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Shares of Halifax-based Sona Nanotech more than doubled Friday after the nanoparticle technology company said clinical trials showed its COVID-19 rapid testing kit has a 96 percent sensitivity to the virus.
The company’s shares on the Canadian Stock Exchange surged $3.84 or 123 percent, closing at $6.97 on Friday. The shares opened 2020 at 11 cents, and have produced a 6200 percent return so far this year. The company now has a market value of $374 million.
Sona Nanotech’s improved outlook has come as it adapted its technology, which manufactures rod-shaped gold nanoparticles for use in diagnostic testing, to a rapid test for COVID-19. The company has been conducting clinical trials for these test kits, and late Thursday it announced the lab trials suggest that Sona’s technology can detect SARS-CoV-2 in patients with “low viral loads” in about 15 minutes. Sona also ran an experiment using nasal swabs from 30 human test subjects and irradiated virus samples, with comparable results.
“These excellent performance results . . . [complete] a further milestone achieved for Sona along our path to bring a quality rapid test to market at scale,” said CEO Darren Rowles in the statement. “This will allow expansion of testing by governments, help ease the burden on healthcare systems, keep healthcare workers safe by allowing them to know their status on a daily basis and assist in softening restrictions by providing a quick and simple means to screen individuals.”
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Halifax-based Adaptiiv Medical Technologies has won the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s first Health Challenge pitch competition, bagging a $100,000 prize.
Announced in February and hosted by innovation hub Volta, the Health Challenges are a series of five events aimed at identifying technologies to help modernize Nova Scotia’s aging and understaffed healthcare system. Friday’s competition was focused exclusively on cancer-related innovations.
In addition to the cash prize, the NSHA has promised to consider adopting Adaptiiv’s technology for use in the provincial medical system.
“Through this challenge, we know that we have created this space that’s supportive or collaborative in nature,” said Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, who is the NSHA’s vice president of research, innovation and discovery, and chief nurse executive. She added that the display of innovation shows “that the support and strength to draw from our private partners is making a difference.”
Adaptiiv sells equipment and software for 3D printing specialized bolus devices – pieces of polymer placed on patients’ bodies to target radiation therapy during cancer treatment.
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Four Atlantic Canadian medtech companies will present their cancer care solutions virtually during the first Health Challenge Pitch Event on Friday, June 19 at 12pm. In partnership with Nova Scotia Health Authority, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, QEII Foundation, and BioNova, one medical technology company working to enhance cancer care will receive $100,000 and their technology will be considered for adoption by the NSHA.
This event is the first of five virtual pitch competitions focusing on health innovation, with topics differing at each event to focus on a health priority identified by the Nova Scotia Health Authority. The competition was created to drive innovation in the medtech space and encourage the adoption of technologies that exist to improve the accuracy and level of care medical practitioners require to make concise, life-saving diagnoses and treatments for patients in Atlantic Canada.
The four companies that will be pitching virtually on Friday, June 19 include:
● Picomole Inc.
● DMF Medical Inc.
● Adaptiiv Medical Technologies Inc.
Pitches will be 10 minutes in length, followed by five minutes for the judges to ask questions. The event is taking place via videoconference and begins at 12pm on Friday, June 19.
Those interested in watching are encouraged to register for the event on Eventbrite. Upcoming pitch topics will be announced in the coming weeks on our social media channels and website.
“The Health Innovation Challenge is meant to stimulate not only greater collaboration and engagement with our medtech partners, but to encourage those of us in the health system to problem solve in a different way. This competition represents a change in our approach to how we view partnerships in our health care system and health innovation.” – Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President, Research, Innovation & Discovery and CNE, Nova Scotia Health Authority
“BioNova has provided early support and leadership to all of the finalist companies which has accelerated their growth, making them strong candidates for the Health Challenge.” – Scott Moffitt, Executive Director, BioNova
“The QEII Foundation has a long-standing history of supporting cancer care priorities at the QEII – funding lifesaving clinics, equipment, treatment advancements and research. It is exciting to be part of finding innovative solutions to cancer care treatments for patients who need it most.” – Bill Bean, President and CEO, QEII Foundation
“Cancer is a disease that impacts so many of us, and it is inspiring to see strong leadership and innovation in cancer research from Atlantic Canadian medtech companies. I am confident these companies will continue to have a positive impact on patient care across our region.” – Martha Casey, Volta Interim CEO, and COO
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The COVID-19 pandemic has placed members of our community off work and out of school as they are self-isolate at home. Electric Puppets is working with the IWK Children’s hospital to find ways to increase access to services for Nova Scotians while at home, including medical assessments, ability to participate in research, and access to technology that can be used for education and opportunities to explore virtually. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working to specifically address vision testing and assessment for existing and new patients at the IWK throughout the province and will be working on getting equipment to them so they can continue to be assessed while at home. As the program expands to wider patient groups, Electric Puppets is exploring ways to leverage community resources, and it’s hoped that an emerging relationship with the Nova Scotia Provincial Library could lead to community support from public libraries to provide high speed internet service, manage equipment loans, and assist community members as they access services.
“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IWK Eye Clinic will be developing a remote vision assessment protocol to ensure on-going care and interaction with patients and families. We are interested to include Electric Puppets in this endeavor and modify the Evrisia project in order to achieve this goal.”
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Appili Therapeutics Inc. (TSXV: APLI) (the “Company” or “Appili”) announced the closing of its previously announced public offering (the “Public Offering”) of units (the “Units”). The Public Offering was made pursuant to an agency agreement entered into with a syndicate of agents led by Bloom Burton Securities Inc. (the “Lead Agent”) and including Mackie Research Capital Corporation, Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., Haywood Securities Inc., and Richardson GMP Limited (collectively with the Lead Agent, the “Agents”) and the Company.
Pursuant to the Public Offering, the Company issued a total of 12,937,500 Units at a price of $1.20 per Unit for aggregate gross proceeds of $15,525,000, which includes the exercise in full by the Agents of their over-allotment option to purchase 1,687,500 additional Units for additional gross proceeds of $2,025,000. Each Unit is comprised of one Class A common share of the Company (a “Common Share”) and one-half of one Common Share purchase warrant of the Company (each whole Common Share purchase warrant, a “Warrant”). Each Warrant entitles the holder thereof to acquire one Common Share (a “Warrant Share”) at an exercise price of $1.50 per Warrant Share until June 10, 2023.
“Appili has entered the global effort to solve the COVID-19 pandemic, and our team, along with our partners, including Fujifilm Toyama Chemical and Sinai Health, are working diligently to advance this randomized controlled trial as quickly and as thoroughly as possible,” said Dr. Armand Balboni, Chief Executive Officer, Appili Therapeutics. “Appili was built to solve infectious disease problems, and we believe that favipiravir will be an important part of the arsenal that ultimately addresses this coronavirus pandemic. With the continued support from the investment community, the results of this fundraise bolsters our capacity to push forward our Phase 2 program, which is designed to address a critical unmet need for the most vulnerable COVID-19 patients.”
The net proceeds of the Public Offering will be used primarily towards funding planned research and development activities for the clinical trial sponsored by the Company evaluating FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical Inc.’s (“FFTC”) drug favipiravir in long-term care facilities as a potential preventative measure against COVID-19.
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Health services are currently preoccupied with COVID-19. But if your mental health is suffering, where can you go? Joel Muise, owner of Tranquility, pivoted his online therapy platform counselling app to help support those struggling with the mental health effects of the pandemic. He kept true to his core mission and found an even larger customer base; one that needed his services during these challenging times.
“As soon as it became apparent that COVID-19 was going to turn into a global pandemic, we quickly realized that because we had a virtual mental health platform we should be part of the solution.” – Joel Muise, owner of Tranquility.
When the pandemic struck, we all had more questions than the world had answers. This gap has since increased in many ways, and with it, the amount of anxiety felt by all Canadians. Combine that with the reality that we’re largely forced to be alone, without our friends and family by our side, and you have an unmanageable amount of stress. That’s why Joel Muise, owner of Nova Scotia’s online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy service for stress and anxiety, Tranquility, decided to change his business model to help Canadians cope right now.
When social distancing protocols were announced, he knew Tranquility could help because the platform provides virtual help for mental health. Muise says, “We quickly made some changes to our platform to address what people may be going through right now (e.g., health related anxiety, social anxiety, financial distress) and then started to reach out to organizations to see how we can support our healthcare and frontline workers, free of charge.” He then marketed his new offering so people could find help during this challenging time.