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Ex-Liberal MP Frank Baylis scores windfall as Boston Scientific buys his heart device business for US$1.75-billion – The Globe and Mail

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photo of Frank Baylis, Executive Chairman of the Board, Baylis Medical and Kris Shah, President, Baylis Medical (Frank is on the left and Kris on the right). Handout

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Frank Baylis is the son of a Barbadian immigrant who won a landmark discrimination case in Quebec in the 1960s. He has also made movies, and served as a member of Parliament.

Now, he’s one of Canada’s wealthiest people, because the company he helped build for 30-plus years, Baylis Medical Company Inc., has agreed to sell its cardiovascular medical devices business to Boston Scientific Corp. for US$1.75-billion.

Boston Scientific is picking up a fast-growing, profitable business, with expected 2022 revenues of US$200-million and 850 employees.

Mr. Baylis, the company’s executive chairman, and Kris Shah, its president, co-own the debt-free enterprise, which has never raised outside equity. It’s the third time their Montreal-based business has sold a division to a major U.S. company, making them arguably Canada’s most successful medical device entrepreneurs.

But the pair, aged 58 and 60 respectively, aren’t finished just yet. They plan to put the proceeds to work building another medical devices business, Baylis Medical Technologies, focused on radiology and neurosurgery.

“I’m excited to see the cardiology business we’ve worked so hard to develop in Canada over many years evolve and grow through this agreement with Boston Scientific to improve the lives of even more patients around the world,” Mr. Baylis said in a statement. He added that he is looking forward to working on the new company.

Baylis Medical was founded by Mr. Baylis’s mother, Gloria Baylis, in 1986, as an importer and distributor of medical devices. It was a second career for Ms. Baylis, who had emigrated from Barbados to Montreal in the early 1950s and worked as a nurse.

She made headlines after she was turned down for a nursing job in 1964 at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, then owned by Hilton of Canada Ltd. After being told the position was taken, she discovered the job was unfilled, and complained under a new Quebec law that made racial discrimination by employers illegal. She won her case, but the hotel appealed for years. She later found work as a nurse – including a stint for Dr. Henry Morgentaler – and relocated to Toronto before founding her company.

Her son Frank and Mr. Shah joined the business in 1989. The two men had met during a co-op placement during their first year in electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo. Both were sons of immigrant nurses – Mr. Shah’s Indian-born father worked in the profession – and both had ambitions to be self-employed. “We looked for opportunities, businesses we could start, technologies we could incubate,” Mr. Shah said.

They ended up working for Baylis. For a decade, they also ran a consulting company that helped innovative businesses apply for tax credits.

By 2001, they were ready to push Baylis into creating and selling its own devices. They set up research and development facilities in Mississauga, collaborated with local hospitals and built specialized instruments that helped identify and alleviate spinal pain using radiofrequency technology.

They sold that division to their US distributor, Kimberly-Clark Corp., for between US$30-million and US$50-million in 2009. In 2016 they sold another device program, for treating cancers in the spine, to Medtronic PLC for a similar amount. (Ms. Baylis retired in 2004 and died in 2017.)

Meanwhile, they focused on making products for use in cardiovascular procedures. Those included a five-milimetre-thick, one metre-long plastic pipeline used to deliver therapies to the heart. It is inserted in the groin and guided through the body to carefully puncture the muscular organ using radiofrequency energy.

As the cardiovascular business grew, Mr. Baylis followed his heart in other directions. He co-wrote screenplays and produced two films, in which he also acted. The long-time Liberal fundraiser even left his company to run for the party in the 2015 federal election. He won the Pierrefonds-Dollard riding in Quebec.

He returned to the business in 2019, but his political connections came up in a negative light after a Baylis-owned company won a subcontract to make ventilators during the pandemic. Mr. Baylis testified to MPs last December that he didn’t use his political relationships to secure any contracts.

Mr. Shah said the pair decided to sell the cardiovascular business, whose sales are concentrated in the U.S. and Japan, after looking for a partner to help it expand to the rest of the world. They were not interested in taking on an equity investor after being bootstrapped for so long. “We were quite happy with how things were going.”

Mr. Shah described their move into radiology and neurosurgery as “the next step to evolve into the next version of ourselves.”

“We enjoy medical technology, we get a lot of personal energy and pride from that,” he said.

The business will have a running start, he added, because of their considerable resources and managerial capacity, as well as their facilities, engineering expertise and the 120 employees they will retain after the deal.

“Hopefully we can grow faster than even our cardiovascular business,” Mr. Shah said.

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Goldman Sachs moves to full ownership of China securities JV

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Goldman Sachs said on Sunday it received approval from China’s securities regulator to take full control of its mainland securities business.

The U.S. bank said it would buy the remainder of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Company Ltd (GSGH), and rename it as Goldman Sachs (China) Securities Company Ltd.

The migration of its onshore business units to GSGH from Beijing Gao Hua Securities was underway, it added.

“This marks the start of a new chapter for our China business following a successful 17-year joint venture,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement.

It becomes the second Wall Street firm to be granted approval to shift to full ownership of its securities business after JPMorgan Chase & Co moved to 100% in August https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/jpmorgan-gets-beijings-approval-first-fully-foreign-owned-brokerage-2021-08-06.

Securities businesses in China typically house investment banking, research, equities and fixed income businesses.

Unlike most of the other China JVs, Goldman had day-to-day operational control of its business even with its minority ownership.

Lucrative underwriting fees on equity and bond transactions – especially initial public offerings (IPOs) – in China’s expanding capital markets has been the driving force for Western banks to increase stakes in their mainland business.

Full ownership could allow foreign banks to expand their operations in the multi-trillion-dollar Chinese financial sector, and better integrate them with their global businesses.

Morgan Stanley currently owns 90% of its securities joint venture with partner Shanghai Chinafortune Co Ltd after increasing its stake https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/morgan-stanley-nears-full-ownership-china-ventures-with-stake-buys-2021-05-28 in May.

China’s regulators had examined Goldman Sach’s application to move to full ownership https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/goldman-sachs-signs-pact-wholly-own-china-joint-venture-2020-12-11 since the bank flagged its intention to buy out its partner in December.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Stephen Coates)

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From Canada? Want to go to the U.S.A.? Better have the right vaccine – Boing Boing

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The last couple of years have been hard on Canadian Snowbirds. Many of us, myself included, are used to heading south in the fall, to escape the icy bullshit of a Canadian winter. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID-19, a lot of us have been trapped, north of the wall, since March 2020. 

I’ve been fine with this. 

When the land border was closed down to everyone but essential travellers, my mindset was that if I was going to get sick, I’d just as soon do it in my own nation where healthcare is free (yeah, we pay our taxes, but still.) Then, last winter, the vaccines started to roll out. By early spring, both my wife and I had been injected with two doses of Pfizer’s version of the brew. We breathed a sigh of relief and began to hope that we might, one day soon, be able to start our travels again. I’m sure that lots of other folks did too. Unfortunately, depending on where in Canada they live, it wasn’t a sure bet that they’d wind up with two doses of the same vaccine. In the rush to get as many Canadians vaccinated against the plague as possible, many provinces started mixing and matching whichever vaccines that they had on hand.

So, you could wind up with Pfizer for your first jab and Moderna for your second. It’s cool, they told us. Mixing vaccines affords tons of protection, we were assured. Why, we’d all be able to get back to our lives in no time… provided said life doesn’t include travelling to one of many countries where vaccine mixing is considered to be a dangerous load of bullshit. You may have guessed by now, that America is one of those countries.  

From The CBC:

…at the same time the U.S. reopens the land border, it will start requiring that foreign land and air travellers entering the country be fully vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently doesn’t recognize mixed COVID-19 vaccines — such as one dose of AstraZeneca, and one dose of Pfizer or Moderna — and hasn’t yet said if travellers with two different doses will be blocked from entry when the vaccine requirement kicks in.

So that sucks. 

According to the CBC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might soon consider changing their stance on mixed vaccines. I’d like to think that a crap load of data on the effectiveness of mixed vaccine dosing will play into such a decision. No matter how badly folks might want to head south for the winter, Americans deserve to be as safe as they can be. 

In the meantime, I suspect that, just like last fall, many snowbirds will wind up on Vancouver Island, where I hang my hat, these days. It’s warm enough here that living in an RV is both possible and comfortable.

But I’ll tell ya, it’s a far cry from kicking back in the trade winds on the cusp of Texas’ southern border.

Image via Wikipedia Commons

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Travel industry, health experts applaud U.S. decision to allow travellers with mixed doses – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The organization representing Canada’s tourism industry is applauding the U.S. government’s decision to allow Canadian travellers with mixed vaccine doses once the border opens in November.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that travellers with “any combination” of two doses of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “are considered fully vaccinated.”

Beth Potter, who is president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says the announcement is “really good news.”

“What it does is it provides a little bit more clarity, and this is something that we’ve talked about a lot. We know now that if you’ve got that mixed dose, as of November you’re going to be able to enter into the United States,” she told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

Infectious disease expert Isaac Bogoch of the University Health Network in Toronto says allowing mixed dosed travellers is “a smart and data driven approach.”

“This will be a huge relief to many Canadians who did the right thing and got vaccinated and even took those mixed and matched vaccine approaches. It’s safe, it’s effective, and now there’s a recognition of this,” Bogoch said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Saturday.

“I’m really happy to hear this. It’s about time.”

This announcement came after the White House confirmed that the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico would be open to fully vaccinated tourists by Nov. 8.

On the American side, the U.S. Travel Association also applauded the Biden Administration’s plans to reopen the border.

“Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions,” said association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement on Friday.

“We applaud the administration for recognizing the value of international travel to our economy and our country, and for working to safely reopen our borders and reconnect America to the world.”

But while the U.S. won’t require Canadians to show proof of vaccination to cross, returning to Canada requires a negative PCR test conducted at most 72 hours before crossing the border.

PCR tests can cost upwards of $200. The Canadian government does not accept rapid antigen tests, which can be had for only $40.

Brian Higgins, a New York congressman whose district includes the border cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, wants to see Canada drop the COVID-19 PCR test requirement.

“I think that the U.S. decision to allow Canadians coming into the United States without a test again underscores the potency of the vaccine,” Higgins told The Canadian Press on Friday. “I would like to see that reciprocated by our Canadian neighbours.”

However, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that Canada will continue to require PCR tests so long as the Public Health Agency of Canada advocates for it.

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that advice has evolved as new evidence and new data is available. We’ll continue to follow the advice in the Public Health Agency Canada​,” he said in an ​interview with CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

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