Leading Health and Life Sciences in Nova Scotia

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: Atlantic Canadian Medtech Companies Invited to Pitch for $100K at Five-Part Health Challenge Events

For Immediate Release:

Atlantic Canadian Medtech Companies Invited to Pitch for $100K at Five-Part Health Challenge Events

HALIFAX, NS (February 28, 2020) – To further drive innovation in the health ecosystem, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, BioNova, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, QEII Foundation, and Volta, have formed a strategic partnership to present the Health Challenge , a series of five pitch events focusing on specific health care priorities for Nova Scotians.

Each pitch event will focus on a different health care priority, as identified by the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Medtech companies interested in applying must be based in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. The winner at each pitch competition will receive $100,000, and their innovative medical technology will be considered for adoption for use by the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

This exciting collaboration between NSHA, BioNova, QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation, ACOA, and Volta will leverage the organizations’ shared interest in enhancing the health care system.

The first Health Challenge pitch event will focus on medical technologies supporting cancer care, and will take place on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 in downtown Halifax, in Volta’s main event space; members of the public will be welcome to attend. To participate, medtech companies must first apply by email, then be invited to pitch at the Health Challenge Pitch Events. Future pitch topics and application instructions can be found at voltaeffect.com/health-challenge.

“The Health Challenge is meant to stimulate collaboration and engagement with our medtech partners. It will also encourage those of us in the health system to problem solve in a different way and seek innovative health solutions created by Atlantic Canadians – for Atlantic Canadians.
– Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President, Research, Innovation & Discovery and CNE, Nova Scotia Health Authority

“As the leadership organization for the health and life sciences sector in Nova Scotia we strive to build a collaborative ecosystem to realize our full potential. This partnership reflects that and the local adoption of health innovation is a win for our sector, it gives our companies a first customer while keeping patient outcomes and healthcare realities a priority.”
– Scott Moffitt, Executive Director, BioNova

“There are many examples of healthcare innovation taking place within the walls of the QEII Health Sciences Centre – achievements being recognized on the global stage that are helping this community prosper. QEII Foundation donors are at the forefront of bringing some of these major innovations forward, which are not only impacting patient care each and every day but helping solve some of the biggest healthcare challenges like wait times, recruitment and retention, and access to care.”
– Bill Bean, President and CEO, QEII Foundation

“Nova Scotia is home to some of the most exciting medtech companies in Canada, who continue to drive innovation on a global scale. We are excited and proud to partner with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, QEII Foundation, BioNova, and ACOA to provide a platform for these innovators and leaders to elevate health care locally.”
– Jesse Rodgers, CEO, Volta


About Nova Scotia Health Authority
Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services to Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. NSHA operates hospitals, health centres and community-based programs across the province. Our team of health professionals includes employees, doctors, researchers, learners and volunteers. We work in partnership with community groups, schools, governments, foundations and auxiliaries and community health boards.

About BioNova
BioNova leads the development of Health and Life Sciences in Nova Scotia. Our primary mandate is the strategic leadership of the sector to develop economic prosperity.

About QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation
The QEII Foundation inspires generosity to advance health care at the QEII. With financial support from all levels of the community, the QEII Foundation helps fund new technologies, medical research, innovation and professional education that contribute to life-changing moments experienced every day by patients and their loved ones. By working together with people who share a vision of better health, the Foundation strengthens care delivered at the QEII, improving the health and lives of Atlantic Canadians.

About the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency works to create opportunities for economic growth in Atlantic Canada by helping businesses become more competitive, innovative and productive, by working with diverse communities to develop and diversify local economies, and by championing the strengths of Atlantic Canada. Together, with Atlantic Canadians, ACOA is building a stronger economy. For more information, please visit www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca .

About Volta
Volta (formerly Volta Labs) is one of Canada’s largest innovation hubs, located in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. Volta is creating a space where members of the Atlantic Canadian innovation ecosystem can work, connect and learn from one another by accessing co-working space, participating in programs and attending events. Volta has been home to more than 50 startups through their Residency program, which have created more than 300 jobs and raised a combined total of $60-million in equity financing.

For more information, contact:
Patti Green, Communications Coordinator, Nova Scotia Health Authority
[email protected], 902-266-6853

Shana Cristoferi, Marketing Manager, BioNova
[email protected] , 902-421-5705

Tanya MacLean, VP Communications and Marketing, QEII Foundation
[email protected] , 902-489-5664

Laurie Snell, Marketing Manager, Volta
[email protected], 902-220-2544

BioTalent Canada and BioNova launch new provincial life sciences job board

HALIFAX, NS – February 10, 2020 – Today, BioTalent Canada and BioNova announced the launch of The PetriDish™ BioNova job board – giving companies in one of Canada’s fastest growing bio-economy hubs a platform to attract highly-skilled talent.

According to BioTalent Canada’s labour market report Mapping Potential, with over 100 life science companies, 26 research organizations and 11 post-secondary institutions, Nova Scotia is well positioned to lead innovation in Canada’s bio-economy.

“It is estimated that by 2030 the number of jobs in the life sciences sector in Nova Scotia will grow by 200%,” says Scott Moffitt, Executive Director at BioNova. “Providing a job board specific to life sciences companies in our province will help attract the talent they need to realize this potential for growth.”

As the HR partner and catalyst for growth in Canada’s bio-economy, BioTalent Canada has built relationships with employers, associations, academic institutions, governments and job seekers to address and alleviate the two key challenges still facing industry leaders – access to capital and access to talent.

“We look forward to working closer with our Silver partner, BioNova, to help their stakeholders with the necessary tools and services needed to succeed in a growing and competitive industry,” says Rob Henderson, President and CEO, BioTalent Canada. “The PetriDish BioNova will give life sciences companies in the province a dedicated platform to reach the right talent to drive their innovations, after all, without people, there can be no science.”

Modelled after BioTalent Canada’s national job board, The PetriDish BioNova will provide employers with the same benefits of narrowing their search for candidates by providing more relevant bio-economy applicants.

Members of BioNova can access free job postings to help with their recruiting needs.

For current openings or to post a job, visit BioNova.ca/Careers

About BioTalent Canada

BioTalent Canada™ is the HR partner and catalyst for growth in Canada’s bio-economy. Our engagement with employers, associations, post-secondary institutions, immigrant serving agencies and service providers has built a dynamic network that is identifying labour market needs, strengthening skills, connecting job-ready talent to industry and creating opportunities. For more information visit biotalent.ca.

About BioNova

BioNova leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector. Since 1993, BioNova has been accelerating the growth of its member companies. By hosting networking and educational events, and providing connections to potential funders and business resources, BioNova helps companies succeed.  While these companies commercialize life-changing research to improve healthcare, provide healthier food, and develop clean energy solutions, BioNova advocates on behalf of the sector. BioNova champions the sector’s cluster of world-class research facilities, incubator programs, and companies who, together, bring investment and jobs to Nova Scotia. For more information visit bionova.ca.

Media inquiries:

Siobhan Williams
Director, Marketing and Communications
BioTalent Canada
613-235-1402 ext. 229
[email protected]

Shana Cristoferi
Marketing Manager
902-421-5705 ext. 4
[email protected]

ENTREVESTOR – Biotech Segment Continues To Grow

Read original Entrevestor article here

One of the strongest developments in the Atlantic Canadian startup community in recent years is the development of the life sciences segment – both the biotech companies and the ecosystem that supports them.

Five years ago, these companies made up 16 percent of the companies we listed in our Entrevestor databank, but that proportion rose to 21 percent last year. And our research shows that the number of people working at Atlantic Canadian-owned life sciences companies rose 25 percent in 2018 to almost 1,300, while the companies that provided us with sales data showed a 95 percent increase in revenues. There were 24 new life sciences companies in 2018 (up from six in 2014), so that one-fifth of the region’s biotech companies were launched in 2018.

Finding a theme in this sector is difficult because there are several initiatives taking place across the region. On Prince Edward Island, the PEI BioAlliance continues to build up its community with a special emphasis on pet health and natural products. The BioAlliance’s Emergence incubator is growing into a more regional initiative.

In Nova Scotia, BioNova last year produced its BioFuture 2030 report, which sets out a roadmap for doubling the sector or better. It plans to triple employment to 4,100 jobs and quadruple revenues to $1.1 billion. It is also calling for new ecosystem initiatives, such as an acceerator to teach sales to life sciences companies.

Newfoundland and Labrador is beginning to launch more life sciences companies as the Bounce Health Innovation initiative is nurturing partnerships between innovators and the medical community. BioNB is growing and becoming more active in developing a cannabis R&D cluster in New Brunswick.

These provincial groups are working together more than ever before, as the life sciences group of the Atlantic Growth Strategy is bringing them together to work on common goals. BioNB, BioNova, the Newfoundland & Labrador Association of Technology Industries and the PEI BioAlliance are all working together in the Atlantic Canada Bio-Industries Alliance. This group brought together 20 companies and organizations in early 2019 to attend the 2019 BIO International Convention and Trade Show in Philadelphia.

As well as the ecosystem changes, there are some great companies pushing forward. Halifax-based ABK Biomedical raised a US$30 million (C$40 million) venture capital round this spring, a record for the region. Drug discovery company Appili Therapeutics listed on the TSX Venture exchange in June. Adaptiiv, which 3D prints boluses for cancer treatment, and Densitas, whose software measures breast density during mammograms, are both growing revenues. Moncton-based Picomole is developing its cancer detection device and has made inroads in the Boston area. Mara Renewables is producing its Omega-3 food supplements from algae and now employs 60 people. Publicly listed IMV of Dartmouth will soon announce the results of clinical trials for its flagship drug candidate, DPX-Survivac.

Funding of life sciences companies rose to a new plateau of more than $20 million per year in 2017 and 2018. The US$30 million funding round announced by ABK Biomedical will ensure that life sciences funding will set a record in 2019.

Entrevestor – BioNova Calls for Tax Credit Reforms

See original Entrevestor article here

While applauding recent investment tax credit reforms in Nova Scotia, the province’s life sciences association wants further improvements, including offering the credits to investors outside the region.

BioNova, the group that supports the development of health, life sciences and biotech companies in Nova Scotia, has teamed up with the consulting group Grant Thornton and the law firm Cox & Palmer to produce a new paper on Innovation Equity Tax Credits, or IETCs. They released the report last week at the annual BioPort conference in Halifax.

Most of the report’s 13 recommendations are technical, but No. 6 strikes at the heart of an ongoing debate in the startup community about investment tax credits. These credits are now only available to Nova Scotians, but BioNova and its co-authors want them offered to investors living elsewhere to increase the money going into high-growth companies.

“Limiting it to Nova Scotia restricts investors and, most importantly, limits access to significant pools of capital,” says the report. “Regardless of the method, expanding the program as suggested in this paper to investors outside of Nova Scotia would likely be the biggest benefit to Nova Scotia companies in accessing funds.”

Most provinces in Canada and states in the U.S. offer a tax credit to investors in startups and other high-growth businesses as a means of encouraging investment in these businesses. Canadian provincial governments offer them only to residents living in (or businesses based in) their own provinces.

There’s been a long-standing push in Atlantic Canada for the four East Coast provinces to open up their tax credits to one another’s residents, or to offer them to investors anywhere in the world.

The Nova Scotia government in January enhanced its program so its new IETC applies to investments in approved companies of up to $250,000, up from $50,000. Investors can receive a credit equal to 35 percent of their qualifying investment, or 45 percent in the priority sectors of oceans technology and life sciences.

But the credit is still offered only to Nova Scotians. BioNova is recommending the province consider measures in place in such states as Alabama or Arkansas, which offer tax credits to external investors. Some states allow investors to transfer their credits, so an external investor can sell a tax credit to a local taxpayer. Others will offer a tax credit directly to external investors. Minnesota, for example, gives cheques to people outside the state making approved investments in companies based in the state.

The BioNova report said the Nova Scotia government could examine other means to encourage inward investment into the province’s startups, such as a payment to the target company rather than the investor. For example, if an investor in Boston invests $85,000 in a Nova Scotian company, the provincial government could provide the company with a further $15,000 to bring the total amount of capital raised to $100,000.

Peter Hickey, a BioNova board member and the CEO of biotech company Adaptiiv, said the recent changes to the province’s tax credits have already helped innovation-driven companies in the province.

“We were encouraged to see local investors benefit from the new changes,” he said in the report. “We truly believe that these are the types of significant improvements that are needed to ensure the success of technology-based businesses like ours, so we look forward to this trend continuing.”

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 .


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: