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Archive for September, 2010

By Jeremy Grushcow

Adam Feuerstein at TheStreet.com reports on a draft FDA notice for a planned November meeting on implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, which was passed as part of the healthcare reform legislation.

The BPCI Act (42 U.S.C. 262(k)(8)) provides for the FDA to author guidance “with respect to the licensure of a biological product” — pretty broad, so we’ll have to stay tuned for the actual meeting notice. However, the legislation provides some hint in permitting “product class-specific guidance” specifying criteria that will be used to determine whether a biological product is highly similar to a reference product in such product class.

If the FDA decides to move ahead with product class guidance, it would likely specify the criteria that will be used to determine whether a biological product meets the standards for “interchangeability”.

In other cases, the FDA may determine that “the science and experience [to date] … with respect to a product or product class … does not allow approval of a [biosimilar] for such product or product class.”

Bottom line: following the FDA’s November meetings, biosimilars will be one step closer in the U.S.

Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Dev Basu

If you’re frustrated with your Adwords and need customer support, what’s an SMB to do if they can’t find that information easily? Google hasn’t won any customer service awards recently, but over the years they have improved the level of service from being non-existent to being somewhat hard to find. Here are three resources to get in touch with them, in order of the shortest response times:

Google Adwords Chat Support

Get in touch with an Adwords rep after filling in information regarding your campaign and your particular adwords issues. Service is generally very fast, and most reps are transparent and provide insightful advice on your account. Email transcripts are also available. If a rep is unable to solve your issue on the spot, they will take down your details and contact you with a specified time frame.

Here’s the link to  Google Adwords Chat Support

Google Adwords Forum

The forum is the best place to get multiple opinions on your Adwords issue from other users and Google staff alike. It’s also a good place to learn tips and tricks related to Adwords.

Here’s the link to the Google Adwords Help Forum

Google Adwords Feedback Form

Sometimes you’ll notice a competitor having ads up that are against the TOS or ad guidelines. If you’re up to complaining about these slipping through the system, you can use this feedback form.

What to Do When All Else Fails

Hire an Adwords Qualified consultant or company to review your account, suggest changes, and either restructure it to improve performance or manage it on an on-going basis. You can find a list of qualified partners through the Google Adwords Partner Search.

Reposted from Powered By Search

Dev Basu is a Toronto based Search Engine Optimization, Local Search, Internet Marketing, and Social Media Expert. Dev is the founder and CEO of Powered by Search, an internet marketing agency based in Toronto. He blogs on the topic of Local Search and Small business marketing at his personal blog, Search Marketing Insights.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Sheldon Leiba

Mississauga’s downtown core is taking on Sheridan College’s motto, “shine brighter”, as construction of Sheridan’s third campus is underway just north of the Living Arts Center. Construction of the campus comes after both the Provincial and Federal governments contributed $31 million dollars in funding to Sheridan, with $15 million to be raised through fundraising and other sources, that we hope our corporate sector will generously support.

The new campus will accommodate 1,700 full-time students upon completion of phase 1 next March, and grow to accommodate 5,000 students.   The campus will provide day, night, weekend and continuing education courses, and will have a special concentration on business education and provide a range of services and programming that will help foreign-trained professionals prepare for employment.

Aside from transforming Mississauga’s city center, having Sheridan in the heart of Mississauga will give the city new energy and vibrancy.  Sheridan President, Jeff Zabudsky, has commented that the campus will be a welcoming space for the entire community with the inclusion of park like settings in its design.  Most importantly the campus will serve to solve a greater problem, the skills shortage and workforce issues that Mississauga has now and will continue to have in the future.

In the short term, construction of the new campus has created jobs for those involved in the construction, while in the long term many of the students who attend the Mississauga campus will be able to work for over 50,000 businesses that call Mississauga home. Sheridan’s presence will be essential to Mississauga’s economic development and growth, as it will provide businesses with an enhanced pool of educated and skilled labour.

This is just another good news story that we should all be proud of, that contributes to Mississauga being a great city to live, work,  play, pray and to be educated.

Sheldon Leiba is the President & CEO of Mississauga Board of Trade, Mississauga’s leading business association. Mississauga Board of Trade represents businesses in all industry sectors. Visit www.mbot.com.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and David Pascoe, VP at Magna E-Car Systems, will be delivering keynote speeches on the headline topics at the Innovation 2 Growing Globally event at the Mississauga Convention Centre on October 5th.

The event provides opportunities for entrepreneurs and business leaders to learn how to grow their businesses through innovation in manufacturing, international trade and partnerships. It also addresses the growing need for Canadian firms to bolster international trade with developed and emerging economies in order to boost innovation, an area in which Canada is lacking.

Attendees will learn how to adopt innovation into their companies, via presentations such as “Thinking outside the Box” by Jayson Myers of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, and “Solutions through Research” by John MacRitchie of Ontario Centres of Excellence. Mr. MacRitchie’s presentation will cover, “the importance of innovation when ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option.”

The Industry Champion panel will share best practices and techniques by experienced business leaders who have had successfully implemented innovation to grow their business.  The panel includes:

The event will also include a presentation by key service providers who specialize in assisting SMEs in exporting and entering international markets. Among the presenters are Export Development Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

The Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre and the Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT) are jointly hosting the forum from 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Registration is $75 and includes breakfast and lunch. There will also be a trade show featuring resources and programs to support innovation and international trade.  Register at www.innovate2global.com. The event will run from 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at a cost of $75, which includes breakfast and lunch.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Jeremy Grushcow

A story by Xconomy’s Sylvia Pagán Westphal recently highlights a new approach to technology transfer licensing being taken by UNC Chapel Hill’s Office of Technology Development: The Carolina Express License.

At first glance, the agreement looks, as Westphal puts it, “not very sweet for the university.” UNC takes 0.75% of any exit transaction, but no equity, no milestones and only a 1% or 2% royalty. Here’s Westphal’s description of the UNC approach (including a witty juxtaposition of religious imagery):

“They call it the holy grail of tech transfer, though critics, I reckon, think of it more as heresy. Either way, it’s gutsy.”

Count me in the group that considers it tech transfer Nirvana.

Why? Maximizing revenue from individual licenses is the wrong priority for University tech transfer. As UNC’s Cathy Innes says:

“Where we hope to gain is that if we get a lot of companies started, more of them will be successful and have more products on the market, so we’ll be more successful…”

The University of California tech transfer system calls this the “Home Run Model,” (pdf) recognizing that even with 420 companies founded and 800 products on the market, nearly half of all licensing revenue comes from the top 5 products and the top 25 accounted for 75.6% of all 2009 licensing revenue. If more companies are started, there’s a better chance one of them is the home run.

Here’s another reason: easier licensing negotiations mean more sponsored research, and sponsored research is way bigger than licensing. For example, the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation took in $7 million in licensing revenue in 2008; but nets $500 million annually in sponsored research. Even tech transfer powerhouse Stanford takes in almost 7 times more money from industry-sponsored research than it does from licensing (PowerPoint). A small increment in sponsored research would easily offset the marginal licensing revenue sacrificed in UNC’s template.

Since December when the Express License was introduced, it has been used to found 6 companies out of UNC. Whether these six succeed or fail, I bet every person involved — the P.I.s, the founders and the funders — will be more likely to work with UNC again than if they had negotiated an individualized license. Westphal quotes Lita Nelsen, director of the Technology Transfer Office at MIT as saying the University license “is not the hard part of the problem,” but the UNC model sounds vastly less painful than every tech transfer story I’ve heard or been involved in.

Bottom line: a better tech transfer experience = an easier start-up = more companies = more sponsored research = more tech transfer wins. Here’s hoping that UNC’s Express License goes forth and multiplies.

Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By David Crow

Boris Wertz asks where are all the Canadian super angels?

“So when I check Angellist, the most important directory of angels in North-America and Europe, I only find 3 Canadian angels (of a total of 350 registered on the site), two in Vancouver (Danny Robinson and myself) and one in Edmonton (Kevin Swan).”

While Angellist is not the comprehensive list of global angel investors, it is the best list of Internet and mobile investors around. It has folks like:

There are angel groups in Canada. You can see the great work that our friend Bryan Watson at the National Angel Capital Association is doing to educate and advocate for angel investments, they provide a great list of angel groups in Canada. There are the efforts of groups like Maple Leaf Angels and the work of Randall Howard with the Golden Triangle Angelnet. And you can see the work that ad-hoc events like Founders and Funders to connect angels with emerging technologies and early-stage companies and founders.

However there are less well know angels like:

The thing that makes Angellist so amazing is the self-service nature of first person connection. You don’t need to know the right people. It provides one click, direct access to the key players in the economy of emerging companies. It’s something that is missing from the Canadian scene. The best part of Angellist is that Nivi and Naval validate and reference check all of the angel investors, so the wannabes are edited out. This is an edited list of the best angels actively doing deals.

Here’s hoping that more Canadian angels take the time to complete their Angellist profile.

Reposted from StartUp North

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. At Microsoft Canada, he is responsible for helping Canadian start-ups gain access to software, support and visibility in the Microsoft ecosystem through programs like BizSpark (details at microsoft.com/bizspark). David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Etienne Bruchet

Anyone looking to innovate within their organization or industry might be forgiven if he or she got a headache trying to follow the so-called ‘rules of innovation’. This is mostly because these very rules have a tendency to contradict one another.

Want a good idea? Have a lot of ideas! Don’t waste time on a couple of ideas and end up out of the loop! On the other hand, too many ideas can spread resources too thin. Allowing a thousand small initiatives to pop up, as the Economist notes, can leave managers constantly “sorting through the chaff to find a few grains of wheat.”

Innovation is change; it’s radical and random by definition. It necessitates risk-taking. And yet, the most successful innovators are the ones who do not go headfirst against the mould. The firms with disruptive ideas are often the ones headed to bankruptcy (like the early dotcom firms). As Richard Watson notes in his piece on the ‘Rules of Innovation’, the most profitable innovations are inherently conservative, and it’s often “the companies that avoid radical innovation that win in the longer term.”

As both Mr Watson and the Economist note, larger companies are more likely to be successful innovators. This is largely due to their vast resources, which gives them the power to invest to pursue ideas. It is also due to their focus on efficiency and incremental progress, which allows them to innovate slowly without getting too far ahead of the curve and scaring off the “fundamentally change averse” market.

But, at the same time, innovation can just as much be beginner’s luck, according to Business Week. A larger company tends to attract the risk-averse rather than rule-breakers, and this tends to mean it will hire experts within its own industry to find ways to innovate its operations or systems, or solve its problems. It would seem illogical and risky to hire someone who is markedly inexperienced in your field to be in charge of moving it forward. And yet, there exist dozens of examples of innovation originating from people who had little to no previous experience in the industry (eBay, Netflix, etc.). This does help to support the notion that innovation is random.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, there are still tips (if not rules) that companies can follow to help boost their chances at successfully innovating. Collaborating with other firms and bringing in people from various fields brings new perspectives and greater overall knowledge capital to the firm or project. The myopia of experts (“…can’t read the label if you’re sitting in the jar”) within the field limits their chances at substantial or revolutionary innovation by restricting an outside perspective.

By using experts from outside your industry, the paradigms of your industry are challenged and you likely get more unique solutions from your problems.

You may well be injecting some beginner’s luck into your own company.

Etienne Bruchet is a University of Toronto student in the Communications, Culture and Information Technology program. He is currently completing his Specialist major in Digital Enterprise Management. He works as a Webmaster and Marketing & Communications intern at the RIC Centre.

LINKS:

Why Innovation is Beginner’s Luck

The Innovation Machine

Rules of Innovation

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Jeff Bowman

The frequency of sales have increased over the past several years since the economic slowdown reared its ugly head. More specifically, the usage of the word “sale” has increased by businesses of every product or service imaginable.  The degree to which the price has been reduced or in proper terms the perceived value proposition has increased for the buyer is sometimes questionable.  The “sale” is more often a factor of the marketing mix designed to stimulate the buyer.  The standard marketing mix has been around for decades, The Four P’s.

Kotler’s Black Box Model took this many steps forward to include internal and external stimuli, as well as decision influencers. Click on for better view

The word “sale” falls under the promotion area of the marketing mix, and then influences the perception. It is our perception of what a sale is that drives us to purchase.

To most a sale indicates something is cheaper than the normal price, or the retail price, which is usually heavily marked up anyways.

To others a sale may mean the end of a certain product’s life cycle and the clear out in anticipation of something new such as 2010 model cars. No matter what it means, we now feel pressured to buy and then feel good about saving money.

Paul Harrison, in his post Sale – Read this post, now! defines the reaction to a sale more clinically.

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex , which is the part of our brain that handles rational thinking, deduction, and abstract thought, requires a significant amount of energy to fire up. So when we see a sale, we give more weight to that particular stimuli, and trust that we will be rewarded for responding.”

I was recently lured to not just any sale, but a “warehouse sale” expecting all sorts of bargains since my perception was thousands of items at unbelievably low prices, shipped in from hundreds of stores. (My imagination is fueled by sales!) I was disappointed.  It turned out to be  a large room full of a single manufacturer’s product stacked high in boxes and bins. The prices were more expensive than if I bought the same products on sale at any store, however people had carts full, simply because they perceived that a bargain was to be had.

In one row there were several bins marked $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00.  When I inquired, I was told there was no mixing and matching, even though they were all the same price, made by the same company. I felt like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, but I moved on.  I walked around for fifteen minutes, then I left with nothing, however I had the same feeling as if I had scored a bargain.

When you see that big SALE sign, control your impulses and check things out as an educated consumer! The “sale” may simply be a company selling you.

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Jeff Bowman is a Sales and Marketing Specialist with The Marketing Pad Inc.. Follow Jeff’s blog at Blogpad or visit www.themarketingpad.com.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Knowlton Thomas

High fashion runway shows have always been exclusive, with their deliberately few tickets distributed carefully to fashion editors, celebrities, and affluent buyers.

But, like so many other things in life, technological advancements—and the internet, of course—have changed the playing field substantially for high fashion.

This season, things are looking up for the average joe who wants a taste of the opulent world of crocodile skin handbags and cashmere-lined trench coats: numerous high fashion labels are letting technology and the internet cast transparency on the iron-gate fences that once barred the non-elite from passing through.

Gucci, as a starting example, will be allowing anyone to sign up to view their Fall runway shows online. Betsey Johnson will be showing its shows live online, and even giving web watchers a view of the backstage frenzy that goes hand-in-hand with any runway. And Alexander Wang is getting creative—after it live streams its runway shows, it will project videos based on them across Manhattan billboards. Marc Jacobs is yet another label streaming live online. In fact, in just a couple of seasons, web streaming could be a standard feature for shows, not an exceptional bonus.

But it is perhaps the distinctly British brand, Burberry, that’s pushing the boundaries of runway innovation.

Burberry is using a similar technology to Armani Exchange’s, which uses Ottawa’s Overlay TV to allow people to click hotspots on a photograph of a fully outfitted model to see more info on specific items and buy them right off the digital mannequin. The Burberry twist involves inviting thousands of people to a variety of Burberry stores, where they will watch the runway show on huge, high-def televisions—and be able to order merchandise as it comes on-screen via an iPad app.

“Technology is the enabler,” Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer at Burberry, told the New York Times. “This gives them an opportunity to feel that energy and feel the attitude of what you’re working on. I find it incredibly liberating.”

And liberating it is, for both the company and the consumers. Burberry is active on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, engaging consumers and fans—but it still never offers sales or discounts, keeping its crown of luxury in tact. That’s the key balance for these luxury brands: opening up their world to the everyday public, without losing that essence of exclusivity that defines the strength of their brand.

Reposted from Techvibes Media

Knowlton Thomas is the Associate Editor of Techvibes Media. He is also the Web Editor of The Other Press, a weekly newspaper, and a regular columnist for them as well.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Bryan Watson

I always enjoy reading articles from the Harvard Business Review and today was no exception, when I came across the article, If You’re the Boss, Start Killing More Good Ideas, which examined idea generation and pursuit. The article primarily deals with creative teams, the ideas they generate and the reality of implementation. What is that reality? There are simply not enough resources or focus to implement all the ideas that are generated in a company. Certainly not the bad ones, and generally not many of the good ones either! A great quote that describes this is:

It turns out, however, that the best-managed enterprises don’t just recognize the flowers among the weeds; they mow down a lot of the flowers, too.

There is a tendency to want to chase after and monetize all of our different ideas, but with finite resources this is impossible. As this article suggests, one should employ at least two filters on ideas. First throwing out the bad ideas, and second tossing out “the good ideas that aren’t quite good enough to justify a thinner spread of resources, a greater diffusion of focus, and possibly a more complex customer experience.”

This is especially true for startups. You have to be ruthless with your ideas and stay focused or pivot based on new learning that tell you one of your ideas is better to pursue! I have seen too many companies try to do too much and blow their brains out (and their investors money up!), failing to accomplish anything meaningful. Simply because something could be a good thing to pursue, doesn’t mean it should be pursued.

Reposted from EP Enterprises

Throughout his career, both in Canada and the UK, Bryan J. Watson has been a champion of entrepreneurship as a vector for the commercialization of advanced technologies. Upon his return to Canada in 2004, Bryan established his venture development consulting practice to help emerging-growth companies overcome the barriers to success they face in the Canadian commercialization ecosystem.  Visit Bryan’s blog and the National Angel Capital Organization.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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