Issue link: http://read.ca.pwc.com/i/346337
Up front Summer 2014 43 The leaders has to go from intellectual property toward commercialization," Lapointe notes. "If you go to the U.S., there is a lot of venture capital. If you go to Germany or France, you'll see a lot more of government taking risk." To that end, one of Lapointe's biggest achievements as CEO has been convincing both federal and provincial levels of government of the value of investing in the precommercialization stage of FPInnovations projects – to take that risk where the private sector will not. "What I've been telling them is, 'I will deliver on the output if you take the risk of investing in us,'" he says. Lapointe highlights a joint venture with Domtar called CelluForce, a Quebec-based company that has become the world leader in the commercial development of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC), which is extracted from woody biomass and processed into solid flake, liquid and gel forms. NCC improves the strength and toughness of whatever it's added to, with possible uses ranging from advanced packaging to bone replacement to high- strength textiles. "Government was willing to get in with us at the precommercial stage," Lapointe says. The Quebec plant will produce one tonne of NCC per day to make specialized coatings and advanced materials out of hardwood chips, with the new facility the first in the world to yield NCC on such a scale. FPInnovations' success has been noted south of the border, where the Americans have lacked a strong, researched-focused voice in the forestry sector. "They're saying, 'We see the success you guys are having. Why don't we try to have an equivalent of FPInnovations in the U.S.?'" Lapointe recounts. Talks are underway with FPInnovations to set up a parallel body to serve U.S. industry needs. "What the forest sector has just started to realize is that in the 19th century and 20th century, there was a lot of creativity about paper and packaging – and somehow we've lost this creativity," says Lapointe. "Now we're coming back to being creative." Uf In conversation with Pierre Lapointe Frédéric Bouchard is a Partner with the Consulting and Deals group specializing in corporate finance at PwC's Montreal office. Frédéric is Montreal's forest, paper and packaging leader, and Eastern Canada transaction leader for that sector. All about FPInnovations Formed in 2007 from a merger of four industry organizations – Forintek (wood products), FERiC (forest operations), Paprican (pulp and paper) and the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre – FPinnovations is the leading voice for research and innovation in Canada's forestry sector. it pursues a collaborative research model through strategic alliances, along with licensing and joint venture agreements that balance the needs of its members in the private, public and academic sectors. The organization has more than 200 members, 525 employees and an annual operating budget of $90-million, with research laboratories in Montreal, Quebec City and Vancouver, and technology transfer offices at universities and other organizations across Canada. FPinnovations centres its research and expertise in four key areas: value- chain optimization including resource assessment and forest operations; building and living solutions; next- generation pulps and papers; and bioenergy, chemicals and advanced bioproducts. it has developed a worldwide reputation for innovative partnerships with government and industry, and is helping to meet a global need for environmentally friendly building and energy solutions. FPinnovations President and CEO Pierre Lapointe (left) at the 2012 inauguration of the CelluForce plant, the world's first nanocrystalline cellulose demonstration facility.