OGI supports investment into high risk early stage idea development and commercialization. Investment through the SPARK program was designed to help fund very early stage, highly innovative ideas.
In 2014-2015, three OGI-funded projects in Ontario each received $30,000:
Creating a Non-Invasive Norway Maple
Led by Travis Banks and Darby McGrath of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, this project will initiate work to develop a Norway maple tree that is no longer invasive, in an effort to keep our cities green. Pests and disease are destroying city trees and there are no alternatives suitable to survive the extreme conditions of Ontario urban environments. Having fallen out of favour because of invasiveness, Norway maple was used extensively as an urban tree, which thrives in polluted and compact soils, withstands hot summers and cold winters, and suffers few diseases. SPARK funding will enable DNA sequencing of the Norway maple genome and update methods to identify new Norway maple plants that are unable to create fertile seeds.
OGI's Pre-commercialization Business Development Fund (PBDF) is a unique early stage investment fund that helps companies to test a proof of principle in order to drive the economic impact of outcomes of genomics and proteomics research and technology development. Specifically, it aims to provide early-stage funding as researchers move towards commercial applications and to speed up transfer of products from lab to marketplace. The fund invests up to $100K per project.
ENDETEC, a global company focused on innovative sensor solutions for water safety, in collaboration with Drs. Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz (University of Toronto) and R. Stephen Brown (Queen's University), will develop a DNA biosensor for simple, low-cost, fast, on-site detection of bacteria in water samples. Current culture-based techniques for water monitoring are time-consuming and expensive, which can lead to delayed results and decision making for users that manage water resources. The PBDF funding will support proof-of-concept experiments validating the performance of the DNA biosensors with environmental samples. The first applications will be for recreational water (including beaches) and treated wastewater. "DNA biosensor technology can potentially be a game-changer for water monitoring, providing truly rapid monitoring and expanding the range of organisms that can be detected," said Mr. Doug Wilton, VP Operations for ENDETEC.
Formation Biologics Inc. (formerly AvidBiologics) is an oncology drug development company dedicated to anti-cancer biologics. Through PBDF funding, the company aims to develop AVID200, a novel anticancer agent targeting a protein expressed by a variety of solid tumours including lung, breast, and head and neck. Specifically, Formation Biologics is developing antibodies that are linked to highly toxic chemotherapeutic drugs, and these antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) target a specific cell surface receptor known to contribute to the etiology of various cancers. ADCs can selectively recognize specific proteins in cancer cells without damaging most normal tissues. This type of cancer therapeutic has the potential for superior safety and efficacy compared to older generation treatments. Using the PBDF investment, the company will perform a pilot safety study of this ADC to accelerate their drug development process for AVID200. "We are very grateful to have received an investment from the Ontario Genomics Institute to further development of this important anti-cancer therapeutic," said Ilia Tikhomirov, President and CEO of Formation Biologics. "Programs like OGI's Pre-commercialization Business Development Fund are crucial to the success of early stage biotechnology companies in Ontario," he continued.
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To the Board of Directors of Ontario Genomics Institute
We have audited the accompanying consolidated financial statements of Ontario Genomics Institute, which comprise the consolidated statement of financial position as at March 31, 2015, the consolidated statements of operations, changes in net assets and cash flows for the year then ended, and notes, comprising a summary of significant accounting policies and other explanatory information.
Management's Responsibility for the Consolidated Financial Statements
Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these consolidated financial statements in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations, and for such internal control as management determines is necessary to enable the preparation of consolidated financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements based on our audit. We conducted our audit in accordance with Canadian generally accepted auditing standards. Those standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free from material misstatement.
An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. The procedures selected depend on our judgment, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, we consider internal control relevant to the entity's preparation and fair presentation of the consolidated financial statements in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the entity's internal control. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements.
We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinion.
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of Ontario Genomics Institute as at March 31, 2015, and its consolidated results of operations and its consolidated cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations.
Chartered Professional Accountants, Licensed Public Accountants
July 28, 2015