September 28, 2005 13:16 ET

Deloitte: Biotech Boom in B.C.-West Coast Fast 50 Companies Show Local Life Sciences Industry Flourishes

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 28, 2005) -

Twelve B.C.-based Companies Among the 2005 Fast 50 - A Ranking of Canada's Fastest Growing Technology Companies; ID Biomedical Corp. Honoured with the GrowthWorks Leadership Award

Twelve British Columbia-based companies have been recognized as being among Canada's fastest growing technology companies, according to the 2005 Deloitte Technology Fast 50, the annual program which recognizes excellence in Canadian companies through factors such as strong business performance, intellectual property, strength of management and growth rate.

B.C.'s status as Canada's third largest biotech centre is clearly demonstrated in the Fast 50 ranking, with one third of B.C.-based companies recognized on the Fast 50 from the life sciences sector and three-quarters of those specifically focused on drug development, a strength of the local cluster. All twelve B.C. companies appearing on this year's Fast 50 are publicly-traded.

"This year's Fast 50 winners are not only innovators, but also operators who know how to take advantage of opportunities when they arise," says Garry Foster, National Leader with Deloitte's Technology, Media and Telecommunication practice. "This year's ranking features several bigger companies and companies that have excelled at competing on an international basis."

Deloitte has taken a new approach to the Fast 50 program in recognition that as the tech sector in Canada develops, the dynamics are changing. Award categories for sector leadership, sustained excellence and next generation technology overachievers have been established. These awards expand beyond recognizing only financial performance to take into account other business practices such as quality of management, competitiveness, market size and a range of financial performance measures.

Vancouver-based ID Biomedical Corp. was honoured as the winner of the GrowthWorks Leadership award, which recognizes superior business performance judged against the norms in the Life Sciences sector. The award was given to ID Biomedical based on the company's outstanding success in winning contracts and awards for its various vaccine products and for ID Biomedical's plans for growth through developing other vaccines for strep and meningitis. In addition for this award, ID Biomedical is also being recognized on the Fast 50 for the fifth consecutive year (#29, 343% growth).

Leading the pack in B.C. with revenue growth of 11,531% (ranked #3) was Cardiome Pharma Corp., which focuses on cardiovascular drug development. Cardiome currently has three clinical trials underway for drugs to treat arrhythmia and congestive heart failure.

Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc., ranked sixth on Deloitte's Fast 50, with outstanding revenue growth of 3,687%. The company's drug-eluting stent technology TAXUS was one of the most successful commercial launches in medical history with exclusive licensing agreement worldwide.

Still in the life sciences field is another multi-year Fast 50 recipient biopharmaceutical firm QLT Inc., placed 26th on this year's Fast 50. With two products on the market, Visudyne and Eligard, QLT is a well-known, publicly-traded life sciences company.

Also representing B.C. on the Fast 50 with revenue growth of over 1,000%, is repeat Fast 50 recipient Westport Innovations Inc. (placed fourth), focused on developing alternative-fuel engines. Other repeat performers with focus on the wireless sector are Versatile Mobile Systems Inc. and Sierra Wireless (ranked 23 and 38 respectively) are joined by new entrant Unity Wireless Corporation (ranked 18). Repeat recipients Intrinsyc Software (placed 25), ACD Systems International Inc. (placed 28) and Absolute Software (ranked 36) show that software development is thriving on the west coast. Burnaby's Extreme CCTV Inc. (#20) has also made the Fast 50 for the third year in a row having generated revenue growth of more than 700% through sales of its night vision and security products to governments and defence contractors.

Other Fast 50 Key Findings:

R&D Investments increased: Over the past year, the average R&D investment of Fast 50 recipients almost doubled to $9.2 million per company, up from $5.3 million the previous year.

Fastest of the Fast: St. John's-based Rutter Inc., which develops voyage data recorders and marine-certified electronic interface technologies made history this year as the first Fast 50 company to own the top rank with the highest revenue growth (29,630%) for two years in a row. Following Rutter are Toronto-based Workbrain, Inc. (2nd place) and Vancouver-based Cardiome Pharma Corp. (ranked third) with 11,768.48% and 11,531.28% five year revenue growth rates respectively.

Regional Breakdown: Ontario continues to be the largest tech hub with 19 recipients on the Fast 50, followed by British Columbia which fielded 12 companies, Alberta with 10 and the province of Quebec with seven finalists. Manitoba and Newfoundland made the ranking with one winner each. The regional breakdown reflects the important role of Canada's tech clusters in supporting the establishment and growth of tech companies. In each region the presence of national and multi-national companies, as well as leading research and academic centres in these provinces acts as an incubator that attracts and nourishes tech companies.

Repeat Winners: Fifty-two per cent of this year's winners have been recognized on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 rank for two consecutive years or more with 32% boasting multiple appearances - proving their ability to sustain growth over longer periods. Most noticeable are Waterloo-based Research In Motion Limited, the only company that has appeared on the Fast 50 in each of the eight years since the program's inception, and Vancouver-based ID Biomedical Corp. that has ranked on the Fast 50 for five years in a row.

About Deloitte

Deloitte, Canada's leading professional services firm, provides audit, tax, financial advisory services and consulting through more than 6,100 people in more than 47 offices. Deloitte & Touche LLP operates in Quebec as Samson Belair/Deloitte & Touche s.e.n.c.r.l. The firm is dedicated to helping its clients and its people excel. Deloitte is the only professional services firm to be named to the Globe and Mail's Report on Business Magazine annual ranking of Canada's top employers for two consecutive years: 35 Best Companies to Work for in Canada in 2001 and 50 Best Companies to Work for in Canada in 2002. "Deloitte" refers to Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities. Deloitte is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is a Swiss Verein (association), and, as such, neither Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu nor any of its member firms has any liability for each other's acts or omissions. Each of the member firms is a separate and independent legal entity operating under the name "Deloitte", "Deloitte & Touche", "Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu" or other related names. The services described herein are provided by the Canadian member firm and not by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Verein.

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