at its peak of construction, the two GTA projects will create 250 construction jobs locally. But he points out that the job benefits in the GTA are greater than that. "This really reinforces our relationships with suppliers that we've set up," he says, "and sustains the manufacturing jobs we've set up here." He points specifically to the arrangements SunEdison signed last year with auto parts manufacturer Samco to provide racking equipment (creating 60 jobs) and with Newmarket's Flextronics to supply the panels (creating 100 jobs).

Gray says, "this points to the continued success of the FIT program to create a solar industry here in Ontario, in that it reinforces the manufacturing investments we've made in the province."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Jason Gray, Canada Country Manager, SunEdison

Mississauga's Amorfix sees breakthrough in Alzheimer's diagnostic test

When we reported on Mississauga's Amorfix Life Sciences and their quest to cure cancer, ALS and Alzheimer's in July 2010, the company had just made a financing breakthrough that would allow them to more aggressively pursue their research. Early this year, the company saw a breakthrough in their research [PDF] into diagnosing Alzheimer's that has the potential to change the industry.

The diagnostic test is able to show the presence of protein fragments that could allow easier diagnosis of the disease. Currently conclusive diagnosis is only available after death through examination of brain tissue. Amorfix's new test uses spinal fluid, and eventually President and CEO Robert Gundel says they would like to be able to conduct the test using blood samples.

"Our hope is to one day be able to use this test on patients showing early signs of dementia in order to predict which patients may progress rapidly into the disease and which may not," Gundel says. He says that initially the test will be applied to clinical research groups, since the current method of diagnosis by checking symptoms creates a very high rate of false diagnoses (as much as 30% or more). The findings of the test could also help advance the research of those creating treatments for the disease.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Dr. Robert Gundal, President and CEO, Amorfix Life Sciences

$3.07 million provincial investment will create 27 jobs at Concept Plastics

Concept Plastics, a manufacturer of food packaging and car mats (Canada's only source of the latter) will be getting an injection of capital to fuel innovation from the provincial government. A $3.07 million grant from the Ministry of Economic Development announced earlier this month will finance new equipment for the company's production line, including upgrading the process to allow the innovative injection of PVC powder. The improved process should lower costs by about 40 per cent and ramp up production for the Mississauga company.

According to company President Kiran Kulkarni, the investment will allow the company to be far more competitive internationally, which he expects to lead to significant growth, especially in the auto market. As Canada's only manufacturer of car mats, the company is hoping to claw some market share in a sector reported to be worth $50 million annually in Canada, and more than a quarter billion dollars per year in the US. The investment is projected to add 27 new jobs to the company's current staff of 26 over the next five years.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Leigh-Ann Popek, Ministry of Economic Development; Kiran Kulkarni, Concept Plastics

Mississauga's Hydrogenics leads alternative fuelling world, gets Turkish fuel station contract

Recently Jon Dogterom, the resident cleantech expert at MaRS, wrote a blog post about the consistent superiority of hydrogen fuel cells as a sustainable energy source, and noted that "Canada has long been regarded as the worldwide leader in hydrogen technology -- a position we will need to maintain as the rest of the world starts to recognize hydrogen as a superior energy carrier." Dogterom singled out Mississauga's Hydrogenics as a likely key company in helping us maintain that position.

The GTA company is a world leader in the hydrogen fuel industry -- they've been at it for over 50 years -- with offices in five countries. In mid-January Hydrogenics announced that they had landed the contract for a hydrogen fuelling station in Instanbul, Turkey, the first in that country. Hydrogenics has landed five such contracts in the past year, and Hydrogenics President and CEO Daryl Wilson says that the number -- such stations are competitive in price with traditional gas stations at $500,000 to $2 million each, plus architecture and construction -- will likely continue to grow. "There's a hype cycle for new technologies," he says, when they become trendy in the press. Wilson notes that when that cycle arrived for hydrogen fuel in the 1990s, the industry was not yet developed enough to deliver on its promise. "Now we've reached the point where the cost side and the performance add up to commercial application that are viable. That's taken the past 10 years." Unlike conventional stations, of course, hydrogen stations, once built, manufacture the hydrogen on the premises from water and electricity.

Wilson points to a European transportation study announced in November 2010 that concluded hydrogen fuel cell technology was a key part of the continent's car production future -- and significantly, predicted that the cost of hydrogen fuel would be equivalent to gasoline and electricity by 2025. Wilson says the industry has already seen the infrastructure being set up for a hydrogen fuelling network in some locations -- Germany plans to construct 1,000 such stations across the country, of which Hydrogenics have built both of the two so far completed, while Hydrogenics has built eight refuelling stations in the Los Angeles area. Of the 220 hydrogen fuel stations in the world, Hydrogenics has build or is building 40 of them.

"This highlights the strength of Hydrogenics," Wilson says, "and the respect we have when it comes to hydrogen generation technology and hydrogen fuelling stations."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Jon Dogterom, MaRS; Daryl Wilson, Hydrogenics

Ratesheet.ca adds auction innovation to mortgage shopping

In the internet age, bidding has gone way beyond its roots at online auction site eBay. Consumers now expect to see competitive bids on everything from travel at Travelocity.ca to car insurance at Toronto-based InsuranceHotline.com to cellular phones at Toronto-based mycellphonemyterms.com.

Last week, the launch of Mississauga-based Ratesheet.ca brought the same principal to the mortgage market. "The website eliminates the need to visit mulitple offices and agents in person to obtain rate quotes," says company president Vik Palan. Instead, applicants submit their information at the Ratesheet website and multiple mortgage brokers bid with the lowest interest rates they're able to offer. "The website strives to make the process of securing a mortgage hassle-free," Palan says.

Palan notes than in addition to being a benefit to consumers, his innovation also offers mortgage brokers a pool of leads who come to them online without any marketing. As the site launches, 369 brokers are currently listed with them. A review mechanism on the site allows consumers to rate various brokers they've encountered through the site, which can help further serve the site's users and help brokers build credibility.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Vik Palan, President, Ratesheet.ca

Mississauga's Holcim, U of T and the province team up to test new enviro-friendly concrete

Portland-limestone cement (PLC) has been used in Europe for over 25 years, according Paul Ostrander, president of Mississauga-based cement manufacturer Holcim Canada, but it has never before been tested in Canada. This despite some strong sustainability points to recommend it: it generates lower greenhouse gas emissions in its manufacture than regular Portland Cement, and up to 10 per cent fewer carbon dioxide emissions.

So Holcim Canada has recently teamed up with researchers at the University of Toronto and the provincial Ministry of Transportation to run two trials on PLC in actual road projects. Video of the test is available to watch here.

According to U of T professor Doug Hooton, the testing has already shown a 33 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and there is no expected reduction in durability or effectiveness. The University of Toronto will be monitoring the trial sections over the next three years to evaluate its performance.

Holcim Canada currently employs 3,500 people in manufacturing products for the construction industry. In addition to it's Mississauga plant, it also owns a manufacturing facility in Joliette Quebec.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Junaina Saulat, Holcim Canada
53 Mississauga Articles | Page: | Show All
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