Leading Health and Life Sciences in Nova Scotia

News Release ACOA: Windsor Expansion Helps BioVectra Meet Global Market Demand

Extensive facility renovation, new equipment, assists life sciences firm in creating jobs, growing regional economy April 12, 2018 – Windsor, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Canada is a country of innovators. Curiosity, creativity and a collaborative spirit are what lead to the kinds of innovations and technologies that improve our daily lives and drive our economy, and our country, forward. That is why the Government of Canada is investing $5,000,000 in BioVectra Inc. to help the Charlottetown-based biotechnology and pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing company expand its operations to Nova Scotia. This will enable the firm to grow, create additional highly skilled positions and help build sustained economic prosperity in Atlantic Canada. The funding was announced today by the Honourable Scott Brison, Secretary of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency(ACOA). The repayable contribution is being made through ACOA’s Business Development Program, which helps small and medium-sized enterprises expand and modernize to improve competitiveness. BioVectra will use the assistance to complete major renovations at its Windsor facility and to purchase new equipment. This will allow the company to increase its capacity to develop and manufacture biologic drug substances for global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. These materials are used in the creation of products to treat cancer, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, arthritis, and many other serious illnesses. The project will create 28 full-time positions, and by 2020, when the plant is fully operational, it is expected that more than double that number of people will be employed there. This investment builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which supports strategic investments in initiatives that build on the region’s competitive advantages, such as its strong export potential, growing innovation network, and skilled workforce.


“Science and technology – along with stronger international trade – are rapidly changing the way Canadians live and work, bringing new challenges and more opportunities. Investing in BioVectra Inc., an industry-leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing firm, will help strengthen and grow the middle class, and lay a more solid foundation for the next generations of Canadians.” – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA  “The jobs of the future depend on Canadians’ ability to continue to adapt, innovate, and maintain our competitive edge in the fast-paced and increasingly global economy. BioVectra is already known worldwide for its expertise in developing and producing active pharmaceutical ingredients used in products that treat life-threatening diseases. This modern, 50,000 square-foot facility will increase the company’s manufacturing capacity by 40 per cent and allow BioVectra to become a rare one-stop shop for its global biotech and pharmaceutical customers.” – The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants “As an integral part and leader within the vibrant Atlantic Canadian BioScience cluster, we consider ourselves fortunate to operate in a supportive ecosystem where substantial emphasis is placed on talent, skills and innovation. The contribution from ACOA’s Business Development program will enable BioVectra to continue to thrive, create highly skilled jobs in Atlantic Canada, and help solidify Canadian leadership within the very competitive global markets we participate in.” – Oliver Technow, President, BioVectra Inc.

Quick facts

  • BioVectra Inc., headquartered in Charlottetown, P.E.I., has more than 300 employees, and will initially add another 28 jobs in Windsor. The company’s four locations – three in Charlottetown and one in Windsor – total approximately 110,000 square feet.
  • BioVectra’s predecessor, Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd. (DCL), was founded in 1970 by Dr. Regis Duffy, then a UPEI chemistry professor, who began producing small amounts of a specialty chemical under contract to a U.S. firm.
  • Since its inception, BioVectra, which is part of the active pharmaceutical ingredient life cycle from early clinical development to commercial supply, has created hundreds of products used on the market today.


Alex Smith Director of Communications and Outreach Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Phone: 902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell) E-mail: [email protected] Jordan MacGregor Communications and Marketing Manager BioVectra Inc. Phone: 902-566-9116 ext 6376 E-Mail: [email protected]]]>

Canadian Innovation News: What makes Atlantic Canada a hotbed for bio and life sciences?

See original article here Over the past decade Canada has become a global leader in life sciences and biotechnology innovation and commercialization. The sector’s steady growth is largely due to its solid base of expertise and continued investment in world-leading research. And while biotechnology innovation can be found across the country, Atlantic Canada has become a hotbed of activity and is leading the country in key bio and life-sciences areas. “The region has seen over $1 billion dollars in exits and follow-on investment over the past few years in this sector,” said Scott Moffitt, managing director of BioNova, Nova Scotia’s Life Science Association. “Being responsive, nimble and knowledgeable has helped us to get to this point.” Today, Atlantic Canada is home to over 150 bioscience companies and 25 research organizations that are at the forefront of global research in human health, medical technologies and diagnostics, marine biology, vaccine diagnostics, pharmaceutical and therapeutics, animal and fish health products, and agricultural technology, including a strong potato research cluster. Despite all the innovative work coming out of the region, one of the most frequently asked questions to biotech and life-sciences organizations is “Why are you located in Atlantic Canada?” And while there’s not just one answer, the reasoning does stem from a regional uniqueness and an inherent entrepreneurial spirit that drives collaboration, partnership and a belief that our tiny little region on the East Coast of Canada can compete and win on the global stage. Supported by federal and provincial organizations including Springboard Atlantic, BioNovaBioNB, the PEI BioAlliance and NATI, the region’s continued growth in bio and life sciences doesn’t show signs of slowing down. “The demand for these technologies and new solutions is accelerating, says Rory Francis, CEO of the PEI BioAlliance.  “And we are well positioned to be part of that.” Atlantic Canada is home to many innovative companies driving innovative research and development in key areas of bio and life sciences. Despite representing just 5% of the Canadian population, the region has continued to punch above its weight in attracting new opportunities, including Natural Products Canada – one of just two bio Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) in Canada. This is in no small part due the world-class research talent and expertise from the region’s 20+ universities and colleges, the two dozen research institutes dedicated to supporting the region’s bio-based industries and a regional understanding that moving ideas to commercializable opportunities is key to growing the sector and region. “It’s not enough just to do the research,” says Francis. “There’s a lot of discipline and a lot of understanding required to make this economically impactful.”  And, he adds, that starts with our ability to work together as a sector. This evolution of the Atlantic bio and life science sector leverages a history of scientific ingenuity and an entrepreneurial and self-reliant spirit – it has created a dynamic environment for innovation. “We are not creating a sector from scratch here; we are building on 150 years of research and innovation in traditional industries that we know very well. That’s a base that not many regions have or understand,” says Meaghan Seagrave, executive director of BioNB. “The sky’s the limit,” says Doris Grant, director for Industry Liaison and Innovation at Dalhousie University.  “Collaboration is at the core of everything we do and having the whole ecosystem working together and recognizing this sector for the opportunity that it is only motivates us further.”]]>

News Release: Government of Canada Invests in Research to Advance Patient Care

See original release here

Government of Canada supports research and development of miniature probe for medical application

Development of an imaging and tissue cutting probe for guided neuro surgeries is expected to improve patient survival rates and create 12 highly-skilled positions in Nova Scotia’s life sciences sector. This includes nine placements for graduate students to help them access the innovative jobs of today and tomorrow.
The miniature endoscope uses ultrasound for both imaging and precision cutting during surgery. Small enough for surgeons to insert into the brain through a small hole, it will assist in the diagnosis and treatment of serious conditions such as blood clots and brain tumors. It also has application in minimally invasive cardiac procedures.
The Government of Canada is making a $2,685,540 investment over five years in the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) to develop a miniature endoscope prototype.
The federal funding was announced today by Darrell Samson, Member of Parliament for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Canadian-based Synaptive Medical Inc. and Conavi Medical Inc. are each providing $250,000 in cash and $150,000 of in-kind support to assist with the development of this advanced ultrasound technology. The NSHA will license the prototype to Synaptive Medical Inc. who intends to bring the device through the regulatory process and commercialize it for surgical applications, including neuro surgery. Conavi Medical will use the device for cardiovascular applications.
Canada’s Innovation Agenda aims to make this country a global centre for innovation—one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians‎. The Government of Canada’s investment is provided through ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund. The Atlantic Innovation Fund encourages partnerships among private sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop and commercialize new or improved products and services in Atlantic Canada.
Quotes “The work of the Nova Scotia Health Authority exemplifies Canada’s readiness to participate in the global innovation race, competing with countries around the world for the most talented people, the newest technologies and the fastest-growing companies. That is why the Government of Canada is committed to supporting projects such as this, which enhance Atlantic Canada’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.” The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA   “Nova Scotia’s life sciences sector is thriving due to our R&D capabilities and highly trained individuals. It is innovation like this that provides high quality jobs for our educated workforce, helping to attract and retain talent in the region. The NSHA is setting the bar internationally for excellence in hi-resolution ultrasound technology, creating economic spinoffs right here at home.” Darrell Samson, Member of Parliament for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook   “I think the impact of this investment will happen in two areas: it will lead to healthcare technology that will improve cancer diagnostics and therapeutics within the brain; and, it will also have a significant economic impact as we are currently developing some of the most advanced ultrasound technology in the world. Moving ahead, we are excited to work with international leaders in life sciences R&D, such as Synaptive Medical and Conavi Medical.” Dr. Jeremy Brown, Associate Professor, Depts. of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, Dalhousie University; and, Affiliated Scientist, Nova Scotia Health Authority   “As a medical device and technology company based in Toronto, Synaptive welcomes opportunities to work with industry and research partners across Canada. Partnering with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Conavi Medical presents an exciting opportunity to leverage our expertise in surgery, ultrasound and medical imaging while developing a product that stands to benefit patients in Canada and around the world.” Cameron Piron, President and Co-Founder, Synaptive Medical Inc.   “Dr. Brown and his team in Halifax have a strong track record of developing world-leading medical technologies that will provide benefits to patients by enabling precision guided treatments for complex conditions that impact both quality and quantity of life. Conavi Medical and Synaptive Medical are examples of Canadian scale-up companies that are demonstrating how Canada is evolving from a primary consumer of medical technologies, to an emerging provider of advanced solutions for patients and healthcare providers around the world.” Dr. Brian Courtney, Executive Chairman, Conavi Medical Inc., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medicine, University of Toronto and Clinician-Scientist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Quick Facts
  • ACOA’s innovation programming, which includes the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Business Development Program (BDP), is designed to help bring to market new products, technologies and services that will improve the competitiveness and productivity of the Atlantic economy.
  • In any given year, approximately 296 Nova Scotia Health Authority researchers are engaged in more than 1,300 research projects. This translates into about $28M in annual research revenues and provides support to more than 360 dedicated research personnel positions, including 150 experienced research coordinators.
  • In any given year, approximately 296 Nova Scotia Health Authority researchers are engaged in more than 1,300 research projects. This translates into about $28M in annual research revenues and provides support to more than 360 dedicated research personnel positions, including 150 experienced research coordinators.

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 [email protected] (902) 237-8608 Application Inquiries: Kerri Mannette Project Manager [email protected] 902-421-5705 ext. 4]]>