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.”]]>

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]]>

Dalhousie University brings innovative ideas from the lab into the real world

See original article in LINK Magazine
Every year brilliant discoveries are made in Dalhousie University’s research labs but without commercialization support many of those discoveries may never lead to potential social or economic benefits. The Industry Liaison and Innovation (ILI) Office, which is the business development arm of the university, is working to get those discoveries out of the labs and into the real world.
“We work to unite talented researchers with local and international companies to help them grow their business and become more competitive,” says Stephen Hartlen, assistant Vice-President of industry relations at Dalhousie and Executive Director of Industry Liaison and Innovation.
One of those unions was made when the ILI office began to work with Diagnostic Radiology Professor, Dr. Daniel Boyd and Dr. Bob Abraham an Interventional Radiologist. The office saw commercial potential in their research ideas and encouraged them to launch the company known today as ABK BioMedical.
Another success story came from Agada Biosciences, who reached out to the ILI office to investigate the prospects of transplanting their company from Washington, DC to Nova Scotia. ILI was pivotal in demonstrating the tremendous support programs for Nova Scotia life sciences companies to help ensure their success, Agada moved to Nova Scotia in 2013. Agada now employs numerous Dalhousie graduates and has extensive partnerships within the Faculty of Medicine.
The commercialization of research discoveries in Nova Scotia is an important financial boost to the region’s economy. With Dalhousie poised as the largest research enterprise in Atlantic Canada and the ILI office facilitating meaningful industry collaborations, more companies like ABK are being launched. The economic and social benefits are far reaching and include the attraction of big industry, investment, start-up formation, job creation and further contributions to research and development in the region.
The office is also a valuable asset to the business community through the transfer of knowledge and technology from the university into the hands of industry. Companies not only benefit from the collaborative facilitation and guidance of the ILI office but can also access various funding initiatives as well.
“We’re proud to be part of the innovation ecosystem in Atlantic Canada and will continue to foster meaningful collaborations with industry,” says Hartlen.