Ag-West Biotech Inc.

Ag-West Biotech Inc. was established in 1989 as a not-for-profit corporation funded by the provincial government with a mandate to foster agricultural biotechnology growth in Saskatchewan. In 2004, Ag-West was renamed Ag-West Biotech Inc. and agglomerated with the Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network and Bioproducts Saskatchewan. Ag-West's contributions to the growth of agricultural biotechnology in Saskatchewan include: helping biotechnology companies get started; networking and facilitating strategic alliances; providing venture capital funding; attracting international companies; providing support for existing companies; and educating the public, the government and private organizations. Ag-West Biotech absorbed the ICAST investment portfolio in 1997, and has invested $9.1 million in start-up and expansion projects in the life science area since 1999.

Ag-West develops several publications for the biotech industry, including AgBiotech Bulletin, InfoSource and Newtrition, and hosts numerous seminars, conferences and workshops every year. Ag-West hosted the first Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) in June 1996; since then, ABIC has become a bi-annual conference held in various countries around the world. The Saskatchewan Agricultural Biotechnology Information Center (SABIC) was opened in 1997 and offered orientation programs to students and professionals in its first year. SABIC has an interactive laboratory open for public tours that allow people to learn about processes in biotechnology. Ag-West also offers regulatory assistance to companies and Canadian policy makers through the Saskatchewan Agbiotech Regulatory Affairs Service (SARAS).

Crystal Wallin