Local Biotech firm takes home “OCRI”

Variation Biotechnologies Inc. is named Company of the Year at OCRI’s 14th Annual Life Sciences Achievement Awards Dinner, held Monday night at the Ottawa Congress Centre. Founded in 2001, the Ottawa-based researcher, which initially focused on developing an HIV vaccine, has created “intelligent vaccines” by using a viral genetics database to predict how viruses mutate over time. The awards also honoured four individuals for their work in life sciences. Dr. Syed Sattar, professor emeritus, uOttawa, received the Career Achievement Award for his contribution to the study of microbial pathogens and the development of a world-class environmental microbiology research centre in Ottawa. Dr. Claire-Jehanne Dubouloz was recognized with the OCRI.jpgHealth Innovation Award for opening uOttawa’s groundbreaking, multi-disciplinary teaching clinic. Dr. Andy Adler, an associate professor at Carleton, was given the Dr. Michael Smith Promising Scientist Award for his innovative work in electrical impedance tomography. The honour also took into account his key role in developing the new Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Carleton U’s new master’s program in biomedical engineering. Dr. May Griffith, assistant professor, department of cellular and molecular medicine, uOttawa, and senior scientist, Ottawa Health Research Institute, made off with the Research Award for developing an artificial, polymer cornea to address the worldwide shortage of human donor tissue and reduce the need for live animal ocular irritation testing. Deputy Mayor Jacques Legendre attended the awards to proclaim the week of September 24th National Biotechnology Week in Ottawa. “Research and innovation have played vital roles in the growth and development of Ottawa’s status as a world-class technology centre,” notes Jeffrey Dale, president and CEO of OCRI. “We need to continue to nurture the life sciences sector as it is a key contributor to Ottawa's knowledge-based economy.” With 40 research institutions, including the all-encompassing NRC, the capital is home to the second largest concentration of scientists and engineers in North America, according to OCRI.

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