ENTREVESTOR: NovaResp Targets Sleep Apnea

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A new medical startup from Dalhousie University PhD graduate Hamed Hanafi plans to use artificial intelligence to treat sleep apnea.

The condition causes patients to intermittently stop breathing in their sleep. It is usually treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or “CPAP,” machines that force air into the lungs to restart the respiratory process.

Hanafi’s company, NovaResp, is developing a combined hardware and software solution that can be attached to any CPAP machine to improve its efficacy.

“We have a proprietary add-on for these machines that would be able to predict an obstruction that’s going to happen and not let it happen,” said Hanafi in an interview.

Sleep apnea raises a person’s risk of heart attacks, strokes and other medical problems. In 2017, about 6.4 percent of Canadians had been diagnosed with it and nearly a third of the population was at risk, according to Statistics Canada.

ACOA NEWS RELEASE: Halifax start-up gives Canadians a reason to smile

IR Scientific Inc. begins pilot production of its new desensitizing product, Sensi-IP, to help strengthen teeth

July 3, 2019 – Halifax, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
From the discovery of insulin to the invention of the pacemaker, Canada has a strong record of developing health innovations that attract investment, retain talent and provide more effective treatment options that improve patient outcomes. That is why the Government of Canada invests in Canadian-based companies like IR Scientific Inc., which has engineered a new product, Sensi-IP, to help strengthen damaged teeth and provide immediate and long-term protection for the three out of four Canadians who suffer from dentinal hypersensitivity.

Unlike existing products that have limited long-term effectiveness, Sensi-IP exhibits controlled abrasion for everyday use, promotes the natural process of rebuilding tooth mineral, completely dissolves in water, and can be added to any clinical or over-the-counter toothpaste, oral rinse, mouthwash or tooth varnish. IR Scientific will undertake product development and quality assurance for the commercialization of Sensi-IP, allowing the early-stage company to attract new investors, establish its production process and hire five full-time employees.

Today, Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced the Government of Canada’s support to IR Scientific Inc. for the project.

This investment builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which supports strategic investments that build on the region’s competitive advantages, including its growing innovation ecosystem and skilled workforce.

“The health and well-being of Canadians is at the core of our society and represents a sizeable proportion of our country’s spending, which is why there has never been a better time to leverage this investment to produce greater oral health outcomes and economic prosperity for Atlantic Canada. The Government of Canada is proud to help Canadian-based innovations and companies to grow within the country as they move towards global leadership, focused on value-added products that aim to improve patient care and outcomes.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“IR Scientific’s advanced science has a wide variety of applications in oral health, from store brand toothpastes to clinical treatments, and is a game-changing solution for millions of Canadians suffering from dentinal hypersensitivity. It also has huge potential in the global marketplace. Transforming traditional oral healthcare with better solutions will give Canadians, and the world, something to smile about.”

– Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament for Halifax

“IR Scientific has been able to advance its technology quickly thanks to the support of ACOA. Creating a new oral care ingredient to change the way the world relieves sensitive teeth was given a direct boost from ACOA programming. We set up a research lab, a production facility and hired required staff in weeks versus months because of our secure funding. Global Industry contacts are impressed with what we have managed to accomplish in a relatively short period time.”

– Dr. Daniel Boyd, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder, IR Scientific Inc.

Quick Facts
 IR Scientific is receiving a $500,000 repayable contribution through ACOA’s Business Development Program (BDP).
 Dentinal hypersensitivity occurs when the tooth’s dentin tubules, connected to the nerves of the tooth, are exposed.
 Sensi-IP uses a controlled release help block those passageways, stopping pain and helping to strengthen the teeth.
 Sensi-IP also promotes remineralization by supplying calcium and other minerals to repair damaged tooth enamel.
 Canada’s universal health-care system is a source of national pride, and the Canadian health and biosciences sector is a key source of high-paying, quality jobs, employing more than 91,000 people directly and approximately 2.1 million within the broader health system.
 The health and bioscience industry has tremendous growth potential, with areas poised for highest growth including precision medicine, which is set to be an $88 billion market by 2023.

Associated Links
Innovation and Skills Plan


Chris Brooks
Director, Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)
[email protected]

Andrew Doyle President & CEO IR Scientific Inc.
902-877-8071 (cell)
adoyl[email protected]

Appili Therapeutics Signs $3M USD Grant Contract with the United States Department of Defense to Develop Antibiotics that Target Superbugs

Appili’s multi-drug resistant antibiotic program has the potential to address public health threats for both military and civilian populations worldwide.

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, July 2, 2019 – Appili Therapeutics Inc. (TSXV: APLI) (the “Company” or “Appili”), a biopharmaceutical company focused on anti-infective drug development, announced today that  the United States Department of Defense, (DOD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) has completed the contract awarding the Company a $3.0 million USD grant.

Appili will use the funds to continue advancing its ATI-1503 antibiotic program, which targets drug-resistant, Gram-negative bacteria also known as ‘superbugs.’ The ATI-1503 program has the ability to target 4 out of 6 “ESKAPE” pathogens, which are the leading cause of hospital acquired infections worldwide [i]. PRMRP grants support military health-related research that has the potential to make a strong impact on patient care.

​“Multi-drug-resistant bacteria continue to spread throughout the world, making them one of the most urgent public health threat we are facing worldwide,” said Kevin Sullivan, CEO of Appili Therapeutics. “We believe that the ATI-1503 program has the potential to address several of the most dangerous superbugs for the military and civilians alike, and we are grateful for PRMRP’s continued support of this promising novel antibiotic class.”

​According to the World Health Organization, drug-resistant bacteria, particularly the superbugs that are resistant to most or sometimes all available anti-infectives, are among the highest threats to human health worldwide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that they are responsible for more than 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. In addition to the widespread civilian vulnerabilities that they present, these superbugs pose serious challenges in both internationally deployed troops and domestic military personnel in veterans’ hospitals. The significance of these threats, and their prevalence worldwide, have made solutions to multi-drug resistant bacteria a priority research area for the Department of Defense (DOD).

​Appili’s ATI-1503 program is a new class of antibiotics based on the negamycin scaffold, which is a naturally occurring compound with intrinsic Gram-negative antibacterial activity.  The class has broad spectrum activity, which allows it to potentially address the deadliest Gram-negative bacteria, including the superbugs Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobactor baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  These are high priority pathogens for the CDC and WHO because of the lack of effective antibiotic treatment options for the most resistant strains [ii][iii].

About the PRMRP Grant

This work is supported by the DOD Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs through the PRMRP under Award No. W81XWH1910308. As previously disclosed, Appili was informed of the PRMRP grant in February 2019, but such grant remained subject to finalizing the definitive agreement.. Under the terms of PRMRP grants, the investigators conducting this research will adhere to the laws of the United States and regulations of the Department of Agriculture, as well as the CDC-NIH Guide for Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. For more information, visit http://cdmrp.army.mil.

About Appili Therapeutics

Appili Therapeutics, Inc. was founded to advance the global fight against infectious disease by matching clearly-defined patient needs with drug development programs that provide solutions to existing challenges patients, doctors, and society face in this challenging disease space. Appili has built pipeline of assets designed to address a broad range of significant unmet medical needs in the infectious disease landscape. This diverse pipeline aims to address some of the most urgent threats in global public health. Via an in-licensing program, Appili acquired the rights to ATI-1701, a vaccine for tularemia, being developed to mitigate the risks of a very serious biological weapons threat. ATI-1503 is a drug discovery program aimed at generating negamycin analogue candidates, which are a novel class of antibiotics with broad-spectrum activity against Gram-negative superbugs. ATI-1501 employs Appili’s proprietary, taste-masked, oral-suspension technology with metronidazole for the growing number of patients with difficulty swallowing. Headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with offices in Mississauga, Ontario, Appili is pursuing worldwide opportunities in collaboration with science and industry commercial partners, governments and government agencies. For more information, visit www.AppiliTherapeutics.com.

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” which reflect the current expectations of the Company’s management future growth, results of operations, performance and business prospects and opportunities. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the Company’s proposed development plans with respect to ATI-1503 and the proposed use of proceeds from the PRMRP grant. Wherever possible, words such as “may “, “would “, “could “, “should”, “will,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “potential for” and similar expressions have been used to identify these forward-looking statements. These statements reflect management’s current beliefs with respect to future events and are based on information currently available to management. Forward-looking statements involve significant risks, uncertainties and assumptions including with respect to the ability of the Company to adequately fund and implement its development plans and business strategy. Many factors could cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including, without limitation, those listed in the final prospectus of the Company dated June 12, 2019 and the other filings made by the Company with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities (which may be viewed at www.sedar.com). Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results, performance or achievements may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this news release. These factors should be considered carefully, and prospective investors should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. Although the forward-looking statements contained in the press release are based upon what management currently believes to be reasonable assumptions, the Company cannot assure prospective investors that actual results, performance or achievements will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to revise forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange, nor its regulation services provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the exchange), accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.


Media Relations Contacts:
Andrea Cohen, Sam Brown Inc.
T: 917-209-7163
E: [email protected]

Investor Relations Contact:
Kimberly Stephens, CFO
Appili Therapeutics
E: [email protected]

ENTREVESTOR: Sona CEO on Why He Chose Halifax

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by Darren Rowles, CEO of Sona Nanotech |

Among the many positive headlines, facts and figures about Halifax contained in the latest edition of the Halifax Index is a particular statistic that caught my attention.

New research by the Halifax Partnership has revealed that the majority of funds raised by startup companies in Halifax over the last five years went to health care and life sciences companies – some US$64 million (C$84.4 million) in fact.

The report said: “Health care and life sciences companies have shown the strongest growth over the last five years in both value and number of funding rounds.”

While it’s not surprising that health care and life science startups are enjoying such success, being by their very nature forward-looking companies at the forefront of innovation, the significant amount of investment in this one sector is particularly noteworthy.

To put the figure into perspective, it’s US$11 million more than the amount invested in the second placed sector – energy, cleantech and natural resources – and four times more than the amount invested business and finance startups.

The company I run, Sona Nanotech Inc., is one of the life sciences startups to have benefitted from substantial investment during this period thanks to a private placement last year that raised C$2 million.

And, as a business that relocated to Halifax specifically to take advantage of all the Nova Scotian capital has to offer, we are uniquely placed to add some context to the findings.

Halifax is the hub of Nova Scotia’s booming life sciences sector, and for any life sciences startup it is the place to be, containing all the necessary infrastructure, support and academic links that a growing young business requires.

Read our Coverage of the Halifax Index

When it comes to support, BioNova, the life sciences body for Nova Scotia, is second to none.

BioNova aims to advance life sciences in the province and accelerate the commercialization success of its businesses and organizations by building relationships and by creating networking and educational opportunities.

Additionally, it offers programs that allow life sciences SMEs to apply for project funding or work with collaborators. As a member Sona Nanotech has made vital connections in the sector both inside and outside the province.

Then there’s Innovacorp, Nova Scotia’s early stage venture capital organization, which is based in Halifax and includes life sciences among its target industries.

Innovacorp offers entrepreneurs access to world-class incubation facilities, expert advice and other support to help accelerate their companies.

When Sona was on the hunt for a new home in Halifax, Innovacorp had everything we were looking for, which is why we set up our laboratory facilities at the Technology Innovation Centre in Dartmouth (recently renamed The Bays at Innovacorp). We now have an excellent base from which to grow our business.

Halifax is also served by three academic centres of excellence for health care and life sciences; Dalhousie University, one of Canada’s leading research universities and one of the world’s best when it comes to scientific research, St Mary’s University, with its national leading program in chemistry, and the QEII Health Sciences Centre, the largest teaching hospital and adult academic health sciences centre in Atlantic Canada.

As well as the professional connections Sona is building with these institutions, the company has personal links with two of them. One of Sona’s founders, Dr. Gerard Marangoni, is a Dalhousie alumni, having completed his PhD there in 1992, and our business development manager, Anindita Gupta, completed her master’s degree in technology entrepreneurship and innovation at St Mary’s.

So, when all these factors are taken into account it should come as no surprise that life sciences startups in Halifax have been so successful in gaining investment in recent years. Sona Nanotech is proud to call Halifax our home, and to be part of the city and wider region’s thriving life sciences startup community.

Sona’s pioneering work was recently recognized by the Startup Canada Awards when we won the Innovation Award for the Atlantic Canada region – the only Nova Scotian business to win at the awards. With the ongoing backing of the city’s fantastic support network, we look forward to continuing to grow and innovate with the sector and to put Halifax on the map as the leading life sciences hub of Atlantic Canada.

Darren Rowles is CEO and president of Sona Nanotech Inc.

ENTREVESTOR: Atlantic Canadian startups eyeing the stock market like never before

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The stock market is looming larger in the Atlantic Canadian startup community than it ever has before, as several leading companies are choosing public markets as the best option to secure long-term financing.

Just in the past week, Metamaterial Technologies Inc. of Dartmouth announced that it will seek a listing on the Canadian Stock Exchange, with a goal of raising more than $10 million. And shares of Halifax-based drug discovery company Appili Therapeutics began trading on the TSX Venture exchange.

In fact, stock markets have been a fruitful source of funding for the region’s high-growth innovation companies for the past 18 months, and the moves by MTI, Appili and others will only add fuel to a growing trend.

Atlantic Canadian companies raised more than $24 million by selling shares and derivatives on the stock markets in calendar 2018. That’s almost as much as the $29.4 million raised from angel investors, which invested at record levels in Atlantic Canada last year.

There are not a lot of transactions by the publicly listed companies, but the recent ones have been noteworthy: Last August, Halifax-based Sona Nanotech listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, choosing the alternative exchange rather than the TSX Venture exchange. The company raised $2 million during the listing. Kraken Robotics of St. John’s closed a $2.3 million sale of shares and warrants to its customer Ocean Infinity in June last year. The company then raised further capital in December when it sold $6 million worth of shares. In February 2018, Halifax-based IMV announced that it had closed a bought deal to raise $14.4 million. In March 2019, IMV closed another share sale, which raised an additional $26.7 million.

And other companies like BlueDrop Performance Learning of St. John’s and Exeblock, a Halifax blockchain companies, are also listed.

The driving force behind this interest in public listings is the longevity and strength of the current bull market. Eleven years have past since the financial crisis and the stock market seems like a dependable and profitable place to raise capital. Of course, a market crash and/or recession would likely put the brakes on further companies move toward the public markets.

In recent years, Canadian tech shares have performed well and investors are looking for small tech companies the way they used to look for penny stocks in the mining and oil and gas sectors. And IMV, after years of a languishing share price, has finally been resurrected and is leading the way for other Atlantic Canadian stocks to test the markets.

For Appili Therapeutics, which has 30.3 million shares outstanding and a market capitalization as of the close Monday of $24.2 million, the public listing is a crucial step in its mission to find cures for antibiotic-resistant diseases.

“According to both the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there remains an increasing need for innovations to combat the mounting threats of infectious diseases,” said CEO Kevin Sullivan in a statement. ”Our public listing marks an important inflection point in our ability to deepen our reach into this market and demonstrate that it is possible to invest in a compelling and attractive social mission and business opportunity in parallel.”

ENTREVESTOR: ACOA Lends $925K to Beyond Food

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The federal government has lent Dartmouth-based Beyond Food Inc. $925,000 to develop a manufacturing plant and market its nutritional supplement made out of grocery store produce nearing its sell-by date.

The two-year-old company’s mission is to reduce food wastage, which now amounts to $49.5 billion a year in Canada alone, by finding supermarket produce that is about to be tossed out and using it to make a food supplement. It sells nutrition products under the brand TDF Sports, and the supplements are available nationwide.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency issued a statement Tuesday saying Beyond Food is establishing a new manufacturing facility in Dartmouth to scale up its plant-based nutritional supplement production capacity. This will allow the company to rent its Nutrient Upcycle pods, which are repurposed shipping containers fitted with clean processing technology, to local grocers.

The pods will enable grocers to dehydrate and transform thousands of dollars worth of late-stage fruits and vegetables into nutrient-dense powders. The powders will then be used as ingredients in value-added supplements manufactured and packaged at Beyond Food’s new facility in Dartmouth.