• Sadie Evans posted an article
    Victoria-based Aurinia Pharmaceuticals doubles valuation to US $2 billion see more



    Author: Mike Kozakowski

    VICTORIA, BC - December 5, 2019 - A Saanich-based pharmaceutical company saw its valuation double in early market trading this morning following the results of a clinical trial.

    Aurinia Pharmaceuticals rose to a US $2 billion market cap at $22 per share more than doubling its $11 trading range seen earlier in the week. The stock is currently trading in the $16 range representing a market valuation of $1.5 billion.

    The company's trial drug voclosporin showed promising effects during an AURURA Phsae 3 clinical study involving individuals with lupus nephritis (LN), an inflammation of the kidney caused by lupus erythematosus.

    “This extraordinary pivotal data confirms voclosporin’s ability to achieve statistically significant improvements in clinically meaningful endpoints for this complex disease, with a comparable safety profile to the current standard of care,” said Neil Solomons, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Aurinia. “This data represents a significant advance for people living with LN, which can lead to irreversible kidney damage, eventual kidney failure and death.”

    In a global study involving 357 patients with active LN were enrolled, met its primary endpoint of Renal Response rates of 40.8% for voclosporin vs. 22.5% for the control (OR 2.65; p < 0.001). Additionally, all pre-specified hierarchical secondary endpoints achieved statistical significance in favor of voclosporin, which included Renal Response at 24 weeks, Partial Renal Response at 24 and 52 weeks, time to achieve urinary protein-to-creatinine ratio (“UPCR”) ≤ 0.5, and time to 50% reduction in UPCR, the company disclosed in a statement.

    The robustness of the data was also supported by all pre-specified subgroup analyses (age, sex, race, biopsy class, region, and prior MMF use) favouring voclosporin.

    Aurinia plans to submit an application to the Federal Drug Administration by mid-2020.

    Located at Saanich's Vancouver Island Technology Park, a key real-estate holding and technology incubator of the University of Victoria, Aurinia is a major player in the B.C. Capital's technology and pharmaceutical industry.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Mayor Lisa Helps will lead ‘Team Victoria’, a 31-person, multi-stakeholder trade mission to San Fran see more

    VICTORIA, BC On Sunday, Mayor Lisa Helps will lead ‘Team Victoria’, a 31-person, multi-stakeholder trade mission to San Francisco, California. The team will include the Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, and representatives from the Greater Victoria Development Agency and Greater Victoria’s high-tech, tourism, business and education sectors. Together, they seek to build and enhance strategic relationships with key influencers of North America’s epi-centre of innovation and technology.

    “Two weeks ago we unleashed Victoria’s draft economic action plan Making Victoria – Unleashing Potential, and now we’re taking it on the road,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “I’m thrilled to be leading this diverse and influential group of leaders to San Francisco.”

    The trade mission provides an opportunity to showcase and grow Victoria’s local tech companies, with the goal of attracting investment and talent to the region, and building investor and entrepreneur relationships. Over two days, ‘Team Victoria’ members will meet with potential clients, promote Victoria as a destination, and work to build academic partnerships to foster research opportunities and job development networks. 

    “British Columbia is committed to growing our economy and strengthening our technology sector,” said Minister Virk. “San Francisco has a large Canadian talent pool that we are going to continue to engage, to build and strengthen our industry, seeking growth and partnership opportunities that will enhance our tech strategy. Our similar markets, low corporate tax rates, and a strong angel investor community makes our province the place to invest.”

    In addition to the scheduled partner meetings, Mayor Helps is hosting a luncheon. Guests include representatives from Apple, Rocketspace, Blumberg Capital, and the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Rocketspace is a premiere technology campus in San Francisco, exclusively designed to help entrepreneurs, start-ups and corporate innovation professionals succeed. Blumberg Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm that specializes in providing seed funding to technology companies. The Bay Area Council Economic Institute is a partnership of business with labour, government, higher education, and philanthropy that works to support the economic vitality and competitiveness of the Bay Area and California.

    "We are thrilled that our three-year Trade and Investment Program, launched in 2014, can serve as a catalyst to make this initiative come together in alignment to all stakeholders,” said Dallas Gislason, Economic Development Officer for the Greater Victoria Development Agency. “The fact that this effort achieved such strong buy-in region-wide is very telling about the importance of the San Francisco area to many sectors of our economy here at home."

    On Tuesday evening, close to 80 Bay Area influencers will attend the ‘Team Victoria’ reception at the Aquarium by the Bay, where they will have the opportunity to network with trade mission members and enjoy a “Fireside Chat” with Jeff Mallett, co-founder of Yahoo! and James DeGreef, co-founder of GenoLogics Life Sciences Software and CEO of ChatterBlock.

    “It is vital that we continue to build relationships in San Francisco and the Bay Area. It's only a two-hour flight away and provides the world's largest concentration of tech investors, advisors, partners and customers,” said Dan Gunn, Chief Executive Officer for VIATEC. “We will be meeting one-on-one with existing key contacts to keep them up to speed on the opportunities in our local tech scene while leveraging the group of community leaders on the trade mission to draw out potential new partners that are interested in building stronger ties to our local innovators and entrepreneurs.”

    ‘Team Victoria’ members plan to hold a report-back session later this fall to outline opportunities and relationships that developed from the trip. The estimated budget for the trade mission is $34,000. Each team member is contributing towards the cost, with the City of Victoria providing $5,000. 

    Create Prosperity Through Economic Development is a key objective of the City of Victoria’s strategic plan for focus and investment over the next four years. The trade mission to San Francisco supports this objective and includes some members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development and Prosperity. Established in April, the Task Force has developed Making Victoria: Unleashing Potential, a draft economic action plan to grow Victoria’s economy. The draft plan is available for public input until September 30. For more information: www.victoria.ca/prosperity.

    Greater Victoria Development Agency Quick Facts:

    Greater Victoria's largest industry is high-tech, with an economic impact exceeding $4 billion annually. Many local firms rely on global connections to grow their business and create jobs. These companies directly employ 15,000 Tectorians.

    Tourism is Greater Victoria's second largest industry with $1.9 billion in economic impact and over
    22,000 jobs.

    There are over 40,000 students enrolled in the region's three post-secondary education institutions.
    Each year several co-op students get placements at companies in the San Francisco/Bay Area. Companies like Google, Oracle, Tesla, HP and others provide unparalleled opportunities and
    connections for local students.

    - 30 -

    BOTTOM: ‘Team Victoria’ Delegation Members


    For More Information:

    • Mayor Lisa Helps    
      City of Victoria
      Cellular: 250.661.2708    
    • Tasha Schollen
      Communications Director
      Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services
    • Dallas Gislason
      Economic Development Officer     
      Greater Victoria Development Agency
      Office: 250.360.3478 Cellular: 250.812.0510
    • Dan Gunn
      Chief Executive Officer
      Office: 250.483.3214  dgunn@viatec.ca


    The ‘Team Victoria’ delegation includes the following people:

    • Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria
    • Councillor Margaret Lucas, City of Victoria
    • Jocelyn Jenkyns, Deputy City Manager, City of Victoria
    • Kerri Moore, Manager of Strategic Relations and Business Development, City of Victoria
    • Honorable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
    • John Jacobson, Deputy Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
    • Nick Facey, Chief of Staff for the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
    • Dallas Gislason, Economic Development Officer, Greater Victoria Development Agency
    • Kathryn Dafos, Project Coordinator, Greater Victoria Development Agency
    • Dan Gunn, CEO, VIATEC
    • Rob Bennett, COO and Program Director, VIATEC
    • Paul Nursey, President and CEO, Tourism Victoria
    • Rob Ringma, Director of Sales, Tourism Victoria
    • Geoff Dickson, President and CEO, Victoria Airport Authority
    • Brent Sternig, Director, Research, Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization, University of Victoria 
    • Terry Cockerline, Director, Alumni Relations, University of Victoria
    • Curran Crawford, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria
    • Tom Zsolnay, Associate Vice President of Alumni and Development, University of Victoria
    • Margaret-Anne Storey, Software Engineering Program Director, University of Victoria
    • Jody Kitts, Development Officer, Engineering and Science, University of Victoria
    • Gloria Darroch, Program Manager, Co-op and Career Centre, Peter B Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria
    • Evelyn O’Connor, Senior Account Executive, Victoria Conference Centre 
    • Monika Lebedynska, Senior Account Executive, Victoria Conference Centre
    • Owen Matthews, Wesley Clover and Alacrity Foundation
    • Richard Egli, Managing Director, Alacrity Foundation
    • David Miller, Cube Global Storage
    • Rajkumar Padmawar, President and CEO, ASASoft
    • Will Fraser, CEO, Referral SaaSquatch
    • Karl Swannie, CEO, Echosec Systems Ltd.
    • Jim Hayhurst, President/CEO, Pretio Interactive
    • Bob Husband, Managing Partner, Arbutus Cove Enterprises