Biotech Industry Recognises Its Top Performers: Gold Leaf Awards Honour Canadian Biotech Innovation

OncoGenex, CO2 Solutions, iCO Therapeutics, industry leader Murray McLaughlin honoured with prestigious annual awards.

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- BIOTECanada will formally present the 2010 winners of the prestigious Gold Leaf Awards, tomorrow afternoon, during the BIO International Convention in Chicago. Nominated and judged by biotechnology industry leaders, the awards honour companies and individuals in Canada’s biotech industry whose demonstrated innovation and financial success in 2009 best reflect the vital contribution biotech is making to the growing global bio-economy.

Vancouver’s OncoGenex, took top honours as company of the year. “With significant financial and product milestones during the 2009 economic downturn, OncoGenex is a perfect example of the drive and talent of Canadian firms,” said BIOTECanada Chairman, Brad Thompson.

The early stage company award in the health category went to iCo Therapeutics, a drug developer focusing on innovative reformulations of existing products, and, in the industrial and agricultural category, to CO2 Solution, whose carbon dioxide management enzyme technology is revolutionizing the carbon capture market.

“Both of these firms are stellar examples of Canadian innovative thinking, research and development expertise, and a business acumen that saw them reach significant development milestones even during a challenging economic period,” said BIOTECanada President and CEO, Peter Brenders. “Their technologies are solving critical global problems, and, once commercialized will make a significant contribution to Canada’s bio-economy.”

The association also awarded a national industry leadership award to Dr Murray McLaughlin. With a distinguished career in Canada’s biotech sector, Dr. McLaughlin has been a member of most of Canada’s main funding agencies, associations, and companies in agricultural, industrial and health biotechnology - from East to West. Today, Dr. McLaughlin is the founding President and CEO of the new Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, dedicated to the next stage of biotech innovation in chemistry.

An award for association leadership went jointly to Ms. Karen Burke and Mr. Jim Willoughby for their work with Canada’s government on an introductory path for subsequent entry biologics.

Awards are judged by the BIOTECanada board of directors on the basis of strict criteria. The awards are presented annually by BIOTECanada.

For more details about the award winners visit: Background material attached.


Media Backgrounder 2010 Gold Leaf Award Winners – Background Quotations

Company of the Year – OncoGenex

“We are honoured to have received this prestigious award from BIOTECanada,” said Scott Cormack, President and CEO of OncoGenex. “2009 was truly a transformational year for the company and we look forward to further progress in 2010.”

Early Stage Company of the Year – Health – iCo Therapeutics

"The past year was a pivotal year for iCo and we are very excited to receive this award," said Andrew Rae, Chief Executive Officer of iCo Therapeutics. "We are grateful that BIOTECanada and our Canadian biotechnology community chose to recognize the work that we do. As our pipeline continues to develop, we expect to advance our lead, iCo-007, into additional clinical trials and iCo-009 into further early staged studies."

Early Stage Company of the Year – Industrial & Agricultural – CO2Solution

With global interest in the contribution biotech innovation can make to the environment growing, CO2 Solution is honoured to be recognized by the industry for our unique carbon capture technology,’ said Glenn Kelly, President and CEO of CO2 Solution. “2009 included key growth milestones for us, and we are positioned for further growth and partnerships in 2010.”

Industry Leadership Award – Dr. Murray McLaughlin

“Throughout my career, I have been deeply devoted to promoting the value biotechnology offers to the future of the chemical field,” said Dr. McLaughlin. “It is a great privilege to be recognized by the industry in this way, and I look forward to continuing to work with Canada’s biotechnology leaders as we build the bio-economy.”

Contribution to the Association Award – Mr. James Willoughby, Hoffman La Roche and Dr. Karen Burke, Amgen

“Working with the industry on this critical issue has been a rewarding, if sometimes challenging, experience,” said James Willoughby, co-recipient of the contribution to the Association award. “I would like to thank BIOTECanada, my peers, and my co-chair Karen Burke for this recognition, and look forward to continuing our drive to ensure Canadians benefit from public policy that keeps pace with innovation and enables patients to access the best medicines science can offer."

“I am immensely proud of the progress we have achieved and am honoured to be recognized by the industry,” said Dr. Karen Burke, “I look forward to continuing in the spirit of cooperation, to ensure subsequent entry biologics in Canada are governed by a framework that protects patient safety and gives industry surety.


BIOTECanada is dedicated to the sustainable commercial development of biotechnology innovation in Canada. It is the national industry-funded association with over 250 member companies representing the broad spectrum of biotech constituents including emerging and established firms in the health, industrial, and agricultural sectors, as well as academic and research institutions and other related organizations.


Kasia Majewski
Cell: 613-219-2770
[email protected]

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