FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2020
BioNova Announces Swiftsure Innovations as the Winner of the Tenth Annual BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) at BioPort 2020
Halifax, NS – November 4, 2020 – Today Swiftsure Innovations from Newfoundland was named the winner of BioNova’s tenth annual BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) business pitch competition at BioPort 2020. Swiftsure is developing a novel endotracheal tube that will revolutionize oral care for mechanically ventilated patients.
“The BioInnovation Challenge gave us the opportunity to really hone our business plan and strategy,” Deanne McCarthy (RN), CEO & Founder said, “We have benefited not only from winning, but from the program and training it provided as a whole. It was also a great chance to learn about the game changing technologies being developed right here in Atlantic Canada.”
The eight semi-finalist startups from across Atlantic Canada that participated this year raised over $1 Million dollars since the start of 2020, making this one of the most competitive years in the competitions ten year history.
The goal of the competition is to help ease the transition from research laboratory to market. Swiftsure Innovations will receive a prize package that includes $25,000 in seed funding and an advisory services package worth more than $30,000. Swiftsure Innovations was up against AffinityImmuno Inc. from Prince Edward Island, and 3D BioFibR from Nova Scotia.
“This year’s competition highlights the strong leadership and innovation coming from health and life sciences startups in the region and the need for continued support programs like the BioInnovation Challenge.” Scott Moffitt, Executive Director, BioNova
The Judging Panel:
Rhiannon Davies – Founding and Managing Partner, Sandpiper Ventures
Arif Aziz, PhD – Senior Manager, National Life Science SR&ED, MNP
Patricia Folkins – Partner, Bereskin & Parr LLP
BioNova leads the Health and Life Sciences sector in Nova Scotia and is the host of the BioPort Conference, the BioInnovation Challenge and BIC Junior. Our industry-led sector growth plan, BioFuture 2030, has made us the fastest growing sector in Atlantic Canada. We represent over 150 companies in Nova Scotia who have raised over $73 million in investment dollars since the beginning of 2020. Visit our website at www.BioNova.ca
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. For more information visit www.bioportatlantic.ca.
Shana Cristoferi, Marketing Manager, BioNova
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.
Read Orginal Article Here
Innovacorp received 60 submissions for its latest round of Sprint and, after many hours of reviewing and deliberating, selected nine companies to participate in the program. Congratulations to the start-ups chosen for Innovacorp’s 2020 Sprint fall intake.
Each company will receive $25,000 and guidance from seasoned business professionals to tackle those next technical and business milestones.
Read Orginal Here
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.”
Read Orginal Article Here
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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WeUsThem Inc. wins the second Health Challenge Pitch Event, focusing on mental health and wellness
HALIFAX, NS (October 2, 2020) – WeUsThem Inc. has been named the winner of the second Health Challenge Pitch Event, after presenting their mental health and wellness solution to a panel of judges on Friday, October 2.
WeUsThem Inc., is an internationally recognized full-service ad agency who has created imTeen, a technology that empowers youth to track and take care of their health on a daily basis. They were one of four companies who participated in the Health Challenge Pitch Event, created in partnership with Nova Scotia Health, QEII Foundation, BioNova and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The company will receive $100,000 and Nova Scotia Health will now consider their solution for scaled deployment.
Participants had 10 minutes to present their medical technologies, with five minutes allocated for judges to ask questions of the presenters.
This event was the second of five virtual pitch competitions focusing on health innovation; it 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 keep people well, and to make concise, life-saving diagnoses and treatments for patients in Atlantic Canada.
The next pitch event topic will be announced in the coming weeks, and will focus on another health priority identified by Nova Scotia Health.
Visit voltaeffect.com/health-challenge to learn more about the event and find updates on the next topic.
“These pitch events have been instrumental in highlighting some of the impressive medtech companies in Atlantic Canada that are working on solutions to enhance patient care. We look forward to continuing this partnership, and following the growth and development of WeUsThem Inc. as they collaborate with Nova Scotia Health.”
– Martha Casey, Volta CEO
“On behalf of Nova Scotia Health, we congratulate WeUsThem Inc. on their successful pitch and we look forward to working with them. We would also like to thank everyone who submitted a proposal and presented today. It is clear from today’s event that Nova Scotia has so much to offer by way of innovative medtech solutions.”
– Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President, Research, Innovation + Discovery and CNE, Nova Scotia Health
“Atlantic Canada’s Health and Life Sciences industry is comprised of hundreds of companies who are making globally disruptive health innovations and we’re thrilled to be able to showcase them through the Health Challenge. We look forward to keeping up with WeUsThem Inc.’s success and we will be here to support them as they continue their company growth.”
– Scott Moffitt, Executive Director, BioNova
“The QEII Foundation is extremely proud to be part of this initiative, addressing the conversation head-on and tackling some of the big needs in our community. Investing in innovative solutions in mental health and wellness is an investment in the health of our community.”
– Susan Mullin, President and CEO, QEII Foundation
“The quality of ideas presented this week is proof that Atlantic Canada is home to top-tier talent and innovative start-ups that want to push the envelope. Congratulations to WeUsThem Inc. on earning the opportunity to grow your business and help your fellow Nova Scotians suffering from mental health and addictions issues.”
– Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA
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 its Residency program, which has created more than 300 jobs and raised a combined total of $60-million in equity financing.
About Nova Scotia Health
Nova Scotia Health provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services to Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. We operate 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. Visit nshealth.ca for more.
BioNova leads the development of Health and Life Sciences in Nova Scotia. Our industry-led sector growth plan, BioFuture 2030, has made us the fastest growing sector in Atlantic Canada. We represent over 100 companies in Nova Scotia who have raised over $65 million in investment dollars since the beginning of 2020.
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.
For more information, contact:
Kelly Reinsborough, Director, Innovation, Nova Scotia Health
[email protected], 902-223-3539
Patti Green, Communications Coordinator, Nova Scotia Health
[email protected], 902-266-6853
Laurie Snell, Marketing Manager, Volta
l[email protected], 902-220-2544
Chris Brooks, Director, Communications and Outreach, ACOA Nova Scotia
[email protected], 902-830-3839
Shana Cristoferi, Marketing Manager, BioNova,
[email protected], 902-830-9193
Tanya MacLean, VP Communications and Marketing, QEII Foundation
[email protected], 902489-5664