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Canon purchases Central Saanich company for $341 million

Redlen gaining a reputation for manufacturing advanced medical imaging equipment
Cadmium zinc telluride crystals are used by Central Saanich-based Redlen Technologies for development and production of semiconductor detector modules. The remaining ownership of the tech firm was purchased recently by minority shareholder Canon for $341 million. (Black Press Media File)

The head of an investment fund predicts that Redlen Technologies, a Central Saanich company building advanced medical imaging equipment among other items, will eventually be worth billions after its purchase by Canon.

“Canon will take this company to a new level,” said Chris Erickson, general partner with Pangaea Ventures in an interview with Black Press. “I have no doubt that it will be a multi-billion dollar business in the near future.”

Canon, previously a 15-per-cent stakeholder in Redlen, purchased the remaining 85 per cent of the 200-plus employee company for $341 million.

Glenn Bindley, president/CEO of Redlen Technologies, said in a release announcing the purchase that his company has already enjoyed what he called a “very lengthy and productive collaboration” with Canon’s medical division.

“We’re excited to now become a member of the Canon group, with access to the world-class manufacturing and scale-up expertise within Canon that will help us accelerate market adoption of our industry-leading radiation detection and imaging products,” he said.

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The purchase not only makes Redlen a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canon, it also has the potential to put Central Saanich, specifically, and the Saanich Peninsula on the map.

“There is no company with anything like it in Canada,” Erickson said. “This company is a world leader in what they do. It’s known around the world for this technology. Most of its clients are outside of Canada, too.”

Redlen Technologies possesses technology for development and production of cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) semiconductor detector modules used in diagnostic imaging systems, security systems and other devices, according to background information from Pangaea Ventures.

This technology promises clearer images of specific substances in the body, while easing the burden on patients by significantly reducing exposure dose and improving diagnostic accuracy with higher-resolution imaging.

“Right now, you can’t see fluid in the brain if you have a concussion,” Erickson said. “This will allow you to see that. If there are infections around implants, that will allow you to see it. So there is definitely a better patient outcome with this, in addition to using less radiation.”

While this technology is currently not yet available, Redlen is working with the most of the world’s leading manufacturers of scanning equipment to bring it to market, Erickson added.

“(It) will be the next generation of CT scanning equipment that will be in the market in a couple of year, approximately.”

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It was this future that inspired Pangaea Ventures to initially invest in Redlen in 2014, as it was pivoting from supplying materials for solar manufacturing to medical imaging.

Six years later, Pangaea Ventures’ decision to become Redlen’s largest investor has paid off handsomely with a 20-fold increase in value.

“From an investment standpoint, it has been fantastic,” said Erickson. “I’m glad to see the exit. This company is going to disappear. It will continue flourish as a division of Canon and now Canon will have a significant operation on Vancouver Island with a lot of employees and that is good for (Vancouver Island).”

Black Press has reached out the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce for comment.

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