Leading Health and Life Sciences in Nova Scotia

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.”

Sona Nanotech Inc. Announces Collaboration with Anteo Technologies

Read original release here

Innovative companies combine technologies to speed up lateral flow assay development time

Halifax, Nova Scotia–(Newsfile Corp. – January 16, 2019) – Sona Nanotech Inc. (CSE: SONA) today announced a collaboration with Australia-based nanotech company Anteo Technologies Pty Ltd to speed up the development of lateral flow immunoassays. Under the terms of the agreement Sona will supply its unique, proprietary gold nanorod technology to Anteo, which will combine it with its own proprietary AnteoBind ™ technology and various biomarkers including, but not limited to, cardic (cTnI), sepsis (CRP) markers and HCG, the well-known fertility marker used in pregnancy tests. Anteo will supply Sona with these solutions for assessment in a lateral flow assay format as well as conducting its own in-house assessment. Because lateral flow assays are relatively cheap and easy to produce, more than 2 billion are manufactured every year, including more than 400 million each for malaria and HIV tests (1). The lateral flow market was worth an estimated US$6 billion (C$7.9 bn) in 2018 (2). Sona Nanotech CEO Darren Rowles said: “The project aims to co-develop sets of reagents that can benefit all lateral flow assay developers worldwide, by providing them with products that can reduce a key production process timeframe, while increasing performance of tests and the benefits of multiplexing. By integrating Sona’s gold nanorod technology with Anteo’s surface chemistry technology we have the potential to create innovative new products for the market. We are excited to be working with Anteo and look forward to a productive collaboration.” Anteo Technologies Pty Ltd is a fully-owned subsidiary of Anteo Diagnostics Ltd, an ASX listed company (ASX:ADO). The company, which has its head office in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, develops and commercialises products in the life sciences research, in-vitro diagnostics, energy and medical devices markets. Charlie Huang, Anteo’s head of research and development, said: “We have been impressed by Sona’s unique gold nanorods and their impact in the lateral flow market. We believe that our combined technologies have great potential. We are excited about the new opportunities this could bring for both companies.” (1) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324096920_Improving_Lateral_Flow_Assay_Performance_Using_Computational_Modeling (2) https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-lateral-flow-assay-market-is-projected-to-reach-usd-8-7-billion-by-2023-from-usd-6-0-billion-in-2018-growing-at-a-cagr-of-7-7-from-2018-to-2023–300754197.html About Sona Nanotech Inc. Sona Nanotech Inc. is a nanotechnology life sciences firm that has developed two proprietary methods for the manufacture of rod-shaped gold nanoparticles. The principal business carried out and intended to be continued by Sona is the development and application of its proprietary technology for use in multiplex diagnostic testing platforms that will improve performance over existing tests in the market. Sona’s gold nanorod particles are CTAB (cetyltrimethylammonium) free, eliminating the toxicity risks associated with the use of other gold nanorod technologies in medical applications. It is expected that Sona’s gold nanotechnologies may be adapted for use in applications, as a safe and effective delivery system for multiple medical treatments, pending the approval of various regulatory boards including Health Canada and the FDA. Sona is a publicly listed company on the Canadian Securities Exchange existing under the laws of Nova Scotia, with its operations in Nova Scotia. About Anteo Group – Anteo Diagnostics Limited (ADO: ASX) & Subsidiaries (Anteo Technologies Pty Ltd is a fully-owned subsidiary of Anteo Diagnostics Ltd.) Anteo Group is a surface chemistry company with Intellectual Property (“IP”) in its core technology product groups: AnteoCoat™, AnteoBind™ and AnteoRelease™. The Company’s purpose is to create shareholder value by identifying and solving important global industry problems and providing unique value-add solutions for its customers. Anteo’s customers operate in the Life Sciences, Diagnostics, Energy and Medical Devices markets. For more information, please visit www.anteotech.com For More Information For more information about Sona, please contact: Darren Rowles President and Chief Executive Officer Telephone: (902) 442-7192 Email: Darren Rowles [email protected] FORWARD LOOKING INFORMATION This press release contains forward-looking statements and information that are based on the beliefs of management and reflect the Company’s current expectations. When used in this press release, the words “estimate”, “project”, “belief”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “expect”, “plan”, “predict”, “may” or “should” and the negative of these words or such variations thereon or comparable terminology are intended to identify forward-looking statements and information. The forward-looking statements and information in this press release includes information relating to the Amalgamation (including the structure of the Amalgamation), the Amalgamation (including shareholder approval, shareholder support, and other terms), the Private Placement (including its completion and the use of proceeds from the Private Placement), the directors and management of the resulting issuer upon completion of the Amalgamation, and the implementation of Sona’s business plan. Such statements and information reflect the current view of the Company with respect to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in those forward-looking statements and information. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or other future events, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the following risks: risks associated with the completion of the Amalgamation and matters relating thereto; and risks associated with the marketing and sale of securities, the need for additional financing, reliance on key personnel, the potential for conflicts of interest among certain officers or directors, and the volatility of the Company’s common share price and volume. Forward-looking statements are made based on management’s beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those indicated or implied by forward-looking statements and information. Such factors include, among others, risks related to Sona’s proposed business, such as failure of the business strategy and government regulation; risks related to Sona’s operations, such as additional financing requirements and access to capital, reliance on key and qualified personnel, insurance, competition, intellectual property and reliable supply chains; risks related to Sona and its business generally, such as infringement of intellectual property rights and conflicts of interest. The Company cautions that the foregoing list of material factors is not exhaustive. When relying on the Company’s forward-looking statements and information to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. The Company has assumed a certain progression, which may not be realized. It has also assumed that the material factors referred to in the previous paragraph will not cause such forward-looking statements and information to differ materially from actual results or events. However, the list of these factors is not exhaustive and is subject to change and there can be no assurance that such assumptions will reflect the actual outcome of such items or factors. While the Company may elect to, it does not undertake to update this information at any particular time. THE FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS PRESS RELEASE REPRESENTS THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE COMPANY AS OF THE DATE OF THIS PRESS RELEASE AND, ACCORDINGLY, IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AFTER SUCH DATE. READERS SHOULD NOT PLACE UNDUE IMPORTANCE ON FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION AND SHOULD NOT RELY UPON THIS INFORMATION AS OF ANY OTHER DATE. WHILE THE COMPANY MAY ELECT TO, IT DOES NOT UNDERTAKE TO UPDATE THIS INFORMATION AT ANY PARTICULAR TIME EXCEPT AS REQUIRED IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES]]>

Collaboration with Major European Lateral Flow Test Developer and Sona Nanotech Inc.

Read the original press release here Halifax, Nova Scotia–(Newsfile Corp. – December 4, 2018) – Sona Nanotech Inc. (CSE: SONA) has signed a collaboration agreement with one of Europe’s largest lateral flow test developers, who will integrate Sona’s nanorod technology into their market-established lateral flow assays. Operon SA, based in Zaragoza, Spain, produces a range of rapid diagnostic test and molecular diagnostic products, which it exports to more than 50 countries. Operon and Sona have agreed to work together to improve the performance of Operon’s currently in-market lateral flow tests to help further establish their market share in the infectious disease arena. If the feasibility study is successful, further development will take place with the expectation to launch products into the market in the first half of 2020. Sona CEO Darren Rowles said: “Sona Nanotech is growing its presence in the lateral flow market, and this agreement with one of the largest and most respected developers in Europe demonstrates the scale of our ambition. We are confident that Sona’s unique gold nanorods will improve the performance of Operon’s tests while remaining cost-competitive, allowing expansion of their market share in this multi-billion-dollar market segment*. I am confident this collaboration is just the start of a long and productive relationship between our companies.” Tomas Toribio, MD of Operon, said: “Operon is always looking for new innovations that will improve the performance of our diagnostic tests and provide a more cost-effective offer for our customers. Sona’s gold nanorods are a unique and impressive technology and we look forward to working together to maximise their potential in our lateral flow assays.” About Sona Nanotech Inc. Sona Nanotech Inc. is a nanotechnology life sciences firm that has developed two proprietary methods for the manufacture of rod-shaped gold nanoparticles. The principal business carried out and intended to be continued by Sona is the development and application of its proprietary technology for use in multiplex diagnostic testing platforms that will improve performance over existing tests in the market. Sona’s gold nanorod particles are CTAB (cetyltrimethylammonium) free, eliminating the toxicity risks associated with the use of other gold nanorod technologies in medical applications. It is expected that Sona’s gold nanotechnologies may be adapted for use in applications, as a safe and effective delivery system for multiple medical treatments, pending the approval of various regulatory boards including Health Canada and the FDA. Sona is a publicly listed company on the Canadian Securities Exchange existing under the laws of Nova Scotia, with its operations in Nova Scotia. About Operon Operon has been developing, manufacturing and selling lateral flow tests to the global market for more than 26 years. Its main product lines are:

  • Raw Materials: monoclonal antibodies and recombinant antigens.
  • Immunocromatography: rapid lateral flow tests.
  • Molecular Diagnostic tests: Opegen and OligoGen.
  • Customized services: contract manufacturing of lateral flow tests and raw materials.
For More Information For more information about Sona, please contact: Darren Rowles President and Chief Executive Officer Telephone: (902) 442-7192 Email: Darren Rowles [email protected]]]>

Business Growth Spurs Expansion to Larger Lab Facilities in Halifax for Sona Nanotech Inc.

About Sona Nanotech Inc. Sona Nanotech Inc. is a nanotechnology life sciences firm that has developed two proprietary methods for the manufacture of rod-shaped gold nanoparticles. The principal business carried out and intended to be continued by Sona is the development and application of its proprietary technology for use in multiplex diagnostic testing platforms that will improve performance over existing tests in the market. Sona’s gold nanorod particles are CTAB (cetyltrimethylammonium) free, eliminating the toxicity risks associated with the use of other gold nanorod technologies in medical applications. It is expected that Sona’s gold nanotechnologies may be adapted for use in applications, as a safe and effective delivery system for multiple medical treatments, pending the approval of various regulatory boards including Health Canada and the FDA. Sona is a publicly listed company on the Canadian Securities Exchange existing under the laws of Nova Scotia, with its operations in Nova Scotia. About Innovacorp Innovacorp is Nova Scotia’s early stage venture capital organization. It works to find, fund and foster innovative Nova Scotia start-ups that strive to change the world. Target industries include information technology, life sciences, clean technology and ocean technology. In addition to risk capital, Innovacorp gives entrepreneurs access to world-class incubation facilities, expert advice and other support to help accelerate their companies. For More Information For more information about Sona, please contact: Darren Rowles President and Chief Executive Officer Telephone: (902) 442-7192 Email: Darren Rowles [email protected]]]>

Distribution and Development Agreement Signed Between Sona Nanotech Inc and Expedeon

Read the original article here Halifax, Nova Scotia, October 11th, 2018 – Sona Nanotech Inc. (CSE: SONA) today announced the signing of an agreement with global biotech company Expedeon Ltd. (ETR: EXN) for the supply of Sona’s unique gold nanorods for integration into Expedeon’s product range. Expedeon is a global provider of innovative technologies and services for the life sciences and diagnostics industries.  Following evaluation of the quality and sensitivity of Sona’s gold nanorods, Expedeon decided to include their Gemini and Omni products within their complete range of gold nanoparticles and conjugation technologies. Under the terms of the agreement, signed Oct 3rd, 2018, Expedeon has exclusive rights to promote and market the nanorods to life science researchers and diagnostic companies around the world via its extensive distribution network and strong direct sales channels. The company will invest in R&D to incorporate Sona’s technology into its comprehensive product range coupled with its own proprietary technologies.  Both companies are exploring how they can develop the partnership even further to increase the offerings to their customers. Sona Nanotech CEO Darren Rowles said: “Expedeon has a built a reputation as a world-leading business in the life sciences and diagnostics industries and is considered the go-to company for innovative reagents. We are delighted to have signed this agreement with Expedeon, which will open access to new markets, new technologies and new lateral flow test developers for Sona to collaborate with and develop next-generation lateral flow assays. To have our products integrated into the Expedeon product line is a huge milestone for Sona as we continue to work towards our goal of becoming a global life sciences brand.” Expedeon CEO Heikki Lanckriet said: “We are excited to be incorporating Sona’s technologies into our range of gold nanoparticle technologies. We were really impressed by the quality and sensitivity of their gold nanorods. We believe many of our customers are going to be interested in this innovative technology and the multiplex capabilities, and we are eager to be expanding our offering to new markets.” About Sona Nanotech Inc. Sona Nanotech Inc. is a nanotechnology life sciences firm that has developed two proprietary methods for the manufacture of rod-shaped gold nanoparticles. The principal business carried out and intended to be continued by Sona is the research and development of its proprietary technology for use in multiplex diagnostic testing platforms that will improve performance over existing tests in the market. Sona’s gold nanorod particles are CTAB (cetyltrimethylammonium) free, eliminating the toxicity risks associated with the use of other gold nanorod technologies in medical applications. It is expected that Sona’s gold nanotechnologies may be adapted for use in applications, as a safe and effective delivery system for multiple medical treatments, pending the approval of various regulatory boards including Health Canada and the FDA. Sona is a publicly listed company on the Canadian Securities Exchange existing under the laws of Nova Scotia, with its operations in Nova Scotia. About Expedeon Expedeon is an enabler of exciting advances in medical science and patient care. The Company’s core technologies, innovative products and services are used in research laboratories around the world, enabling scientists to push the boundaries of research and product development, and play an integral part in new diagnostic tools being brought to market. With applications spanning the entire workflows in genomics, proteomics and immunology, Expedeon’s technologies both accelerate and simplify research and make new and cost-effective processes available to biopharmaceutical and diagnostic organisations alike, thereby underpinning its customers’ development and commercialisation objectives. Expedeon’s products are sold through a direct sales force and several distribution partners in Europe, the USA and Asia. Expedeon AG has offices in Germany, Australia Spain, UK, USA and Singapore. The Company is listed on the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Ticker: EXN; ISIN: DE000A1RFM03) Revenues have grown from €1.8m in 2016 to expected revenues of €13-14m in 2018. For More Information For more information about Sona, please contact: Darren Rowles President and Chief Executive Officer Telephone: (902) 442-7192 Email: Darren Rowles [email protected] Neither Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION This press release contains forward-looking statements and information that are based on the beliefs of management and reflect the Company’s current expectations. When used in this press release, the words “estimate”, “project”, “belief”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “expect”, “plan”, “predict”, “may” or “should” and the negative of these words or such variations thereon or comparable terminology are intended to identify forward-looking statements and information. The forward-looking statements and information in this press release includes information relating to the Amalgamation (including the structure of the Amalgamation), the Amalgamation (including shareholder approval, shareholder support, and other terms), the Private Placement (including its completion and the use of proceeds from the Private Placement), the directors and management of the resulting issuer upon completion of the Amalgamation, and the implementation of Sona’s business plan. Such statements and information reflect the current view of the Company with respect to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in those forward-looking statements and information. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or other future events, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the following risks: risks associated with the completion of the Amalgamation and matters relating thereto; and risks associated with the marketing and sale of securities, the need for additional financing, reliance on key personnel, the potential for conflicts of interest among certain officers or directors, and the volatility of the Company’s common share price and volume. Forward-looking statements are made based on management’s beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those indicated or implied by forward-looking statements and information. Such factors include, among others, risks related to Sona’s proposed business, such as failure of the business strategy and government regulation; risks related to Sona’s operations, such as additional financing requirements and access to capital, reliance on key and qualified personnel, insurance, competition, intellectual property and reliable supply chains; risks related to Sona and its business generally, such as infringement of intellectual property rights and conflicts of interest. The Company cautions that the foregoing list of material factors is not exhaustive. When relying on the Company’s forward-looking statements and information to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. The Company has assumed a certain progression, which may not be realized. It has also assumed that the material factors referred to in the previous paragraph will not cause such forward-looking statements and information to differ materially from actual results or events. However, the list of these factors is not exhaustive and is subject to change and there can be no assurance that such assumptions will reflect the actual outcome of such items or factors. While the Company may elect to, it does not undertake to update this information at any particular time. THE FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS PRESS RELEASE REPRESENTS THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE COMPANY AS OF THE DATE OF THIS PRESS RELEASE AND, ACCORDINGLY, IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AFTER SUCH DATE. READERS SHOULD NOT PLACE UNDUE IMPORTANCE ON FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION AND SHOULD NOT RELY UPON THIS INFORMATION AS OF ANY OTHER DATE. WHILE THE COMPANY MAY ELECT TO, IT DOES NOT UNDERTAKE TO UPDATE THIS INFORMATION AT ANY PARTICULAR TIME EXCEPT AS REQUIRED IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS]]>