Quantum: Raising a family

In 1991, the Canadian province of Quebec engaged in a major effort to create a biotechnology industry. One of the companies resulting from that effort was Quantum Biotechnologies Inc., a research products company that was founded to develop three technologies in-licensed from the Canadian National Research Council. One was a recombinant enzyme for yeast lysis, which was expected to replace yeast lytic enzymes for industrial applications. The portfolio also included an in vitro site-directed mutagenesis kit that could work directly on double-stranded DNA; and an expression system for human genes based on adenovirus vectors.

Quantum received $3 million in equity investment and loans from BioCapital, a Canadian investment group, and the government's Societe de Developpement Industriel. The company set about spending the money - but by 1995 had nothing to show for it.