Emergence Office Hours with McInnes Cooper on April 8

Emergence is pleased to present Office Hours, a monthly opportunity for Emergence clients to connect with experts and ask questions pertaining to your company and its objectives.

This month’s session is with Gary Scales from McInnes Cooper. He will cover a variety of business law issues ranging from preparing your company to be investor-ready, the components of shareholder agreements, immigration, and more.

Emergence clients are encouraged to book a half-hour time slot on Thursday, April 8, from 1 – 3:30 p.m. AST and come prepared with questions to discuss.

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Picomole develops first-of-its-kind screening tool for lung cancer detection

Full story available on Huddle Today.

Moncton-based Picomole and Emergence client has developed a first-of-its-kind screening tool that makes lung cancer detection as simple as breathing into a tube.

“The fundamental part of our objective is to develop a screening tool for cancer and other diseases and just have, at the patients end of it, a simple breath test,” said Picomole CEO Stephen Graham, in an interview with Huddle.

“Then, when we talk about 10 years from now, you’d be able to go into a pharmacy or your doctor’s office or healthcare clinic and give a breath sample and you’d be able to get screened for a number of different diseases with one breath test. That’s our big goal.”

Picomole’s new technology has three components. First is the breath sampler, which is the part the patient sees. It’s about the size of a microwave and collects the breath samples in slim, stainless steel canisters.

The second component is a spectrometer that processes and measures the amount of light absorbed by organic compounds found in the breath samples. This provides unique digital breath fingerprints and hundreds of biomarkers are provided for each sample collected.

The third component is the machine learning software that analyzes the digital output from the spectrometer to identify the presence of disease. Under the supervision of University of New Brunswick professor Erik Scheme at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and with funding from MitacsMSc student Robyn Larracy has been working with the company to identify patterns in the breath data that correspond to diseases and then training computer algorithms to recognize them. Graham says Larracy’s involvement in the project has been crucial.

“We were able to get funding through Mitacs to bring Robyn in. You read everywhere that AI and machine learning is exploding in every different corner of industry,” he said. “These machine learning people, they don’t grow on trees. They’re very specialized and are in high demand. So our association with UNB has been great.”

So far, the technology has proven to identify lung cancer patterns with an 85 percent accuracy rate. Looking ahead, Picomole plans to expand its breath-based screening tool so it can detect other diseases, including breast cancer and Covid-19.

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Swiftsure Innovation’s novel solution aims to provide improved care for ventilator patients

CEO and Founder of Swiftsure Innovation Deanne McCarthy has experienced first-hand the amount of care required for mechanically ventilated patients. For her company, Newfoundland-based Swiftsure Innovation, above all, their mission is to support patients by developing products that will help prevent hospital-acquired infections.

To do this, Swiftsure created a novel device that aims to revolutionize oral care for ventilated patients. Their new solution focuses on improving patient outcomes, protecting frontline workers and benefiting hospitals.

Swiftsure is the latest company to join Emergence, Atlantic Canada’s bioscience business incubator dedicated to assisting start-ups and growth-stage companies in efficiently bringing their products and services to market.

“With the assistance of Emergence, we are doing market research to establish current perceptions of oral care to receive direct input from end users about our device. Establishing feedback from ICU physicians, Registered Nurses, and Respiratory Therapists is an essential part of driving a design that will best serve patients and improve patient outcomes,” said Deanne McCarthy, CEO and Founder, Swiftsure Innovation. “Being supported by Emergence has helped Swiftsure progress in a very meaningful way. It is great to have such awesome support here in Atlantic Canada!”

The challenge with ventilators

While mechanical ventilation provides life-saving treatment for critically ill patients, the problem is that the endotracheal tube that connects the ventilator to the patient’s lungs provides a direct route for germs to enter the lungs. This can result in ventilator-acquired pneumonia, the most fatal and costly of hospital-acquired infections. The problem associated with ventilators has also intensified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Swiftsure is developing a device that will facilitate the moisturization and cleansing of the mouth and nose of patients on ventilators by flushing them with fluid. Their product will also improve the seal for further germ prevention. They are currently in the design development phase, working with partners at the National Research Council and Dalhousie University. In 2020, they were the winner of the 10th annual BioInnovation Challenge pitch competition at BioPort 2020.

As a client of Emergence, Swiftsure will have access to business incubation services including mentorship and advisory services, team mentorship program as well as access to networks and resources.  

For more information on Emergence, visit emergencebioincubator.com

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SomaDetect Unveils $6M Raise

Published by Entrevestor.com

Agtech company and Emeregence client SomaDetect has closed a $6 million venture capital round led by Ag Tech Canada, and intends to use the funds to accelerate adoption of its sensor technology that monitors the health of dairy herds.

As well as the Tillsonburg, Ont.- based private equity fund Ag Tech Canada, the funders participating in the round are Merck Animal Health Ventures, Builders VC and Wilbur Ellis’ Cavallo Ventures.

SomaDetect said it will use the new capital to accelerate the roll out of its sensor-based technology that assesses cows’ milk quality, reproductive status and health.

“It’s a huge milestone for our business and it’s wonderful to see investors and this group come together,” said SomaDetect Co-Founder and CEO Bethany Deshpande in an interview.

Read full article on Entrevestor.com.

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SomaDetect highlighted as a startup shaking up animal health industry

Emergence client SomaDetect was recently highlighted in Feed Navigator as one of 15 startups shaking up animal health, nutrition and precision farming.

SomaDetect provides farmers with the information they need to make the best possible milk. The company’s core technology is an in-line sensor capable of monitoring critical indicators of reproductive status, health and milk components from individual cows. SomaDetect bridges the information gap by providing data from every cow at every milking.

Read full story on The Feed Navigator.

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PhotoDynamic receives 200K in funding from ACOA

Emergence client PhotoDynamic is receiving $200,000 to develop a commercialization plan and apply for regulatory approval for its orthodontic oral hygiene product. The company plans to enter the professional orthodontic market this fall. Its product, called PD Foam and PD Tray, removes plaque using a process that combines light and an extract from a plant that grows wild in Nova Scotia.

“PhotoDynamic has had an exciting year,” said CEO Martin Greenwood. “We’ve completed the commercialization of our oral hygiene technology, and under the leadership of our new VP of Marketing, Jason Tutty, we’re ready to test-launch with orthodontists in Canada and the United States.”

Read full story on Entrevestor.com.

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Avivagen set to unveil immune-boosting supplements for humans

More than a decade after developing a natural health compound that boosts the immune systems of livestock, life sciences company and Emergence client Avivagen is hoping a new version of the product aimed at humans will help it finally achieve its long-anticipated market breakthrough.

Read full story from the Ottawa Business Journal.

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Finding a solution that fits

Takaya Technology’s PPE innovation supports fight against COVID-19

It started with an idea, a purpose, and a cause.

At the onset of the global pandemic, there was an immediate need for additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to support in the fight against COVID-19. Health care workers required not only a large supply of PPE, but one that would meet regulatory requirements and help keep frontline workers safe.

Noticing challenges with the available equipment, the Takaya team set out to innovate and create a more effective solution. Using their solid mix of expertise alongside their wide professional network, Nova Scotia-based Takaya Technology Inc. was formed.  

The challenge with wearing masks

To protect themselves from job-related exposure risks, healthcare workers wear N95 masks which filter at least 95% of airborne particles. That said, in order to maintain this level of effectiveness, the N95 masks must fit the user’s face properly, creating an effective seal, to eliminate particles bypassing the filter material.

The problem observed by Takaya, was that some traditional N95 respirators were ill-fitting, and the ones that did fit properly caused significant discomfort and facial bruising. Seeing this, Takaya created an innovative mask design to serve the medical community, and ultimately the general public.

Their solution focuses on creating a better fitting respirator, that requires less force than traditional models. Their product also creates added comfort and increased breathability, providing a fit that isn’t compromised by the daily demands of clinical life, or even something as simple as speaking or smiling.

“Simple acts of humanity, like smiling or expressions of comfort, that often provide much needed warmth and support to vulnerable patients, can compromise the seal of traditional respirators. In a more drastic measure, we are learning that in some cases surgeons are instructed not to move their heads for the duration of their surgeries, to ensure their mask stays in place,” said Andrew MacKean, CEO, Takaya Technology. “We aim to remove unnecessary worry that these basic actions could be a threat to the care provider’s personal safety, so that focus can return to the priority of patient care.” 

Takaya has filed a patent on its design and the team is focused on continuing to execute its commercialization strategy to bring the product to market.

“We had this idea that we knew would help people and address a critical challenge in this pandemic and in healthcare overall, but the key was knowing what to focus on and how to execute successfully,” said Erin MacKean, Chief Operating Officer, Takaya Technology. “Part of what has helped propel us forward so quickly is our ability to bring together the right people and access the appropriate financial, regulatory and commercialization expertise.”

That expertise is also available in-house at Takaya.

Chief Operating Officer Erin MacKean has a decade of experience commercializing medical devices, and a background in life sciences operations, marketing and product management. On the other hand, her brother, CEO Andrew MacKean is an entrepreneur with experience in finance, management consulting, operations, and product commercialization in regulated industries. Additionally, their sister Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan Ripley, is an Acute Medicine Hospitalist and part of a group of attending physicians caring for COVID-19 patients, along with many other key contributors on the team who have helped drive the company forward.

“The medical device industry can be difficult to navigate as it is heavily regulated,” said Andrew. “At Takaya, we know that if you take the time to understand the best path, and assemble the right team, you can be successful.”

Takaya is the latest company to join Emergence, an Atlantic bioscience business incubator dedicated to assisting start-ups and growth-stage bioscience companies in efficiently bringing their products and services to market.

“We are very grateful to be working with the Emergence team as we move forward with Takaya’s plans for commercialization,” said Erin. “The team has been very responsive and supportive, and we look forward to working together to bring our product to market and make it available to serve medical communities around the world.”

For more information on Emergence, visit emergencebioincubator.com

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Because Animals: Pets may soon be fed laboratory-grown meat

Emergence client Because Animals was recently featured in the Economist discussing their ongoing efforts to create a more sustainable way to feed our pets through laboratory-grow meat. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Pet owners, at least in the West, are more likely than other people to be vegetarians or vegans. That puts many of them in a quandary when it comes to feeding fully paid-up carnivores such as cats and dogs. But technology may soon resolve this dilemma. The idea of growing meat for human consumption from scratch, in the form of cell cultures, is now becoming popular. Some see in this approach a way to produce guilt-free pet food, too. Among these visionaries are Shannon Falconer and Joshua Errett, the founders of Because Animals, a firm based in Philadelphia. They have taken the idea to what might be seen as its logical conclusion, for the starting point for their cultured cat food is that favourite feline prey, a mouse.

Read full story on The Economist.

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Emergence Office Hours: Finance and Budgeting with Grant Thornton

Emergence is pleased to present Office Hours, a monthly opportunity for Emergence clients to connect with experts and ask questions pertaining to your company and its objectives.

This month’s topic is Finance and Budgeting with Trevor Kennedy of Grant Thornton who will cover a variety of topics ranging from foreign tax and the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program, to company structuring and budgeting during a crisis.

Emergence clients are encouraged to book a half hour time slot on Thursday, February 4, from 1 – 3:30 p.m. AST and come prepared with questions to discuss.

Sign up for Office Hours.

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