DeCell Technologies has now obtained patents for its novel and innovative prECM™ decellularization technology in the U.S., Canada, and five countries in the E.U. (UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy). These patents include process protection and for the first time ever—composition of matter protection defining the quality of decellularized tissues produced by the prECM™ process. Further, the patents also secure DeCell’s novel liquid-based soft tissue sterilization that eliminates the need for using tissue disrupting radiation or energy-based sterilization methods.
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The company aims to produce commercial quantities of nature’s “strongest, lightest and toughest” materials.
3D BioFibrR CEO Kevin Sullivan
Halifax-based 3D BioFibR Inc., only formed in July, has closed a $550,000 funding round that will launch its mission to produce commercial quantities of nature’s “strongest, lightest and toughest” materials.
The equity round – believed to be the first by an Atlantic Canadian company founded since the pandemic started – includes $150,000 from Concrete Ventures and $100,000 from Innovacorp.
The company is already distinguished by its co-founders. CEO Kevin Sullivan is a veteran of several life sciences companies and most recently founded Appili Therapeutics, leading it through its listing on the TSX Venture exchange. Chief Scientific Officer John Frampton, whose research laid the foundation for the company, is the Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials at Dalhousie University.
“Completing this seed round of investment provides us with a solid financial base from which we can accelerate our growth,” said Sullivan in a statement. “I am proud of the team we have built to date. With the addition of talented scientists and our R&D capacity, we are ramping up our ability to provide real solutions that address the growing need for advanced bio-composite materials that can fundamentally improve the world in which we live.”
Through his research at Dal, Frampton has improved methods of producing biofibres – which are fibres that exist in nature and are used by humans. They include spider silk (the threads spiders make for their webs), collagen (the main structural protein found in skin), and chitosan (a multi-purpose substance found in shellfish shells).
These materials already have a range of commercial applications in such markets as medicine, green textiles, aerospace and defense. Frampton’s methods allow them to be produced in industrial quantities at lower prices than what’s available now.
“Nature has evolved some of the most exquisite and advanced materials ever described,” said Frampton. “The physical, mechanical and chemical properties of these naturally occurring fibers could help solve many of the engineering challenges we face, but no one has been able to make these biofibers on an industrial scale using existing techniques such as electrospinning and wet spinning. Our 3D BioFibR team has solved the problem of making high quality biofibers using a proprietary, scalable process which is already at least 600 [times] more efficient than current technologies.”
3D BioFibR scientists have already demonstrated they can make collagen fibres, called CollaFibR, that are stronger than natural tendons, and spider silk that is tougher and 20 times more flexible than steel, said the statement.
In an email, Sullivan said the company’s first products will be in the biomedical space. It hopes to have its first products in the market in six to 12 months as they don’t require regulatory approval.
“The first is 3D tissue culture scaffolds made of fibrous collagen for the research industry,” he said, adding that 3D tissue culture is a $1.6 billion industry that is growing 15 to 20 percent annually. “Prototypes . . . have been shipped to collaborators and funding is focused on finalizing product development over the coming four to six months.”
The company, which is also working on an artificial tendon made of fibrous collagen, now employs six full-time employees and plans to hire more over the coming months.
In teaming up with Sullivan, Frampton has joined up with one of the leading life sciences executives in the region, who has raised tens of millions of dollars in capital for companies in Nova Scotia and Ontario. Sullivan was the guiding force behind Appili, an anti-infectious drug company, before leaving the company last December when Armand Balboni became its CEO. Appili, whose shares have risen 219 percent in the last year, now has a market value of $90 million and has moved to the main board of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
“3D BioFibR has an experienced team with scientific, industry, and business leadership,” said Lidija Marušić, life sciences investment manager at Innovacorp. “We have been following the progress of Dr. Frampton’s work for a few years now. With the recent technology advances his team has made, combined with their ability to attract seasoned executives to the opportunity, we are excited to help take their innovation to the global market.”
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The Wild Blueberry Solutions Challenge is a competition among Nova Scotia companies to develop innovative value-added products and packaging solutions and this year’s winner is Clever Fruit Products in Lunenburg.
They specialize in boosting the nutritional value of the already relatively nutritious wild blueberries of Nova Scotia.
The company uses fermentation to increase the nutritional strength of fruits such as wild blueberries. Its blueberries are sold as high-quality ingredients to manufacturers of foods and food supplements that have medicinal benefits, including potential improvement in cholesterol health.
In recognition of their advancements, they have been awarded $126,000, to be used to help grow sales, pursue new export markets and develop new products.
“We are excited to have won the Wild Blueberry Solutions Challenge and look forward to working more closely with the Wild Blueberry Producers’ Association to bring our natural, premium fermented health products to market,” said owner of Clever Fruit, Liam Tayler. “This investment is key to completing the next stage of scientific research and the launch of our natural product line’s initial offering, which has already generated global interest.”
Wild blueberries are Nova Scotia’s largest agriculture export at $104.4 million in 2018
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Ottawa, September 25, 2020 – The following statement can be attributed to Declan Hamill, Vice President, Legal, Regulatory Affairs & Compliance, Innovative Medicines Canada in response to the Trump administration’s plan to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada:
“Innovative Medicines Canada is concerned by this announcement because it could impact the supply of prescription medicines available to Canadians. Canada simply cannot supply medicines and vaccines to a market ten times larger than its own population without creating shortages and exposing Canadian patients to risk.
Innovative Medicines Canada will work collaboratively with the Government of Canada and other stakeholders to ensure that Canadian patients continue to have access to the medicines and vaccines that they need.”
About Innovative Medicines Canada
Innovative Medicines Canada is the national voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry. We advocate for policies that enable the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of all Canadians. We support our members’ commitment to being valued partners in the Canadian healthcare system.
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For further information:
E-mail: [email protected]
EORLA to use Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody test that helps determine exposition to the virus and development of antibodies
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OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 4, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Roche Diagnostics, a division of Hoffmann-La Roche Limited, and the Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA) are pleased to announce a major collaborative research initiative on SARS-CoV-2 serology. The EORLA research team will conduct a randomized seroprevalence study of 4,400 people in Eastern Ontario to identify how many have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and for how long those antibodies remain detectable in the body.
“Our objective is to establish an estimate of the number of Eastern Ontario residents who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, but may not be aware of their exposure,” said Dr. Christopher McCudden, Deputy Chief Medical/Scientific Officer at EORLA and leader of the study. “We will aim to quantify this exposure first among high-risk hospital out-patients. They are mobile, living in the community, but still need to come to hospital for regular blood tests and follow-up.”
The study is also intended to learn more about the pattern by which the amount of antibodies rises and falls over time in SARS-CoV-2 patients. By doing so, EORLA researchers hope to determine the longevity of antibody production in patients, critically important to pandemic response and recovery planning, with wide applications and benefits both regionally and nationally. The study will cover the Champlain Region of Ontario, which includes the National Capital Region and communities east of Algonquin park between the Quebec and New York state borders.
“We are proud to partner with the EORLA for this seroprevalence study using Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody test, which we are confident will bring reliable results to better manage the COVID-19 health crisis in Ontario,” said Michele D’Elia, Medical Director of Roche Diagnostics. “This study will help answer key questions about COVID-19 epidemiology and immunity and is one of our many efforts across the country to help better understand the dynamics of the pandemic in Canada.”
Study results will be invaluable to workers in long-term care homes, regional health centres and hospitals, and the community at large. Further, the study could provide a better understanding of the extent of herd immunity.
About antibody testing
An antibody test, also called a serology test, is used to determine whether a person might have mounted an immune response against a pathogen or not. In the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, antibody tests need to be able to specifically detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 with no cross-reactivity to other similar coronaviruses, which could generate a false positive result and thus wrongly indicate potential COVID infection. A false positive result happens when a person receives a positive test result, when they should have received a negative result. False positives are particularly critical when we do not know how many people in a given population have been exposed to the virus.
The Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA) is a member-owned, non-profit organization encompassing the operation of 18 licensed, acute-care, hospital-based clinical laboratories that service clinical programs across the Champlain Region of Eastern Ontario. A leading, innovative model of integrated laboratory practices in the province, the purpose of EORLA is to deliver patient-focused, consistent, high-quality and cost-effective hospital-based laboratory services to meet the needs of the region’s patients. EORLA laboratories provide diagnostic testing to both hospital inpatients and registered outpatients, performing a total of approximately 13 million tests annually. Comprehensive testing in the disciplines of Anatomic Pathology, Biochemistry, Transfusion Medicine, Hematopathology, and Microbiology/Virology is performed. For more information, visit www.eorla.ca.
About Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology test1
Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 is an immunoassay for the in-vitro qualitative detection of antibodies (including IgG) to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in human serum and plasma. Through a blood sample, the test, which is based on an in-solution double-antigen sandwich format, can detect antibodies to the new coronavirus causing COVID-19, which could signal whether a person has already been infected and potentially developed immunity to the virus. Based on the measurement of a total of 10,453 samples, the Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay has 99.80% specificity and shows no cross-reactivity to the four human coronaviruses causing common cold. This means it can lower the chance of false positives due to the detection of similar antibodies that may be present in an individual, but are specific for coronaviruses other than SARS-CoV-2. Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 detected antibodies with 99.5% sensitivity in samples taken 14 days after a PCR-confirmed infection. The importance of specificity and sensitivity of a particular test will be dependent on its purpose and disease prevalence within a given population.
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalized healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.
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OTTAWA, ON, July 14, 2020 – Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) today announced funding for four Canadian start-up companies in the food, agriculture and aquaculture. Two of the firms are based in Halifax, one in St. John’s, and one in Montreal.
One of these companies is an agtech firm developing organic products to replace chemicals for disease control. One is building new software in the dairy industry to manage the milk supply chain more efficiently. A third firm is using artificial intelligence to reduce food waste and mortality on fish farms. The fourth team is also working in the fish industry, developing active compostable packaging that extends the shelf life of fresh fish.
The funding comes from SDTC’s Seed Fund. Piloted in 2019, the Seed Fund can support up to 100 companies per year. Successful applicants receive between $50,000 to $100,000 from SDTC, enabling them to unlock even greater funding from their private equity partners. In total, 17 small businesses received funding from SDTC in the first round of 2020-2021, which concluded at the end of June.
Central to the success of SDTC’s Seed Fund is its partnership model. SDTC partners with business accelerators and incubators across the country to identify high-potential start-up firms. With specialized knowledge of their regions and target industries, the accelerators nominate companies in their portfolios that meet SDTC funding criteria. Any accelerator in Canada is welcome to apply to SDTC to be a partner in the Seed Fund.
“When it comes to clean technology, Canada is a true global leader, creating good jobs for Canadians while helping meet our climate change goals. Today’s investment will have a direct impact across the food, agriculture and aquaculture industries to improve sustainability and efficiency, while reducing waste.” – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
“The Seed Fund is helping SDTC to extend our reach into emerging areas of innovation in sectors and regions that might surprise Canadians. By creating innovative solutions to keep food fresh, reduce waste and bring products to market more efficiently, these entrepreneurs are important contributors to advancing cleantech in Canada.” – Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada
A list of the agriculture and food sector companies and their accelerator sponsors appears below. The second call for Seed Fund applications of 2020-2021 will launch this Fall.
- Impactful Health Research & Development Inc. (Montreal, QC), supported by Innovacorp, is developing active compostable packaging to extend the shelf life of fresh foods, particularly fish, increasing return on investment along the value chain while reducing waste.
- Milk Moovement (St. John’s, NL), supported by Genesis, develops cloud-based software to improve the efficiency of the dairy supply chain through features like transport monitoring, production tracking and route optimization, reducing the carbon footprint of dairy trucks.
- Reazent (Halifax, NS), supported by Verschuren Centre, makes efficient, high-efficacy organic replacements for agrochemicals. These products help in crop disease control, yield growth, and abiotic stress resistance in the agricultural industry.
- ReelData (Halifax, NS), supported by Innovacorp, is developing artificial intelligence and computer vision software for aquaculture, providing real time metrics to fish farms. This reduces wasted fish feed and mortality by tracking fish health, hunger, and weight.