Leading Health and Life Sciences in Nova Scotia

BioNova Supports BIOTECanada initiatives (IRAP & SR&ED)

BioNova is supporting an initiative from BIOTECanada concerning IRAP and expediting SR&ED claims.Two programs which have become instrumental in supporting early stage companies, namely: the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit can offer significant value to support sector companies.

As companies endeavour to address the rapidly evolving challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus, some of the administrative oversights of the programs are diverting company resources away from their research efforts. Given the unique nature of these small science focused SMEs and the limitations on acquiring loans and attracting investment, the industry is requesting the government work to expedite the processing of SR&ED tax credits to the greatest extent possible over the coming months.

Ensuring the timelines of review and audit are streamlined to allow for the vital payments to be returned to companies will allow them to maintain operations to the fullest level possible, and protect the jobs of highly skilled workers during this time.



News Release: Health and Life Sciences Companies in Nova Scotia Develop Vaccines, Provide Medical Supplies to Fight COVID-19

Halifax, NS – March 26th, 2020 – As the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to grow globally, Nova Scotia’s innovative health and life sciences community including IMV Inc., Sona Nanotech, BioVectra and others are ramping up efforts to study the virus, develop vaccines, provide medical supplies and protective equipment to hospitals, and retool their abilities to support the healthcare community.

BioNova, the organization leading the health and life sciences sector in Nova Scotia has been working behind the scenes to support the sector by facilitating critical conversations between industry, government, the academic community and the healthcare community to identify the most pressing needs in health and life sciences.

“Our member companies are working hard to develop resources that will protect the health and safety of Nova Scotians and support international efforts to fight this pandemic and we’re working hard to ensure they have the support they need to continue to innovate within this very uncertain business environment,” said Scott Moffitt, Executive Director of BioNova.

BioNova is working closely with national organizations such as MedTech Canada and Innovative Medicines Canada whom are critical to the continuity of Canada’s health care supply chain to prevent shortages of things like diagnostic tests that enable the diagnosis of disease, personal protective equipment for front-line health and life saving medicines such as Insulin.

As part of this preventative health supply strategy BioNova is also working with federal and provincial governments to ensure funding and operational needs are met within the sector and to identify medtech and pharmaceutical companies as ‘essential services’ exempt from certain business restrictions so that they, along with their employees can continue to work and supply life saving products to healthcare. This has already happened in other provinces such as Ontario.

Locally, BioNova has been identifying member companies who can support the Nova Scotia Health Authority with testing for COVID-19 as they may reach capacity limits internally. They have also offered to support the Health Authority in sourcing essential medical supplies and protective equipment from the sector and have connected them with suppliers and manufacturers across Canada.

For more information on how the health and life sciences sector in Nova Scotia is coming together to fight COVID-19 visit www.BioNova.ca


News Release: IMV Inc. Launches Plans to Advance Clinical Development of a Vaccine Candidate Against COVID-19

See original release here


Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, March 18, 2020 – IMV Inc. (Nasdaq: IMV; TSX: IMV), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company (the “Company” or “IMV”), today announced that it is advancing the clinical development of a DPX-based vaccine candidate against COVID-19. Vaccines against infectious disease have been a core part of IMV’s heritage across its DPX platform technology.

The goal of this development program will be to establish the clinical safety and immunogenicity of a vaccine candidate based on the Company’s DPX delivery technology and incorporating peptides targeting novel epitopes from the coronavirus strain. The Company believes that this peptide-based approach, combined with the portability of the DPX platform, offers the potential for accelerated development and rapid, large-scale production of a vaccine.

The Company intends to develop its vaccine candidate DPX-COVID-19 in collaboration with lead investigators for the phase 1 clinical study: Joanne Langley, M.D. and Scott Halperin, M.D., of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV) at Dalhousie University, the Izaak Walton Killam Health Center and the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN); along with Dr. Gary Kobinger, Ph.D., Director of the Research Centre on Infectious Diseases at the University Laval in Quebec City and Global Urgent and Advanced Research and Development (GUARD) in Canada. The investigators will assist with preclinical and clinical evaluation and with further development strategy in collaboration with the Canadian government and others.

“As lead investigator on the Phase 1 study of DPX-RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), I witnessed the unique potential of IMV’s epitope-based vaccine approach. I was particularly impressed by the persistence of immunogenicity at one year in an older adult population, suggesting that it is possible with this type of approach, to create an immune response that lasts for an extended period of time” said Dr. Langley. “I believe this collaboration creates the possibility of an accelerated path to clinical development of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and underscores the importance of public-private partnerships to tackle this epidemic.”

“We appreciate the urgent need to find solutions to the growing pandemic. Across our many clinical studies, we have observed DPX technology to elicit a robust immune response with a sustained effect, including in sensitive populations. We believe this technology offers a meaningful solution as a potential vaccine, especially in older adults and those with pre-existing conditions who are most at risk to this virus and generally more difficult to vaccinate effectively,” said Frederic Ors, Chief Executive Officer of the Company. “Additionally, we are pleased to be collaborating on this project with Dr. Langley, Dr. Halperin and Dr. Kobinger, who are leading voices in
immunization and infectious disease and share our commitment to public health.”

Third-party research in related coronaviruses has identified the benefit of humoral and cellular (B and T cell) immune responses for protection and resolution of infection, and the Company believes the body of data it has produced to date supports its DPX platform for peptide-based induction of B cells and T cells. The Company is now designing a vaccine candidate against COVID-19 based on third-party immunological studies of SARS-CoV and third-party sequencing data available for SARS-CoV-2 with the goal of selecting potentially immunogenic epitopes within the virus that induce neutralizing antibody responses and protective T cell responses.

Through the Company’s other clinical studies, the Company believes its DPX technology has demonstrated a favorable safety profile and immunogenicity in both cancer and infectious disease settings, with sustained effect and potential for single-dose effectiveness as a prophylactic vaccine. Over 200 patients have been dosed with DPX-based immunotherapies and data from these studies suggest treatment is well-tolerated, including in heavily pre-treated cancer patients with advanced-stage disease. The Company has also applied this technology for the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the second-leading cause of respiratory illness in infants, the elderly and the immunosuppressed. The Company reported its Phase 1 data1 from its clinical candidate, DPX-RSV, which demonstrated a favorable safety profile and immunogenicity in older adults (age 50-64), as well as preclinical data from research-stage candidates aimed at other infectious diseases, including malaria and anthrax.

About the DPX Platform

DPX is the Company’s proprietary lipid-based delivery platform with no aqueous component in the final formulation. The DPX platform can be formulated with peptide antigens. Its unique “no release” mechanism of action allows antigen presenting cells (APCs) to be attracted to the injection site, facilitating a robust and sustained immune response within lymph nodes. Fully synthetic, easy to manufacture; each product is stored in dry form and reconstituted in lipids for injection, providing an extended shelf life and simple handling and administration in the clinic. More details about the DPX mechanism of action here: https://imv-inc.com/platform.

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 (DPX). 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 cellactivating immunotherapy that combines the utility of the platform with a target: survivin. IMV is currently assessing DPX-Survivac in advanced ovarian cancer, as well as in a combination therapy in multiple clinical studies with Merck’s Keytruda®. Connect at www.imv-inc.com.

Cautionary Language Regarding 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. In the press release, such forwardlooking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the Company’s intention to develop a DPX-based vaccine candidate against COVID-19, the Company’s belief that the DPX-based platform creates the opportunity for accelerated development and rapid, large-scale production of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Company’s belief in the potential efficacy of its DPXbased vaccine against COVID-19, the Company’s belief in the benefits of the third-party research and studies in related coronavirus and SARS studies and third-party sequencing data and their applicability to the Company’s DPX platform and a DPX platform related vaccine and the Company’s anticipated results from its DPX cancer and infectious disease studies. Such statements 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 and uncertainties affecting the Company and its products. The Company 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, the Company’s ability to develop a DPX-based vaccine candidate against the COVID-19 through the successful and timely completion of clinical trials and studies, the receipt of all regulatory approvals by the Company to commence and then continue clinical studies, and, if successful, the commercialization of its proposed vaccine candidate related to COVID-19, the Company’s ability to raise sufficient capital to fund such clinical trials and studies and the production of any COVID-19 vaccine, the ultimate applicability of any third-party research and studies in related coronavirus and SARS studies and sequencing, the Company’s ability to enter into agreements with the proposed lead investigators to assist in the clinical development on its vaccine candidate related to COVID-19, the Company’s ability to collaborate with governmental authorities with respect to such clinical development, the coverage and applicability of the Company’s intellectual property rights to any vaccine candidate related to COVID-19, the ability of the Company to manufacture any vaccine candidate related to COVID19 rapidly and at scale and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s ongoing filings and in its annual information form filed with the Canadian regulatory authorities on SEDAR as www.sedar.com and with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on EDGAR at www.sec/edgar. Investors are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements and are encouraged to read the Company’s continuous disclosure documents which are available on SEDAR and on EDGAR.

1: Langley et Al, 2019, Journal of Infectious Diseases


Source: IMV Inc.

Investor Relations

Marc Jasmin, Senior Director, Investor Relations, IMV
O: (902) 492-1819 ext: 1042
M: (514) 617-9481
E: [email protected]

Josh Rappaport, Director, Stern IR
O: (212) 362-1200
E: [email protected]


Delphine Davan, Director, Communications, IMV
M: (514) 968-1046
E: [email protected]

News Release: ACOA announces $1.75M for four life sciences companies

See original ACOA news release here

Atlantic Canada’s life sciences companies reaching global markets
Businesses are commercializing products to improve lives and transform Atlantic Canada’s economy

March 2, 2020 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Atlantic Canada’s growing life sciences industry is moving the economy toward a more prosperous future. Today, four Halifax-area companies are one step closer to bringing their innovative healthcare solutions for a wide range of challenges to the world:

  • Motryx has found a way to protect and monitor blood samples moving between hospitals and laboratories;
  • Nxtgen Care is combating loneliness, a condition known to have negative health effects, especially for seniors;
  • IR Scientific’s solution relieves pain in sensitive teeth; and,
  • Skinfix specializes in clean and clinically active skincare to improve skin health.

Growing life sciences sector

These companies are part of a cluster of more than one hundred locally-owned life sciences businesses that are growing revenues and attracting new investments across the region. The life sciences sector is an important contributor to the economy, providing thousands of good jobs for Atlantic Canadians. The sector is gaining momentum in the region and is building an international reputation for success. Atlantic Canada has made Startup Genome’s list of ecosystems to watch in the life sciences category in its 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report.

Investments for growth and expansion

René Arseneault, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, announced contributions totaling $1,746,850 to help four life sciences companies  commercialize their healthcare solutions, benefiting the local economy. This announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

The Government of Canada will continue to invest in small- and medium-sized businesses to help them scale up, increase productivity and participate in the global economy. Support for these projects is one way the Government of Canada is working to achieve its Atlantic Growth Strategy outcome of long-term economic prosperity in the region.


“Strong regional economies are essential to grow a successful and sustainable Canadian economy. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is there to help businesses and innovators grow, succeed and create good jobs for Atlantic Canadians. Our government is making strategic investments that will enable businesses in all regions of the country gain a competitive edge.”

  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“Halifax’s life sciences cluster is at the heart of a vibrant and growing Atlantic innovation ecosystem that has the talent and resources to compete on a global scale. The economic potential of this sector is incredible and we can be rightfully proud of its achievements to date. With its continued growth, I believe we are well-positioned to move our economy into a prosperous future.”

  • Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax

“This project will move the marker closer toward commercializing the Motryx product for blood transportation in hospitals as well as in private laboratories. This funding will allow us to hire strategic technical expertise as well as grow our sales force to reach customers in these markets, which have a combined addressable value of over $800 million.”

– Dr. Franziska Broell, CEO and Founder, Motryx Inc.

“Nxtgen CareTM is leading a Revolution in Seniors Care. Our business intelligence and analytics platform creates a real-time community of care for senior living facilities – optimizing care delivery while enhancing resident care levels. This project will allow us to grow our local team, invest in our flagship Care ScorecardTM and resident M-FactorTM digital health products and execute agreements in place within the coveted US healthcare marketplace.”

– Dan LeBlanc, President, Nxtgen Care

“This funding allows IR Scientific to continue its primary market research, expand oral care product claims beyond sensitivity and secure a global supply for our partners. With the help of four new employees, external resources, continued investor support and this funding program, IR Scientific is able to create incredible value, for our partners, our investors, and Atlantic Canada.”

  • Andrew Doyle, CEO IR Scientific Inc.

“This funding will allow Skinfix to effectively compete in the $150 billion global skincare market as the first clean, clinically validated skincare brand. Skinfix will use the funds to hire expert industry talent and build marketing programs to propel the brand at Sephora in North America, where skincare has now become the largest beauty category for the first time in Sephora’s history. This project will help Skinfix drive awareness for its highly unique proposition as the first scientifically validated, wellness focused skincare brand.”

  • Amy Risely, Founder & CEO, Skinfix

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada is providing repayable contributions through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.
  • The Business Scale-up and Productivity stream of the REGI program supports businesses at various stages of development, including high-growth firms, to accelerate their growth, help them scale-up and improve their productivity and competitiveness in both domestic and global markets.

Related products

  • Backgrounder: Atlantic Canada’s life sciences companies reaching global markets

Associated Links

– 30 –


Alexander Cohen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic
Development and Official Languages
[email protected]

Chris Brooks Director, Communications and Outreach Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)
[email protected]

Dr. Franziska Broell
CEO, Motryx
[email protected]

Dan LeBlanc
President, Nxtgen Care
[email protected]

Roar Askheim
Chief Financial Officer, IR Scientific
[email protected]

Katheryn Spears
Marketing Manager, SkinFix
[email protected]

Stay connected
Follow the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency on social media: Twitter and LinkedIn

Backgrounder: Atlantic Canada’s life sciences companies reaching global markets
Businesses are commercializing products to improve lives and transform Atlantic Canada’s economy

March 2, 2020 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Today, René Arseneault, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, announced contributions totaling $1,746,850 to help four life sciences companies commercialize their healthcare solutions, benefiting the local economy. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

The Government of Canada is providing repayable contributions through ACOA’s Regional Economic Development through Innovation (REGI) program to the following four companies:

Motryx Inc. – Halifax, NS

Motryx Inc. has developed a hardware and software solution, called the VitalVial and VitalReport, for hospitals and laboratories to monitor blood sample transport from patient to the reference laboratory. The VitalVial is a diagnostic quality control sample that measures indicators – such as the vibration, temperature and pressure of the blood – known to effect the accuracy of blood tests. Used in combination with the VitalReport, this solution provides a new quality assurance method to the blood vial transportation industry.

The project will enable Motryx to undertake research, development and scale-up activities, including pilot projects with private labs to help it fully commercialize its technology. The company will also work to create a sales funnel.  This project will create seven full-time positions.

Nxtgen Care (Checkin Innovative Care Technologies Inc.) – Dartmouth, NS

Nxtgen Care is a start-up developing an integrated solution to help caregivers, businesses, residents and their families live socially active and connected lives. The system uses non-intrusive beacons and a wearable bracelet to measure the frequency, type, duration, proximity and factors in key personality traits to determine meaningfulness (referred to as the “M-Factor”) of social interactions. Understanding a resident’s M-Factor will equip senior care facilities with the tools needed to address loneliness, a leading problem in geriatric patients.

The project includes purchasing real-time-location-system sensors to enable senior care providers to better utilize their time and facility managers to better utilize their staff. Implementing this system will ultimately make care providers more accountable to their clients and family members while encouraging more meaningful interactions to combat the negative effects of loneliness.

IR Scientific – Halifax, NS

IR Scientific’s novel oral care product, Sensi-IP, can be added to any toothpaste or mouthwash to treat sensitive teeth. Sensi-IP helps to close the exposed dentinal tubules that cause sensitive teeth, putting a stop to pain while strengthening the teeth.

The company will purchase equipment to support in-house toothpaste manufacturing for testing purposes, hire research & development staff as well as a commercialization manager. IR Scientific will also engage consultants to conduct market research and analysis to find new opportunities. Overall, the project will help the company expand the applications for its proprietary solution, Sensi-IP.

SkinFix – Halifax, NS

SkinFix Inc. specializes in all-natural healing balms and skin care. Its heritage products are centuries old, and are made with wound-healing botanicals and emollient protective oils that have the ability to treat and manage the most severe dermatitis conditions.

The company is undertaking marketing activities including sample distributions, website development, as well as product showcasing at dermatology conferences, seminars and Sephora events. This project will help the company expand throughout the United States in all Sephora cosmetic stores and create six full-time positions.


HUDDLE: Local Startups Pitch To Fix N.S. Healthcare

See original HUDDLE article here

HALIFAX—Dr. Brendan Carr, the president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, admits the province’s health care system faces some challenging problems.

Emergency room closures, doctor recruitment, high cancer rates, and a host of other issues are all taxing health care in the province—and Carr believes old solutions won’t fix it.

“We’ve reached a point where simply improving on the way we do things is simply not efficient,” he said Friday, speaking to about 150 health-and-technology-industry players at Volta in Halifax. “We actually need to generate new solutions to these old problems, and we can only do that by bringing new thinking together.”

According to Carr, collaboration and innovation are the keys to fixing health care in the province. And it’s for that exact reason that the NSHA has partnered with several organizations in the province for the “Health Challenge.”

The Health Challenge is a series of events that invite startups to pitch their medical technologies to a panel of judges.

Participants will get 15 minutes to convince the panel their technology can help drive innovation in Nova Scotia health care. There will be five events, each focused on a different provincial health care priority.

Winners of each of the events will receive $100,000 and the opportunity to have their technology adopted for use by the NSHA.

It’s that second part that makes the competition especially valuable for technology startups in the region.

Scott Moffitt is the executive director of BioNova, one of the partners in the Health Challenge. He explained that getting their product into the market is a key step for medical technology companies, but is often one of the toughest hurdles to clear.

“When a [Nova Scotia] company goes to Arkansas and they say ‘is your product being used by the Nova Scotia Health Authority’ and the answer is no, that’s a red flag,” he said.

Moffitt said there are tons of companies in Nova Scotia doing all kinds of innovative things. A real-world endorsement from the NSHA can help put them on the map.

“How do we continue to support and accelerate these companies while adding value to the health care system? That is what today’s is all about. Collaboration is the key. From an ecosystem level it takes a village to support these companies,” he said.

The first of the Health Challenge’s five-pitch competitions will take place on April 8, and will focus on technologies that support cancer care.

For more information on the challenge, or to learn how to apply to pitch, visit the challenge’s website.