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.”
Motryx, the Halifax company whose technology improves the transportation of blood samples, has won the $55,000 BioInnovation Challenge, Atlantic Canada’s top pitching competition for life sciences companies.Co-Founder and CEO Franziska Broell pitched the company at the finals on Wednesday at BioNova’s Bioport Atlantic competition. The other finalists were Charlottetown-based AgTech company Fieldetect, and Halifax-based SeeChange BioChemistry, which will manufacture high-value compounds from biomass.Now in its ninth year, BIC is designed to support young life sciences companies by teaching contestants how to pitch for investment. As the winner, Motryx will receive $25,000 in seed funding and a $30,000 advisory services package to develop its business idea.Because hospitals and healthcare systems are becoming bigger and more centralized, blood samples are often shipped to labs over great distances, sometimes including air shipment. About 3 percent of samples end up being unusable because they are ruined due to the time, temperature or vibrations involved in the trip. Motryx has developed blood vials with sensors that transmit to labs data on the conditions during the trip, allowing lab officials to identify problems and solve them.“In the last six months, we’ve secured eight early adopter clients in Europe and the U.S., and we’ve been able to convert two into paying clients,” Broell told the panel of judges.
The company is also doing a pilot in Africa in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The company so far has raised $1.5 million, including investment from Killick Capital and Concrete Ventures.
SeeChange BioChemistry is using a new bio-refinery process to produce high-value compounds from sustainable sources.
Co-Founder Chris Rafuse said the company, which was founded this year, has found a method to use a form of biomass to produce three industrial compounds: polyphenols, which are used in pharmaceutical industries to help with obesity and Type 2 diabetes; lactic acid, which can be used in 3D printing, plastics and other industrial uses; and another compound that Rafuse declined to name.
Refuse said the company is attacking a $4 billion global market opportunity, and current methods of producing these materials involve extraction from petrochemicals and result in a lot of waste. There is no waste with the SeeChange process, he said, and users demand more sustainable sourcing.
“We’ve never made an outside call,” said Rafuse, adding that the company’s six prospective clients all contacted SeeChange. The company will soon be ready to start selling. “We want to hit the market hard and fast so no one sees us coming and we think we can gain a lot of market share very quickly.”
Operating under a licensing agreement with the University of Prince Edward Island, Fieldetect is developing a hand-held device that will allow farmers to detect disease in their herds fast enough to prevent a large outbreak.
President and Co-Founder Andrew Trivett said the company is beginning with hog farmers, who now have to take samples from their herds and send them to a lab to be tested. In the day or two it takes to get the results back, a disease could spread, possibly leading to a cull of the entire herd.
“What if we could take that test and have the farmer do it themselves, have it take less than an hour and get the result immediately?” asked Trivett.
Fieldetect has developed LabAnywhere, a handheld device that will test a sample from the animal and give farmers the results on their smartphones in about 40 minutes. The team expects to begin shipping the product in late 2020 and sell about 500 units in the subsequent 12 months.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BioNova, Grant Thornton and Cox & Palmer Propose Updates to N.S. Tax Credit to Boost Investment in Startups
November 6, 2019 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – BioNova, Grant Thornton and Cox & Palmer
BioNova, the organization leading the economic growth of the Health and Life Sciences sector in Nova Scotia in collaboration with Grant Thornton and Cox & Palmer have announced the launch of a report to advance the Innovation Equity Tax Credit (IETC) to better serve the interests of local businesses, the investment community, and the province’s economic development objectives. The announcement was made at BioNova’s 18th annual BioPort Atlantic conference, the largest health and life sciences conference east of Montreal.
This is the second time that BioNova and industry partners have provided recommendations to the province to evolve the tax credit, many of which were adopted with the launch of the new and improved IETC back in January. This has led to welcomed changes for many companies in Nova Scotia, as the attraction of capital has been a long-standing issue for emerging businesses.
“Great strides have been made and we believe there are still opportunities available to further improve and refine the IETC that will have a long-term positive impact on our economy and for the health and life sciences sector,” said Scott Moffitt, Executive Director of BioNova.
There are thirteen new recommendations listed in the report including an update which will allow directors, founders, and other investors with a vested interest in the company to benefit from the tax credits where they are currently excluded. The report also recommends providing early stage companies an opportunity to pivot their business plan if it will increase their chances of success while still being eligible for the IETC.
BioNova advocates on behalf of the sector for initiatives that are important to attract investment to the province. The IETC encourages investors to make equity capital investments in eligible Nova Scotian small and medium corporations, who are engaged in innovative activities that contribute to inclusive economic growth and increase investment in innovation.
“The Innovation Equity Tax Credit changes that were announced in January of 2019 and referenced again in the provincial budget for 2019/20 made a significant impact on the amount of local funds raised in our most recent offering. We were encouraged to see local investors benefit from the new changes. 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.”
– Peter Hickey, Co-founder and Executive Director, IR Scientific
“We’re hoping that our efforts to improve the business climate in Nova Scotia for innovation-driven entrepreneurship by doing things differently will continue to support economic growth in the province.”
–Gerry Lacroix, Partner, Grant Thornton
View the full report “Continuing the Advantage: INNOVATION EQUITY TAX CREDITS and Stimulating Innovative Companies” here
BioNova leads the economic development of Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector. Since 1993, BioNova has been accelerating the growth of its member companies to commercialize life-changing research to improve healthcare, provide healthier food, and develop sustainable solutions. 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 further information, media may contact:
Marketing Manager, BioNova
Click here to download the BioPort and BioNova Logos.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2019
BioNova Announces Motryx as the Winner of the Ninth Annual BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) at BioPort 2019
Halifax, NS – November 6, 2019 – Today Motryx from Nova Scotia was named the winner of BioNova’s ninth annual BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) business pitch competition at BioPort 2019. Motryx is developing high-resolution, wireless, water and temperature resistant data-loggers with data analysis capabilities.
“The BioInnovation Challenge has positioned us for fast acceleration,” Franziska Broell, of Motryx said, “We have benefitted not only from winning, but from the program and training it provided as a whole.”
Atlantic Canada’s best health and life science innovators participate in the BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) business pitch competition each year. The competition’s goal is to help ease the transition from research laboratory to market. Motryx will receive a prize package that includes $25,000 in seed funding and an advisory services package worth more than $30,000. Motryx was up against SeeChange Biochemistry and Fieldetect.
“Selecting a winner was difficult for our judges panel as all three finalists have what it takes to make their start up a success,” said Scott Moffitt, Executive Director of BioNova. “Congratulations to Motryx.”
The Judging Panel:
Jennifer Hamilton, PhD – Senior Director, New Ventures at Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Advisor to Johnson & Johnson’s Impact Investing team
Arif Aziz, PhD – Senior Manager, National Life Science SR&ED, MNP
Milos Todorovic, PhD – International Business Development Officer, Global Affairs Canada
Shana Cristoferi, Marketing Manager, 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 sustainable 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. www.bionova.ca
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BioPort 2019 Conference to Celebrate the Trailblazers of Health and Life Sciences
Halifax, NS – November 5th, 2019 – BioPort 2019, the largest health and life sciences conference east of Montreal, kicks-off today and is set to focus on Celebrating the Trailblazers of Health and Life Sciences, with sessions covering the impact of health innovation, personalized health, and the natural resource economy. The conference, hosted by BioNova, attracts health and life sciences innovators, industry leaders, and investors from across North America and will take place November 5th-6th, 2019 at Pier 21, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
This year’s conference will feature the highly acclaimed Sickboy Podcast, who will be recording a live podcast with their guest, three-time World & Paralympic Champion Andrew Haley at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, November 5th. It will also feature Luncheon Speaker Dr. Carman Giacomantonio who will be giving a talk at 12:45 on Wednesday, November 6th. Dr. Giacomantonio will be discussing cancer research and how his frontline perspective as a surgeon has allowed him to push for better patient outcomes and efficiencies in healthcare.
“The goal of BioPort 2019 is to work towards growing and accelerating the sector” said Scott Moffitt, Executive Director of BioNova. “The topics we will discuss reflect the exciting ways this sector is positioned to bring significant economic growth and prosperity to the region.”
BioPort 2019 will also showcase Atlantic Canada’s best health and life science innovators in its 9th annual BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) business pitch competition. It will also host BIC Junior, a pitch competition for students that aims to cultivate the next generation of health and life sciences innovators. BIC Junior and the BIC semi finals are open to the public.
Details of the conference program and schedule can be found at www.bioportatlantic.ca.
All media are asked to register by contacting [email protected]
Shana Cristoferi, Marketing Manager, BioNova
Mobile: (902) 830-9193
BioNova leads the economic development of Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector. Since 1993, BioNova has been accelerating the growth of its member companies to commercialize life-changing research to improve healthcare, provide healthier food, and develop sustainable solutions. BioNova champions the sector’s cluster of world-class research facilities, incubator programs, and companies who, together, bring investment and jobs to Nova Scotia. www.bionova.ca
About BioPort 2019
The 18th annual BioPort conference will take place at Pier 21 on November 5-6, 2019. BioPort provides a forum to educate, inform and inspire the health and life sciences community to develop their ideas, commercialize their technologies and build links within the region and with guests brought in from the U.S. and from around the world. www.bioportatlantic.ca
See original Entrevestor article here
Halifax-based Densitas Inc. whose software helps assess the density of breasts during mammograms, announced this week its densitas densityai software will soon be available on the Nuance AI Marketplace.
In a statement, Densitas said the Nuance marketplace provides access to more than 70 percent of all radiologists across the largest network of connected healthcare facilities in the U.S.
“AI can play an important supporting role for radiologists by automating routine, time-consuming, subjective and fatiguing tasks so that they can focus on more challenging interpretive tasks,” said Woojin Kim, chief medical information officer at the Healthcare Division of Nuance Communications.
“What sets densitas densityai apart is that it has been thoughtfully designed to process routinely archived mammograms so that breast density assessments can be obtained from historical studies when comparing current with prior exams.”
Densitas densityai delivers automated breast density assessments from standard digital imaging in the medical community. The Densitas software provides an automated mechanism for quantifying and recording breast tissue density, a risk factor for breast cancer in women. Dense breasts can mask cancerous cells. Dense breast tissue is also linked to higher chances of cancer.
As well as speeding and simplifying the process of quantifying breast density, the Densitas technology standardizes the density measurement and enables stratification of women to ensure those who need more aggressive follow-up receive it.
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the densitas densityai solution uses artificial intelligence to align with how the human eye processes breast images in mammograms. It rapidly generates reproducible and standardized breast density assessments.
Densitas recently announced that densitas densityai has also been selected for use in a major breast screening trial in Germany.