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Government of Canada Invests in Innovative Small and Medium-Sized Firms

Canada's Economic Action Plan strengthens the economy and helps Vancouver businesses grow

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Jul 22, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Democratic Reform and Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today announced contributions of $273,000 to Boreal Genomics Inc. and $496,000 to Day4 Energy Inc. from the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).

The funding supports innovative research and development projects that will assist both firms in developing high-tech solutions for global markets.

"Our government is investing in science and technology to create good jobs, strengthen the economy and improve Canadians' quality of life," said Minister Fletcher. "This government is supporting Canadian firms that successfully develop and apply innovative technologies. Canada's Economic Action Plan is supporting scientific research and commercialization, while creating good jobs and economic growth."

The contribution to Boreal Genomics Inc. will help develop a new technology that can search for specific diseased DNA codes in blood or environmental samples. This will enable Boreal Genomics Inc. to develop new portable instruments for disease and cancer detection, allowing rapid diagnosis in hospitals and doctors' offices. The contribution to Day4 Energy Inc. will support the development of a new photovoltaic cell and module that will decrease manufacturing costs, while increasing efficiency. This will eventually help bring solar energy closer to cost parity with conventional energy.

During the event, Minister Fletcher presented a Canadian Innovation Leader certificate to Heart Force Medical Inc., a company that develops non-invasive medical devices to assess cardiac performance, to highlight its success as innovative Canadian firms. The Minister also presented Canadian Innovation Leader certificates to Boreal Genomic Inc. and Day4 Energy Inc.

For more information on the firms, please see the backgrounder.

Canada's Economic Action Plan provided new resources of $200 million to NRC-IRAP over two years to support innovative Canadian firms. To learn more, visit Canada's Economic Action Plan website (www.actionplan.gc.ca).

About the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program

The NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program provides a range of both technical and business-oriented advisory services along with necessary financial support to qualified innovative Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises.

The program is delivered by a field staff of 240 professionals in more than 100 communities across Canada. The National Research Council is committed to working with small and medium-sized enterprises while they realize their full potential, turning knowledge and innovation into strategic opportunities, jobs and prosperity for all Canadians.

For more information (media only), please visit the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program's website (www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/irap.html)

BACKGROUNDER

Government of Canada supports innovation for small and medium-sized enterprises, youth employment

National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program

National Research Council Canada's main outreach to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is through its Industrial Research Assistance Program, which provides support to innovative companies in Canada undertaking research and technology development projects for commercial purposes.

The Industrial Research Assistance Program provides a range of both technical and business-oriented advisory services along with necessary financial support to qualified innovative Canadian SMEs. The program is delivered by a field staff of 240 business and technology experts in more than 100 communities across Canada. Working directly with SMEs, the Program supports innovative research and development and helps companies become commercialization-ready with their new products and services.

While the Program operates three separate contribution programs - contribution to firms, contribution to organizations and the Youth Employment Program - its main contribution component is in the form of a non-repayable contribution that reimburses the labour costs of a research and development project directly to firms.

Science at work for Canada

The Industrial Research Assistance Program received an incremental investment of $200 million over two years through Canada's Economic Action Plan. The Program is committed to using this new funding to help the government build a competitive advantage for Canada based on excellence in science and technology.

The funding includes $170 million to double the Program's contributions to firms and $30 million to help hire more than 1000 new post-secondary graduates via its Youth Employment Program.

The commitment in Canada's Economic Action Plan reinforces the Industrial Research Assistance Program's mandate to help SMEs develop technologies and successfully commercialize them in a global marketplace. It also broadens the Program's ability to provide science and technology expertise to SMEs. It is estimated that this new money will allow it to support approximately 1400 additional SMEs beyond its existing base over two years.

Canadian Innovation Leader (CIL) Certificate

A Canadian Innovation Leader is an SME that demonstrated a specific advance in research and development within its industrial sector. This advance has contributed to the wealth of the country, from a corporate growth perspective, through job creation or through a particular investment in research and development that has improved the lives of Canadians. The National Research Council of Canada created the Canadian Innovation Leader Certificate Program to recognize Canadian firms that have successfully developed and applied innovative technologies, linking scientific research to commercialization, jobs and economic growth.

About the firms

Founded in 2006, Heart Force Medical develops non-invasive medical devices to assess cardiac performance by measuring and monitoring the mechanical action of the heart. Working with the Industrial Research Assistance Program since 2007, the company has developed the Heart Force dBG 300 Digital Ballistocardiograph, a device that measures the kinetic effects of cardiac contraction on the body to indicate the general health of an individual's heart. It is a standalone, portable unit containing a sophisticated digital sensor that enables precise measurement of the timing events of the cardiac cycle. Heart Force continues to develop their proprietary Digital Ballistocardiograph technology to demonstrate its ability to assess cardiac function more accurately, more quickly and less expensively than other current technologies.

Boreal Genomics is a biotechnology tools company with exceptional technical strength and a demonstrated track record in innovation. The company integrates applied physics and engineering with biotechnology to develop new instruments for nucleic acid purification and detection based on their proprietary SCODA technology. The company was founded in 2007 as a spin-off from the University of British Columbia and now employs more than 20 staff.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Day4 Energy Inc. is a leading global provider of solar photovoltaic products and solutions. Active in the areas of research and design, manufacturing, technology licensing and all aspects of project management, Day4 Energy is enabling the growth of solar energy throughout the world. Since initial support from the Industrial Research Assistance Program in 2003, the company has grown from three to approximately 100 employees, and today is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.





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