THE CHRONICLE HERALD: Help for anxiety a click away with Tranquility Online

Read full Chronicle Herald article here Tranquility Online is an online application those with anxiety can use to manage their symptoms. And it all started with one Facebook post its Halifax co-founder and CEO wrote in 2016. Joel Muise was first diagnosed with general anxiety and depression in his last year of high school. He was working as a stock analyst when he wrote that post in 2016. There he shared his story of living with anxiety. Immediately, he got a response from a friend who saw themselves in Muise’s story. “I was really surprised by his response,” Muise says. “If that was the response I got from him, I thought I should share the whole story. In 48 hours, 4,000 people had read and shared it.”]]>

BioMedica Diagnostics Inc. Cornering the global market for blood testing kits

See original article on the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service Website BioMedica Diagnostics Inc. is well established as an exporter, with almost 100 percent of the sales of its blood coagulation testing kits, reagents and other products in more than 70 countries around the world.

(Photo: BioMedica Diagnostics Inc.)
But today the Windsor, Nova Scotia, company is stepping up its efforts abroad, with an aggressive growth plan that includes refocusing on existing markets and products, while extending its global reach and developing new disruptive technologies for the future. The firm has been given fast‑track status under a pilot program of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) that will provide resources to help it produce more revenues and generate additional jobs in the community. “We’d like to expand our international presence two- to three‑fold over the next few years,” says Lauren Iannetti, BioMedica’s vice‑president of business development, noting that the private company’s strategy is based on selecting distribution partners in the field, with the assistance of the TCS, that can help it grow. “We want to be market leaders.” BioMedica was started in 1999 as a medical device company focused on bringing affordable health care to countries around the world in the field of haemostasis (bleeding) and thrombosis (clotting) in the body. Its plasma‑based products are sold through a network of distributors to laboratories and used in panels of tests. They are either directly marketed under the BioMedica brand or purchased by instrumentation companies, which then sell the products under their own labels. The company was revamped five years ago under a new president and CEO, Brian Jeffers, and it renewed its commitment to routine coagulation testing in the international market. Three years ago, BioMedica expanded to include a specialty coagulation testing line through a firm that it acquired in Stamford, Connecticut, which increased its offering to some 100 products.

Tips for life sciences companies looking to go global

Exporters looking to aggressively extend their global reach in a field such as medical devices need passion, drive and a good business plan that ensures they don’t over extend, the experts say. “The realistic thing is how much business can a company handle,” says Butch Postma, a trade commissioner who covers the life sciences sector in Atlantic Canada and is based in Charlottetown. “It’s a work in progress with all clients.” Companies looking at international markets have various support partners at home to assist with export readiness, Postma says. “As clients carry out their due diligence on potential markets, an excellent first step for them is to leverage the domestic TCS network in Canada.” The company’s information is verified in a client management system, he says, making the client aware of the TCS’s service offerings and carrying out an introduction to TCS officers abroad. “This is all part of the beginning steps as we support the client with a recommended strategy, contacts and focused intelligence for the market or markets identified.” The biggest challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is to get themselves known to new customers, he says, noting that many also “fall down on not following up” once they’ve made initial contacts. “Sometimes you have the president of the company who’s also the marketing guy, who’s also the finance guy. And when he gets back to the office the international business component takes a backseat, because there’s other things that demand his attention.” Aurora Polo, a trade commissioner in Barcelona whose responsibilities include Spain’s life sciences and health industries sector, says the best market-entry strategy for Canadian medical devices or diagnostics SMEs is “to identify a good distributor or commercial partner with the right knowledge of the market and industry sector.” It’s important for a potential partner to have contacts in both the public and private health-care sectors, with expertise in the regulatory framework for such devices. It’s also critical to have appropriate knowledge of the bid procurement structure and processes at the local, regional, national and international level. Having the right contacts and being able to provide adequate technical support are key, she says. “Visiting the market is also a must, as personal relations are important to establish long-standing solid business relations with distributors and commercial partners.”
Today the company has about 50 employees and it is transferring that U.S. operation to its location in Windsor, west of Halifax, where it occupies a former high school in an agricultural setting. “It allows us to lean into that aggressive growth space,” says Iannetti, noting that more than 98 percent of BioMedica’s products are exported, with the help of the TCS. “It’s an excellent resource,” she says of the TCS, which has chosen BioMedica for the six-month fast‑track pilot. The program is intended to give 20 firms priority service and help them grow. BioMedica has selected 15 countries to focus on, including 10 markets where the company is not very well established or “we think we can do more,” Iannetti says, among them Dubai, Spain and South Africa. There are also five brand‑new countries for BioMedica, including Mexico, India and Hungary. Iannetti says that in Spain, BioMedica has “dabbled here and there,” but it is now looking to advance significantly with the assistance of Aurora Polo, a trade commissioner in Barcelona who covers the country’s life sciences and health industries sector. The company faces hurdles there from language barriers to complex regulations for medical devices, Iannetti says. “We rely on Aurora to bring forward potential leads of companies that would be ideal partners for us.” Polo says Spain is among the top five countries in Europe in sales of medical devices, “however it is competitive, with many players who are all attracted by the market potential,” she says. “With our help, BioMedica has been able to establish contact with some of the top diagnostics medical device and health technologies distributors, commercial partners and manufacturers.” The majority of these have confirmed an interest in collaborating with BioMedica. Iannetti says the company replies on Polo’s guidance. “We’re the experts on our products, and we greatly rely on the trade commissioners to be experts on the in‑market details.” TCS specialists can check out leads and make introductions to possible distributors “rather than us making cold calls,” she says, which helps to “legitimize” the company. “If the trade commissioner can vet the potential partner and give it the thumbs up, that instantly eliminates many of our concerns.” The TCS organizes events, for example at Medica, a giant international trade show for the medical sector held each year in Düsseldorf, Germany. At the one in November 2018, BioMedica had 50‑plus side meetings, Iannetti says, many of which the TCS set up. It also offers assistance at home, through its regional office in Halifax. Butch Postma, a trade commissioner who covers the life sciences sector in Atlantic Canada and is based in Charlottetown, “has been a great champion of ours,” Iannetti says, from suggesting strategies to proposing new markets. “He’s on it.” Postma says the company is “an excellent user of the TCS,” and has been “making aggressive plays internationally,” from expanding its export targets to enhancing its market share in countries where it already has business. “They have a good business plan and from an international point of view they have a combination of product and people to really carry it out,’” says Postma, who calls himself “a matchmaker between the client and my colleagues abroad.” BioMedica’s Brian Jeffers says that the TCS has helped the company implement its global objectives. “The TCS, both here and in international markets, has been highly effective for us and a pleasure to work with,” says Jeffers. He is a member of the TCS industry Life Sciences Sector Advisory Group, which looks at trends and changes in the sector and offers guidance to help the TCS develop and deliver programs and services to life science exporters. BioMedica markets itself as “proudly Canadian,” Iannetti says. “There’s a view that Canada and our products are very high quality.” She hopes the TCS can help the company “navigate some of the trickier markets” and help with matters such as payment issues and logistics as the company increases its reach. It has a busy and active research & development team that’s looking at disruptive technologies, for instance new ways of doing blood coagulation testing, Iannetti says. BioMedica looks for well‑established distributors that are the “right fit,” says Iannetti, screening and selecting those that can act autonomously on its behalf. “We don’t want to have to hand hold and we don’t need to babysit them.” This makes it imperative that “the trade commissioners are on task so we’re confident we’re signing up the right partners,” she adds.
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First Patient Dosed in Phase 1 Clinical Trial Evaluating Neoepitopes Formulated in IMV’s DPX Delivery Platform in Ovarian Cancer Patients

January 17, 2019 at 7:05 AM EST

DARTMOUTH, Nova Scotia, Jan. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IMV Inc. (Nasdaq: IMV; TSX: IMV), a clinical stage immuno-oncology corporation, today announced that the first patient has been treated in the Phase 1 trial evaluating neoepitopes formulated in the Company’s proprietary DPX delivery platform in patients with ovarian cancer. The study is part of the Company’s DPX-NEO program, which is an ongoing collaboration between UConn Health and IMV to develop neoepitope-based anti-cancer therapies.

“Expanding our DPX-based clinical immunotherapy program beyond DPX-Survivac is an important milestone for IMV, and we are pleased to be able to do so with this type of cutting-edge program in which the novel mechanism of action underscoring all DPX-based candidates plays a critical role,” said Frederic Ors, Chief Executive Officer at IMV. “We believe that the potential of neoepitope-based therapies could be a significant advance in the way physicians treat patients with ovarian cancer who today face a high unmet medical need. We look forward to working with UConn Healthto advance this program as IMV is committed to developing an immunotherapy option for women affected by this disease.”

Investigators will assess the safety and efficacy of using patient-specific neoepitopes discovered at UConn Health and formulated in IMV’s proprietary DPX-based delivery technology in women with ovarian cancer. Investigators plan to enroll up to 15 patients in the Phase 1 study. UConn Health is funding the trial with IMV providing materials and counsel.

Epitopes are the part of the biological molecule that is the target of an immune response. Neoepitopes are the mutated proteins produced by a patient’s own tumors. Neoepitope immunotherapies target these patient-specific proteins and have been referred to as ‘the next immunotherapy frontier.’ (1)

“The first immunization of the first ovarian cancer patient with our personalized, patient-specific neoepitopes developed at the University of Connecticut using our proprietary technology, formulated in IMV’s excellent immunomodulatory DPX delivery platform, is a major milestone for us,” said Study Investigator Pramod K Srivastava, PhD, MD, Director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
About the DPX-NEO Program

The DPX-NEO program is an ongoing collaboration evaluating the anti-cancer activity of proprietary patient-specific epitopes developed at UConn Health and formulated in IMV’s DPX-based novel immunotherapeutic delivery technology. IMV had previously announced the results from preclinical research in which researchers at UConn found that neoepitopes formulated in DPX-based formulations demonstrated superior immunogenic activity over comparators in mouse tumor models. In addition, IMV also previously announced a breakthrough in formulating multiple peptides in DPX formulations. The Company has patented the technology, which allows for both a larger number and a broader potential range of peptides into a single formulation as compared to standard formulation technologies.

About IMV

IMV Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to making immunotherapy more effective, more broadly applicable, and more widely available to people facing cancer and other serious diseases. IMV is pioneering a new class of immunotherapies based on the Company’s proprietary drug delivery platform. This patented technology leverages a novel mechanism of action that enables the programming of immune cells in vivo, which are aimed at generating powerful new synthetic therapeutic capabilities. IMV’s lead candidate, DPX-Survivac, is a T cell-activating immunotherapy that combines the utility of the platform with a target: survivin. IMV is currently assessing DPX-Survivac as a monotherapy in advanced ovarian cancer, as well as a combination therapy in multiple clinical studies with Incyte and Merck. Connect at www.imv-inc.com.

IMV Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking information under applicable securities law. All information that addresses activities or developments that we expect to occur in the future is forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the date the statements are made. However, they should not be regarded as a representation that any of the plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this press release due to risks affecting the Corporation, including access to capital, the successful completion of clinical trials and receipt of all regulatory approvals. IMV Inc. assumes no responsibility to update forward-looking statements in this press release except as required by law. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our ability to access capital, the successful and timely completion of clinical trials, the receipt of all regulatory approvals and other risks detailed from time to time in our ongoing quarterly filings and annual information form Investors are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements and are encouraged to read IMV’s continuous disclosure documents, including its current annual information form, as well as its audited annual consolidated financial statements which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov/edgar.

Contacts for IMV:
MEDIA 
Andrea Cohen, Sam Brown Inc.
T: (917) 209-7163 E: AndreaCohen@sambrown.com
INVESTOR RELATIONS
Marc Jasmin, IMV Senior Director, Investor Relations
T: (902) 492-1819 E: info@imv-inc.com
Patti Bank, Managing Director, Westwicke Partners
O: (415) 513-1284
T: (415) 515-4572 E: patti.bank@westwicke.com
REFERENCES
1 Neoepitope Vaccines, Next Immunotherapy Frontier Cancer Discovery Published Online First December 28, 2015; doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-NB2015-179
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Source: IMV Inc.

Province Announces Innovation Equity Tax Credit

Read original announcement here
Nova Scotia startup companies and small and medium-sized businesses will benefit from more investment, thanks to a new Innovation Equity Tax Credit launched today by Finance and Treasury Board Minister Karen Casey.
The new tax credit applies to investments up to $250,000 in eligible businesses, which is $200,000 more than the current Equity Tax Credit. Nova Scotian investors will receive a tax incentive of 35 per cent, or 45 per cent in priority sectors of oceans technology and life sciences.

“This new tax credit encourages Nova Scotians to invest in our home-grown entrepreneurs and local companies so they can drive growth, be more competitive and succeed,” said Ms. Casey. “It will add to our ongoing efforts to improve the business climate in Nova Scotia for innovation-driven entrepreneurship by doing things differently to support economic growth.”

The revised regulations outline that Nova Scotia businesses less than 10 years old may qualify for funding. Investors often bring expertise, advice, mentoring and networks to the businesses they have invested in.
The province is also exploring options to expand the tax credit through legislation this spring. Those options include making corporations and qualified venture capital funds eligible for the credit.
The new tax credit focuses on innovation-driven entrepreneurship and narrows business eligibility to priority areas. The current equity tax credit, established in 1994, will be phased out as part of the 2019-20 Budget, to enable time for businesses to adjust.
The new tax credit is effective immediately. To view the regulations visit, https://novascotia.ca/just/regulations/rxaa-l.htm#inctax .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia startups will benefit from a new Innovation Equity Tax Credit that encourages more local investment.
The new tax credit focuses on innovation-driven entrepreneurship and narrows business eligibility to priority areas, including ocean technology and life sciences.
Finance and Treasury Board Minister Karen Casey says new investments in local companies will help to create a stronger Nova Scotia.
This will help build on the flourishing startup community we have in the province.
The new tax credit is effective immediately.

Media Contact:

Gary Andrea
902-456-6196 Email: