Ottawa's "Best" Technology
Published Thursday, February 17, 2011 10:03AM EST
Best Theratronics of Ottawa is a low profile tech firm trying to make the jump to super success story. Theratronics is part of the Best group of eleven medical firms founded by Krish Suthanthrian.
Suthanthrian saw his father die of cancer in his native India. He said his father had a "tremendous influence" on him.
After his death, Suthanthrian came to Canada where he went to Carleton University. He then moved to the U.S. to start the Best Medical group in 1997.
Suthanthrian snapped up Theratronics from Nordion for just $15 million. Last year, he announced Theratronics would start making some new medical machines including cyclotrons, which produce medical grade isotopes and thus provide an alternative to the troubled Chalk River reactor.
The first one made history, being the first built in North America in decades. They cost anywhere from two to $20 million dollars.
Suthanthrian has some harsh words for Canada.
"The regulatory environment is hostile, tax dollar grants are used as a slush fund, there is little investment money, all the focus is on resource based industries," he said. "So a huge challenge is how Canada treats their manufacturing firms."
Still, he hopes to expand his Ottawa operations. Theratronics accounts for a third of his Best Medical group's $100 million in revenues. He believes the firm is "in a sweet spot" with many countries considering buying cyclotrons. He is also going to benefit from a partnership with General Electric in the U.S., which aims to build a thousand cancer centres around the world - all equipped with Theratronics machines.
But despite hi-tech machines, Suthanthrian says we should be cautious.
"More technology isn't always the answer," he said. "Rather it's making care available on as broad a scale as possible. "
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