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2013 Cantech Letter Canadian Life Sciences Stock of the Year Finalists

cantech awards rockCanada’s Life Sciences sector weathered a tough road in the wake of 2008, but bounced back in 2013 to join the innovation sectors in leading the Canadian markets.

Here are the nominees for the 2013 Cantech Letter Canadian Life Sciences Stock of the Year.

This year, for the first time ever, the Cantech Letter Awards will be open to the public. A gala awards dinner, brought to you by Difference Capital and the TSX, will follow the First Annual Cantech Investment Conference, on January 16th, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Tickets to the Cantech Letter Awards, including a limited number of tables of ten, are still available. Click here, or contact Contact Karen Renaud at Cambridge House to reserve. ( or Direct at (604) 398-5356). For tickets to the Cantech Investment Conference, featuring keynote speaker Commander Chris Hadfield, click here.


On to the nominees for the 2013 Cantech Letter Life Sciences Stock of the Year. For these awards, we asked fourteen of Canada’s top technology analysts to give us their top three picks. The finalists are the companies that received the most points in this process (we gave three points for first place, two for second and one for third. In the event of a tie, the company receiving the most first place votes was chosen.) The judges will vote on the consensus picks using the same scoring system.

We told our judges we were looking for the most outstanding candidate and asked them to use their own discretion to weigh factors such as revenue and earnings growth, share price appreciation and gains in market capitalization. Is a stock that gained 100% but moved from $0.15 to $0.30 more worthy than one that gained 75% but added billions in market cap? These are the decisions we left to their discretion as a professional.

Here are the three finalists for the Cantech Letter Canadian Life Sciences Stock of the Year, listed in alphabetical order.


Cipher Pharmaceuticals (TSX:DND)

cipher pharmaceuticals

Mississauga-based Cipher Pharmaceuticals is a spinoff of CML Healthcare, a more than three-decades old medical imaging company that shed its drug development division, which was burning cash, when it decided to convert to an income trust. The resulting spinoff, Cipher, transitioned from being defined by its relative risk to being notable for its comparative safety. Unlike many of its newfound peers, Cipher has carved out a sweet spot in the middle of the drug development process, identifying late stage product candidates with near term market potential. In 2013, Cipher began to hit its groove, the company’s Q3 topline more than doubled, from $2.1-million in 2012, to $5.6-million.

Paladin Labs (TSX:PLB)

Quebec-based Paladin experinced the proverbial hockey stick chart in 2013, brought on late in the year when the company was acquired by Pennsylvania-based Endo Health Solutions for $2-billion. More importantly, the company’s former CEO and founder Johnathan Goodman began a solid recovery after he was involved in a serious cycling accident.

Tekmira (TSX:TKM)


Shares of Tekmira spiked in October, after the company announced that respected industry vet Bruce Cousins would join as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Burnaby based Tekmira, which was founded in 2005, is one of a handful of companies in the world developing therapies based on RNA interference, and the company is clearly an early leader in the space. RNA interference is a process that cells use to silence the activity of specific genes. The process works by blocking the molecular messengers of a a cell, rendering the cell useless. RNAi has already shown great potential with viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C. Tekmira has three internal RNA interference product candidates; one to treat hypercholesterolemia, or elevated cholesterol, one for Ebola, and an anti-tumour drug in the treatment of cancer.


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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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