MEDIA RELEASE: BioNova Launches BioInnovation Challenge for Early Stage Life Sciences Companies

The BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) was created by BioNova, Nova Scotia’s life sciences industry association and sector development organization, to help ease the transition from research laboratory to market. But BIC is more than just a competition; it is a support program to accelerate Atlantic Canadian researchers and life science companies in becoming established, viable entities.  Since its inception in 2011, the BioInnovation Challenge has ushered 38 companies and research organizations from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI through the program, each receiving significant training to position a business for high growth. “We are very excited about this year’s competition,” said Scott Moffitt, managing director at BioNova. “There is a lot of innovation happening in the life sciences in Atlantic Canada and we are on track to be one of the pillars of the new economy, we are definitely a sector to watch out for.” The competition, presented by BioNova in partnership with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Dalhousie University, Springboard Atlantic, BioNB and PEI BioAlliance will take place during BioPort Atlantic, the premier annual life sciences industry event in Atlantic Canada on October 25-26, 2016 in Halifax. The winners, who will be announced at BioPort Atlantic, will be awarded advisory services with the first place winner also receiving seed funding for a total package value of $45,000.  In-kind services have been provided by: Plano and Simple, Cox & Palmer, Jennifer Cameron PR, JLT Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sandler Training, Grant Thornton LLP and BioNova. Life sciences companies and researchers will have until August 12, 2016 to submit their entries to BioNova. Semi-Finalists will be chosen by September 2. For full competition details and to submit an application visit www.bionova.ca About BioNova BioNova is Nova Scotia’s life sciences industry association and sector development organization. BioNova leads and supports its members as we build a successful, self-sustaining life sciences industry in Nova Scotia. By promoting the industry and its successes, building relationships both inside and outside the province and creating networking and educational opportunities BioNova aims to accelerate the commercialization success of Nova Scotia’s life sciences businesses and organizations. -30- For Further Information: Media Inquiries: Jessica Gillis Communications Officer jgillis@bionova.ca (902) 237-8608 Application Inquiries: Kerri Mannette Project Manager kmannette@bionova.ca 902-421-5705 ext. 4]]>

Spring Loaded Technology: Pitching Their Way to Success

In 2012, Chris Cowper-Smith, Bob Garrish and Shea Kewin were all students in a Dalhousie entrepreneurship class when they came up with a business idea rooted in kinesiology. They created a prototype of a unique knee brace for people with knee injuries to help them move better. Unlike the traditional knee braces on the market, they wanted to design a light-weight knee brace that would have a suspension system to enhance stability and support. To bring their product to market they would need to start testing their designs and gather funding to support their research.
In 2013 they gained some momentum when their company, Spring Loaded Technology was named as a finalist in the BioInnovation Challenge, a pitch competition with the possibility to win a prize package that would include $15,000 in seed funding and an advisory services package worth more than $20,000 including services provided by Cox & Palmer, Solutions Inc., Marsh Canada Limited and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
They entered their trademarked knee brace Levitation, designed with a unique mechanical hinge that stores energy when flexed and releases during extension. With such an impressive pitch and a product filled with potential they were deemed the most attractive for investment by a panel of judges dubbed The Commercialization Council and the conference audience.
Since winning the competition many other doors to investment have opened for the fledgling company. So far the company has been able to raise $3 million and has gone on to win various investment competitions including the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Young Entrepreneur Award for their production of the world’s first bionic knee brace, which landed $100,000 for the Halifax company. Today the Dartmouth-based company is close to bringing their bionic knee braces to the masses and is still actively pursuing investment.