Emergence featured in “LifeSigns: Life Sciences Legal Trends in Canada”

“Structured around providing value-adding services to high-potential startup and scale-up ventures, wherever they are located in Canada, and providing a ‘soft landing’ for international bioscience ventures seeking to start-up or establish themselves in, or expand into, Canada, Emergence boasts a portfolio of clients that stretches from Vancouver, British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland – and around the world,” says Emergence director, Martin Yuill, writing in the 2018-2019 Edition of LifeSigns: Life Sciences Legal Trends in Canada.

You can read the full article here!

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-11-50-52-amLifeSigns is published annually by law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG).

The release of this year’s report was timed to coincide with the opening of the 2018 BIO International Convention on June 04 in Boston.

“This is the 5th Annual edition of LifeSigns – Canada’s leading report on life sciences legal trends in Canada,” says Kira Pejemsky, BLG’s Director, Business Development Practice Group.


Emergence Director, Martin Yuill

This year’s report covers notable trends including information on the cannabis sector as well as updates in the areas of intellectual property, regulatory affairs, privacy and cybersecurity, corporate commercial and capital markets.

BLG is Canada’s largest independent law firm and their Life Sciences group is actively engaged in all facets of the commercialization of life science technologies in Canada.

In “Commercializing Next Generation Innovation”, Yuill says that “the impact of the Emergence virtual incubator model has been striking.”

Over the last year, several PEI companies have experienced unprecedented exits, acquisitions and investment. “Not insignificantly, all have been clients of the Emergence incubator program, having taken advantage of the program’s core service pillars,” Yuill points out.

corplogoMany have attracted investment from large global corporations. One direct outcome: Croda’s recent acquisition of Nautilus Biosciences has resulted in the creation of a Croda “Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology” on the campus of the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.

Reflecting on the growth of the bioscience sector in Prince Edward Island, Yuill argues that this is the result of the success of an industry-led Cluster model, coordinated by the industry-led PEI BioAlliance.

Collaboration between all stakeholders plays a central role in how PEI integrates concurrent research and innovation processes with a public-private-people partnership designed to help innovative startups commercialize potentially transformative technologies through a highly connected and integrated business ecosystem.

“Taking advantage of key local strengths, the growth in the PEI Bioscience Cluster is the story of helping entrepreneurs and innovators start and grow their ventures,” Yuill writes.

Today, the PEI Bioscience Cluster is comprised of 54 companies, eight research institutions, and several federal and provincial government partners.

The Cluster currently employs 1,600 highly skilled individuals. Private sector revenues exceed $240 million/annum, and annual R&D expenditures are more than $70 million.

The focus of the companies that make up the PEI Bioscience Cluster is largely centered around the research, development and commercialization of natural product chemistry and bioactive-based products for human, animal and fish health and nutrition.

Revenue sources include cosmetic ingredients, natural health products, feed additives, vaccines, diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals.

“Many of the companies that make up the PEI Cluster are early-stage pre-commercial ventures,” Yuill says. “This is something that we are proud of.”

“Already accounting for 45% of all new job creation across our sector, these ventures are being nurtured in a supportive startup culture which provides them with access to best-in-class mentorship, regulatory expertise, bio entrepreneurship education, skilled human resources through HR support services, shared infrastructure and supportive public policy.”

These companies are pioneering cutting edge innovations across the biotechnology spectrum, including “green” bio, “red” bio, and “blue” bio.

“These are the startups that are defining a future based on the interplay between software, hardware, materials, biologic systems, the cloud, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and data,” writes Yuill.

You can read the full article here!

Posted in Clients, Conferences, News, Partner, Services

Emergence clients celebrate a record year of exits, acquisitions and investments

Clients of Emergence – Canada’s national bioscience business incubator – have celebrated a year of unprecedented exits, acquisitions and investments.

In the period April 2017 to April 2018, four clients of our incubator attracted significant investment. Another three clients publicly announced the completion of raises; while the balance of companies that make up the Emergence client portfolio reported attracting an additional $26 million private sector follow-on funding over the last year.

animal-ethicsIn April 2017 Emergence client, Animal Ethics (Pty) Ltd., closed an $18.2 million investment from UK-listed Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC in exchange for a 33% stake and a global license to sell the company’s lead product, Tri-Solfen, internationally.

Tri-Solfen was developed by Animal Ethics for the treatment of lambs after mulesing: the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the buttocks of a sheep to prevent “flystrike” (myiasis).  The product contains two topical local anaesthetic agents (Lignocaine and Bupivicaine) to numb wounds; a vasoconstrictor (Adrenalin) to minimize bleeding; and an antispetic agent (Cetramide) to prevent infection of wounds. In December 2016, Tri-Solfen was approved to be used on calves, and, according to Animal Ethics, it is now used on 8 million farm animals a year. It is expected that the product will also be extended for use on piglets.


In January 2018 Emergence client, Nautilus Biosciences Canada Inc., a marine biotechnology company, was acquired by Croda International Plc, a listed UK company that creates, makes and sells specialty chemicals.

Nautilus, a University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) spin-off enterprise, was founded in 2007 by Professor Russell Kerr to focus on using marine microbial biodiversity to discover novel actives and materials. Cord is using their acquisition of Nautilus to launch a new “Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology” in Charlottetown.

CIG-logo-227X160Also in January 2018, Emergence client Canada’s Island Garden, a licensed medical marijuana producer, was acquired by North Carolina-based tobacco leaf merchant, Alliance One International Inc., which purchased a majority stake in the company. Alliance One is a global contractor, processor and supplier of tobacco.

The acquisition forms part of Alliance One’s efforts to branch out into higher-margin, fast-growing agricultural products such as cannabis. As a result of the investment by Alliance One, Canada’s Island Garden is undergoing rapid expansion.

Phase 1 of the expansion, which includes a 166,000-square-foot greenhouse and 54,000-square-foot warehouse, represents an additional $35 million investment. The warehouse is being constructed to also accommodate Phase 2 of the expansion, which will add an additional 90,000 square feet of greenhouse space. Phase 1 will increase the facility’s annual production capacity from 1,200 kilograms to 18,000 kilograms. After the Phase 2 expansion, Canada’s Island Garden will have a total annual production capacity in excess of 35,000 kilograms. Staff numbers are expected to grow from 20 today to between 150 and 200.

job_postings723And then in March 2018, Emergence client Dosecann Inc. entered into an agreement to be acquired by Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. of Vancouver for $38 million.

Dosecann is a late-stage “Licensed Dealer” applicant. Dosecann is developing a suite of cannabis-based health and wellness products for the current medical and future adult use cannabis market. The company is currently completing the buildout of a 42,000ft² GMP pharmaceutical level production facility in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and has hired twelve new staff.

Over and above these four clients, three other Emergence clients publicly announced their raises, including:

In addition, the balance of the Emergence portfolio reported attracting an additional $26 million of private sector follow-on funding over the last year.

Emergence is a virtual incubator that supports the formation and growth of innovative bioscience and food sector startups, scale-ups and growth ventures. The program helps clients become investor-ready and assists their commercialization.

Emergence director, Martin Yuill, says, “The investment that these incubator clients has attracted will not only fuel their future growth, but is a testament to the quality of the mentorship, business guidance, professional advice, and domain expertise they have received through our incubator program at all stages of their life cycles.”


Emergence director, Martin Yuill

Emergence clients enjoy access to a wide range of business, technical, scientific, regulatory and commercialization support services customized to meet their individual needs.

This includes one-on-one and team-based mentorship; co-funded third-party consulting services; market research and intelligence; legal, IP, insurance, tax and financial expertise from a network of professional service provider partners; and support accessing international business and scientific networks as well as public- and private-sector funding and investment.

As a virtual incubator Emergence serves high-potential companies wherever they are located in Canada. The program currently boasts clients from “Vancouver to St. John’s”. The majority of Emergence clients, however, are currently located in Atlantic Canada.

The incubator also provides a ‘soft landing’ for international bioscience ventures seeking to start-up or establish themselves in, or expand into, Canada.

Emergence receives funding through the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP). CAIP supports activities designed to expand the overall service offerings to early-stage firms and entrepreneurs, and promote a “higher output of SMEs that are investment-ready and able to develop into sustainable, high-growth businesses”.

“The significant follow-on funding and investment that our portfolio companies are attracting is evidence of the impact that Emergence is having in building a strong national Canadian bioscience startup ecosystem,” Yuill concludes.







Posted in Clients, News, Partner, Services

New Brunswick’s East Valley Ventures adds Emergence client, Stepscan, to its investment portfolio

Entrevestor reports that “Prince Edward Island biometrics company” and Emergence client,  Stepscan, has been successful raising investment from Saint John, New Brunswick-based angel investor group, East Valley Ventures.

Stepscan technologies logo[1]Stepscan, Entrevestor says, “has been quietly raising a round of funding with the end goal of $300,000.” You can read the full article here!

Stepscan makes pressure-sensitive floor tiles that help analyse people’s gait to identify walking disabilities or balance issues.

Plantar Pressure Image

Stepscan® software can generate detailed Gait, Pressure and Balance Reports.

“We sell a medical product,” CEO Crystal Trevors said in an interview. “It’s FDA-, Health Canada-approved and offers a turn-key gait analysis system.”

So far, the company has raised $150,000 through private investors.

Trevors says the funding will cover growth capital for the remainder of 2018. The company last raised capital in 2014 in a $2 million funding round led by the Regis Duffy Bioscience Fund. 

“We have some big projects we’re expecting to close in the next six to eight months,” said Trevors. “It’ll be for working capital, supporting new distributors, training, development, marketing.”

Stepscan recently hired two new people, bringing their team to eight. With a solid clientele in the medical space, Trevors said the company is approaching new markets for new market applications.

“Where we’re going now is into new verticals mainly as a training system,” said Trevors who wants to take Stepscan’s technology to the military and professional sports worlds.

You can read the full Entrevestor article here!

Posted in Clients, News

Emergence client Chinova Bioworks “fights food invaders, naturally”

In a recent “impact story”, MITACS writes of Emergence client, Fredericton, New Brunswick-based Chinova Bioworks, “a New Brunswick biotech start-up is working to keep your food fresh using a revolutionary compound made from an ingredient you might find in your fridge.”

chinova_logo_1-2-7-printChinova, Mitacs says, “is developing a preservative that capitalizes on the antimicrobial properties of a compound found in mushrooms. The compound, chitosan, is a natural, vegan preservative that consumers and companies can both feel good about.” You can check out the full story here!

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that designs and delivers research and training programs in Canada.


Natasha Dhayagude, CEO at Chinova Bioworks

Consumers and companies alike are looking for safe and natural ways to keep their products fresher for longer,” says Natasha Dhayagude, CEO of Chinova Bioworks. “But labels full of unpronounceable, artificial ingredients can turn consumers off. It was important to me to create an alternative to the chemical preservatives normally found in food and beverage products.”

While conceptualizing the product, Natasha was searching for someone to take it to the next level – and she knew that Mitacs was available to help fledgling companies like hers.

Dr. tanzina Huq

Dr. Tanzina Huq, Chinova’s Chief Technology Officer

She found her champion in Tanzina Huq, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Brunswick with a background in food safety and experience with chitosan. Chinova and Tanzina partnered with the University of New Brunswick through a Mitacs internship.

“The research in this project is very different from the other techniques I’ve used in the past,” says Tanzina. “Learning about the business side of commercializing a food product has been an eye-opening experience.”

Tanzina is developing a highly customizable product, giving Chinova Bioworks a competitive advantage that will help them to expand beyond food into other markets such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Chinova hopes to have their chitosan product on the market by the end of 2018, having already received inquiries from beverage companies in Japan and the U.S.


The team

Tanzina Huq, supervised by Dr. Yonghao Ni, Department of Chemical Engineering at University of New Brunswick, with Chinova Bioworks

The challenge

Food spoilage costs $30 million to the Canadian economy every year

The solution

Develop a preservative using extracted chitosan, a plant-based compound that can fight the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold

The outcome

A “clean label” customizable preservative, derived from mushrooms

What’s next

Commercialize the preservative, expand its application into the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries

Posted in Clients, News

Emergence client, Chinova Bioworks, is hiring…

Emergence client Chinova Bioworks is hiring…

chinova_logo_1-2-7-printChinova is actively seeking applications from qualified candidates for a Senior Process Control Engineer.

Click here for full details!

This newly-created position reports to the Chief Operating Officer. Chinova Bioworks offers competitive salaries and benefits. This position can be performed either at the corporate headquarters in Fredericton, or in Charlottetown, PEI. The position entails occasional travel around Atlantic Canada and to the United States.

Chinova Bioworks is an innovative food technology company that specializes in natural mushroom derived chitosan. Chinova makes new functional ingredients for the food and beverage industry that helps their clients meet major consumer trends for clean label and healthy preservation.

See also: Two Emergence clients selected for Fierce Founders Bootcamp and Emergence client, Chinova Bioworks, adds to their team.


Posted in Clients, News

Nominations now open for Private Business Growth Award: Emergence Partner, Grant Thornton, sponsors

Emergence financial Partner, Grant Thornton, together with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is inviting private businesses to step into the spotlight with the 2018 Private Business Growth Award.

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-1-21-28-pmNow in its sixth year, this prestigious award is open to private businesses registered and operating in Canada for three full years as of Dec. 31, 2017, and with annual revenues of at least $5 million.

It’s easy to apply, or to nominate a business in your community – and it could pay off in a big way tomorrow.

The Private Business Growth Award is a platform for recognition, exposure and networking that can help take Canadian private businesses to the next level.

What does it take to get to the Top 10?

A jury of eight dynamic Canadian business leaders look for success stories that go beyond the basics of good business management. They’re inspired by strategic, sustainable growth in one or more of the following areas:

If you’ve developed new products, processes or services that led to significant economic benefits, you’re an innovator. Tell us how you applied new thinking to an old problem, and how this fueled your growth story.
Market development
Market development
Chances are you identified a new market opportunity as part of your growth strategy. Tell us how you attracted new customers and/or launched new product or business lines within Canada or internationally.
People & culture
People and culture
Recognizing that a positive workplace culture is key to success, tell us how you invest in training and development to help your employees perform at their best, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Strategic leadership
Strategic leadership
This is your chance to highlight the strengths and capabilities of your leadership team, and any innovations related to strategic planning, succession planning, stakeholder relations and organizational structure. We would also like to hear about your company’s impact on the community through charitable or industry initiatives.
Financial measures
Improvements in financial measures
Revenue and profitability is a quantifiable indicator of success and this information must be included as part of your submission. Data tables can be appended.


The deadline to apply is July 12, 2018.

The Top 10 Finalists will be announced in early October. The awards ceremony takes place at a gala event in Toronto on November 28th, 2018.

To find out more, visit the FAQ page or contact us.


Posted in Clients, News, Partner, Services

Emergence client, Halifax’s Sona Nanotech, receives $500,000 from ACOA

Emergence client, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Sona Nanotechis to receive $500,000 in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to help it commercialize its products and services.

Sona_Logo_Light_BGThe repayable investment was announced by Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth – Cole Harbour, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA.

The contribution is being made through ACOA’s Business Development Program, which supports small and medium-sized companies’ innovations to improve competitiveness in export markets.

The assistance will allow Sona Nanotech to introduce novel nanorod products and customization services into the diagnostic and life sciences markets.


Darren Rowles, President and CEO

Darren Rowles, Sona’s CEO, told us: “We are incredibly grateful to ACOA for this very generous funding package, which will help us commercialize our products and services as we strive to grow a strong, sustainable business in the competitive life sciences market.”

“Sona may have global ambitions but it will always be Canadian at heart, and we are proud to be part of the thriving Nova Scotia business community. ACOA’s support is vital in helping to build a strong, innovative and productive economy in Atlantic Canada, and I would urge other businesses to get in touch to see what they can offer.”

The announcement comes at an exciting time for Sona, just weeks after shareholders of Stockport Explorationvoted to merge with the company, paving the way for listing on the Canadian stock exchange.

Check out the full story here: https://www.canada.ca/en/atlantic-canada-opportunities/news/2018/05/sona-nanotech-limited-delivering-innovative-treatment-tools-to-global-markets.html


Posted in Clients, News