Weekly Regional Business Intelligence
“If you have a job without any aggravations, you dont have a job.” — Malcolm Forbes
Sernova Corp. takes another step forward in bid to develop functional cure for diabetes

London-based Sernova Corp., a medicine therapeutics company developing platform technologies to treat patients with insulin-dependent diabetes, has announced a collaboration and investment deal with global pharma company Evotec, which will make a strategic equity investment of (CAD) $27 million. The partnership leverages Sernova’s proprietary cell pouch insulin delivery system with Evotec’s iPSC-based insulin-producing beta cells.

“Today’s announcement of this joint iPSC beta-cell partnership completes the three pillars of our diabetes cell therapy platform. Alongside our clinically validated cell pouch system and recently acquired conformal coating immune protection technology, this now establishes a total regenerative medicine cell therapy solution for insulin-dependent diabetes,” the company said.

The upshot: Sernova, headquartered on Collip Circle, has bet big on its cell pouch technology, and they’ve had very encouraging results in their Phase 1/2 trials. Under terms of the collaboration, Sernova acquired an exclusive global license to Evotec’s iPSC-based beta cells to pair with its cell pouch system.

The two companies will work together to validate the combination in preclinical programs. If the combination enters the clinic, Sernova will then have the right to secure an exclusive global license. Evotec will bolster the partnership with cell manufacturing through potential commercialization, in which case the companies will initiate a profit-sharing arrangement. It’s another step in the city’s tradition of innovation when it comes to diabetes. 

Read more: BioSpace | Contract Pharma
Sifton adding two mid-rise buildings to West 5

Two new buildings are coming to Sifton Properties’ net-zero West 5 community development in the city’s west end, adding around 140 units to the housing stock by 2024. The 70-acre land development has garnered headlines for its goal of becoming a self-sustaining district comprising housing, commercial and office space around a 1.6-acre central park. The two new buildings, a condominium Candela and a rental called Spektra (pictured), stand at eight and six storeys respectively, and work will begin on them next month.

Unveiled at a presser this week, Sifton also provided a glimpse at final plans for the Legacy Square park which, once completed, will be home to recreation programs, special events and seasonal activities designed to foster community connection. “It’s where our residents and tenants can connect, explore, and engage with one another to foster the feeling of community,” said Sifton president and CEO, Richard Sifton.

The upshot: In the realm of housing developments, ambitious net-zero projects like West 5 are attracting more and more attention. Solar power features prominently at West 5, and the success of the development ― which aims to have families, young people and retirees all living in the same net-zero community ― is serving as a template worth replicating elsewhere.

Read more: London Free Press
Juno Awards brimming with London alumni

London, and in particular its two post-secondary institutions, had a lot to brag about after last weekend’s Juno Awards, with several alumni taking home prominent awards or taking their place in the spotlight. Fanshawe’s Music Industry Arts program could claim a big win with 2013 grad Haviah Mighty (pictured) taking home the top rap album award, along with producer and 2016 MIA grad Tabuu pitching in on the production. “She commands a stage like few people can and has that undefinable ‘thing’ that a star has,” said Dan Brodbeck, the program’s coordinator. “Spencer Heaslip, also known as Taabu, contributed production to Haviah’s Juno-winning record as well and his work is stellar.”

The band Half Moon Run, whose lead singer is an MIA grad, also took home the award for best alternative album. Western was no slouch either, with host and megastar Simu Liu hosting the whole thing, and it had its own long list of alumni nominees.
The upshot: Like a lot of Canadian cities not named Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, it can be tough to keep musical talent in town for long. But with London being named Canada’s first UNESCO City of Music last year and with growing interest in the city’s music industry, the strong showing at the 2022 Junos can be read as a sign of more great things to come.

Read more: Fanshawe College
If running your business feels hard, you’re doing it right
Despite the benefits, business owners are often in a position in which they must make tough, unpleasant and even traumatic decisions. Avoidance is not a successful strategy. Nor is being unprepared.

Irish electric heating manufacturer Glen Dimplex to open London facility

Over 100 new jobs are set to come to London after the Irish electric heater manufacturer Glen Dimplex announced that it would be opening its second North American factory, a $7-million, 160,000-square-foot facility at 1040 Wilton Grove Road. It was helped by a $6.5 million chip-in from the province’s Southwestern Ontario Develop Fund.

“We have been overwhelmed by our warm welcome to London and can’t wait to hire and get production underway,” said a company exec. “We believe in an electrified future and look forward to leading the transition to the sustainable world in our core categories from right here in London, Ontario.”
The upshot: A further validation of the city’s industrial land strategy and another feather in the cap of the city’s manufacturing sector. “We were appealing to them given our diversity and skill set in London,” said London Economic Development Corp. president and CEO, Kapil Lakhotia. Also, electrifying everything ― including buildings ― is part of Canada’s long-range carbon reduction strategies, so expect to see the electric heating industry begin to, well, heat up.

Western, RBC and The Globe and Mail walk into a bar...

A new entrepreneurship course, borne of a partnership between Western, RBC and The Globe and Mail, is billing itself as a new “affordable eLearning solution to develop entrepreneurship.”

The program, called ‘The Founder’s Journey, an Entrepreneurial Process’, is an eight-module course featuring lectures from Ivey Business School instructors and researchers on topics including ideation, go-to-market planning, growth and social enterprise. Registration for the spring session is already open, and future sessions are planned.

The upshot: Gone are the days of a business education existing solely behind the five-figure tuition paywall. Post-secondary institutions in Canada have gradually started introducing more micro-credentials, flexible modules and other distance learning options over the pandemic, and with interest from RBC and the Globe, that trend seems poised to continue.

Read more: Western News
From our Content Studio: Locorum awards Londoners on life’s biggest purchases

When you think of rewards programs, you probably think of the almost infinite number of times you’ve given your email just to get a $3 discount. Or when you find yourself staring into the void trying to calculate what your 700,000 points are worth, only to find out you can only get a free coffee.
Locorum is changing the way people look at rewards programs with their new platform that allows customers to find and hire service-based businesses and get cash back for doing so!

The upshot: Locorum is a free rewards program that gives you cash back when you hire local service providers that you were going to hire anyways. And we’re not talking about a few bucks here and there ― you can earn thousands of dollars off a single hire.

Dispatch: May 20, 2022

A summary of recent business appointments and announcements, plus event listings for the upcoming week.