AKSO Marine Biotech wins Wild Blueberry Solutions Challenge

Emergence client AKSO Marine Biotech gets $126,000 to help grow sales, pursue new export markets and develop new products.

Read full story on Halifax Today.

A Nova Scotia company that produces a health supplement enhanced by wild blueberries has won an industry innovation prize.

AKSO Marine Biotech Inc., based in Hackett’s Cove, Halifax Regional Municipality, is this year’s winner of the Wild Blueberry Solutions Challenge. The prize, announced today, June 16, includes $126,000 to help grow sales, pursue new export markets and develop new products.

“There are some fantastic products now on the market made with Nova Scotia’s wild blueberries, and the sector has enormous potential for further growth,” said Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell. “Our department supports this challenge to help innovative companies develop new products and increase their income from Nova Scotia’s wonderful wild blueberries.”

AKSO makes Nova Sea Atlantic sea cucumber capsules, a dietary supplement.

“The entire AKSO team is grateful to be selected to receive this award. Wild blueberry and Atlantic sea cucumber are among the most valuable resources in Nova Scotia. The two products work together to help boost immune function. Creating a unique product from them has been challenging but also very enlightening. The success of our Nova Sea Atlantic Sea Cucumber capsules makes us believe we will continue to create new products and continue development using both ingredients.”
– Guangling Jiao, R&D manager, AKSO Marine Biotech

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Soricimed developing innovative targeted cancer treatment

New Brunswick-based Soricimed is a clinical stage company focused on the development and commercialization of first-in-class drugs for the targeted treatment of cancer.

Currently at the clinical stage, Soricimed was established following the discovery of a unique and proprietary family of anti-cancer peptides. They are now working on translating this discovery into novel therapies to deliver powerful treatment options for those living with often devastating conditions.

Professor Jack Stewart, a Founder and CSO of Soricimed, is the discoverer of the paralytic compound in the venom of the northern short-tailed shrew and was the first to purify, characterize and synthesize the material. It was found to be a unique bifunctional peptide (later named Soricidin) with multiple applications including a targeting platform for oncology, a biopesticide, in dermatology and a potential non-opioid pain treatment depending on the segment of peptide deployed.

Currently operating out of Moncton, NB, Soricimed is developing cancer drug candidates, including a clinical stage oncology drug: SOR-C13. This targeted anti-cancer peptide has been granted orphan drug status for the treatment of pancreatic and ovarian cancers by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Soricimed 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. Emergence will be helping Soricimed explore other uses of their novel peptides, including determining potential markets and regulatory requirements.

“As an innovative and discovery-based oncology company, we are keen to continue exploring the practical and market applications of our science,” said Robert Bruce, CEO, Soricimed. “We are proud to be a member of the Emergence Incubator and look forward to benefiting from their experience and expertise as we look ahead to an expanded product platform.”

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

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Because Animals to ‘Ramp Up’ cell-cultured meat production following hefty investment

A pet food start-up is ‘ramping up’ its production of cell-cultured meat following a hefty investment round. 

Because, Animals says it is the first biotech company to grow cell-cultured meat for dogs and cats. 

It recently closed its seed-stage financing round led by Orkla – a leading food giant in Europe – and secured follow-up investment from SOSV, Draper Associates, Keen Growth Capital, and others. 

This brought the company’s total financing to a staggering $6.7 million to date. 

Read full story on Plant Based News.

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BioTechnology company specializes in vaccine development services

Pegasus BioTech Inc. is a contract research organization founded in November 2019 by three partners: Daniel Wilson, Jonathan Wilts, and Yimy Mena. The three senior Scientists have expertise in developing vaccines and biotherapeutics.

Pegasus Biotech provides high-quality pharmaceutical development services and develops accurate and reliable analytical testing methods for the human and animal health industry. They also provide technical support and regulatory advice for companies that want to scale up production of biopharmaceuticals or vaccines.

In December 2020, Pegasus was awarded a $25,000 grant through the provincial Ignition Fund. “One of the reasons why the company decided to incorporate on PEI is because of government support from Innovation PEI and the Emergence incubator program,” says Yimy Mena, CEO/Director of Process Development.

“For example, this recent grant enabled us to buy a brand-new qPCR machine for our molecular biology projects. We are grateful for that government support. It will help us expand our portfolio and deliver results faster to our clients.”

Read full story on The Employment Journey.

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Hair loss biotech company Triple Hair demonstrates potential growth

When renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Houfar Sekhavat was faced with his own hair loss, he tried several known treatments with disappointing results. He started researching solutions in an effort to find an effective option, which led him to Peter Ford, a pharmacist and owner of Ford’s Pharmacy in Moncton, New Brunswick. Using their collective expertise, this creative pair experimented with different formulations and together found a combination that worked, leading to the creation of Triple Hair.

New Brunswick-based Triple Hair is a clinical-stage Canadian biotechnology company specializing in the development of innovative treatments for alopecia. As much as 20% of people suffer from hair loss, clinically referred to as alopecia and despite the prevalence of the issue, the available solutions are limited. Triple Hair aims to change the market landscape, offering a product to patients that shows results.

After many years of research and trials, Triple Hair has succeeded in creating an effective product to stimulate hair growth, namely its TH07 prescription drug. . Triple Hair is the first company that will launch a triple combination therapy in Canada, and they are currently working through the regulatory steps to get their product to market including an FDA Phase 3 clinical trial.

Triple Hair 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.

“We are happy to join the Emergence Incubator which has proven itself with other young biotech companies like ours. We believe that Triple Hair will highly benefit from the resources the program offers,” said Jean-Philippe Gravel, President and CEO of Triple Hair. “The Emergence Incubator will help accelerate the development and commercialization of our innovative Therapy-07 prescription drug. No new and effective hair growth drugs have been developed in the last 20 years. We intend to change that and set a new standard in terms of hair growth results.”

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

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Pet Food Companies Look to the Future With Cell-Cultured Meat

Emergence client Because Animals was featured in Modern Farmer where they discuss healthy and sustainable food options for pets.

Read full story on Modern Farmer.

“Pet food follows human food,” says Shannon Falconer, CEO of Because Animals. “Many people think of their pets as family members. [More people are following] a diet that’s sustainable and mindful and want to do the same for pets.”

Along with Joshua Errett, Falconer founded Because Animals five years ago with a goal to create a healthy and sustainable option for the world’s pets. “We have very few options when it comes to feeding dogs and cats,” says Falconer. “There’s a strong misconception that pet food is made from byproducts of human food. I began to learn how untrue that really is.”

Falconer, who has a PhD in microbial chemical biology, set out to create a cell-cultured meat that could be fed to pets. The process involves taking “a small collection of cells from the [live] animal, and then never going back to the animal again,” she says.

Because Animals started by sourcing cells from mice for cat food, and rabbits for dog food, reflecting their diets in the wild. The cells are then grown in a nutrient-rich environment outside the animal. Falconer and her team feed the cells a mixture of protein, vitamins and other necessary nutrients and put them into a device called a bioreactor, which functions as a sort of womb. The cells grow, divide and eventually form into tissue, which is effectively cultured meat. It has the same nutritional value and composition as animal-based meat, but without the need to raise or slaughter animals.

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Chinova Bioworks Hits 5-Year Mark in Stride With Manufacturing Expansion for Chiber

Emergence client Chinova Bioworks has reached an important milestone for their business, marking five years since they officially launched.

Read the full story from on Chinova’s website.

It was a novel idea for a vital ingredient to preserve food products without artificial means that brought Natasha Dhayagude and David Brown together to start Chinova Bioworks five years ago with their natural fiber extract derived from the stems of white button mushrooms that they named Chiber™. Today, the company is rapidly expanding their manufacturing to increase capacity and meet demands for the proprietary, natural preservative, clean-label mushroom extract ingredient. The move to a larger and newly built 20,000-square-foot Bioscience Manufacturing Incubator space and a new 6,000-square-foot building for expanded office and research and development lab, will allow Chinova Bioworks to stay ahead of the ever-increasing demand from companies that require the highest standards when it comes to clean-label ingredients.

Dhayagude and Brown met at an entrepreneurship accelerator and incubator center in New Brunswick and found a common interest in the science of mushrooms, reducing food waste and sustainable solutions for clean-label ingredients. They launched Chinova Bioworks on April 21, 2016, with their Chiber™ product that provides a solution throughout the food supply chain. By collecting mushroom stems from farmers, which would otherwise be wasted, and upcycling them into a commercially viable product, they have been able to work with companies to provide them with a food protection solution that allows them to reduce food waste, save costs and extend the shelf life for a fresher, cleaner product.

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Island Water Technology’s Sentry closes Series A round

Full story available on Entrevestor.com.

Charlottetown-based Island Water Technologies said last week its Sentry subsidiary has closed a Series A funding round, with backing from two key ethical funds that can help it grow.

Sentry, which uses real-time bio-electrode sensors to collect and analyze waste-water data for utilities, received investment from Fort Collins, Co.-based Factor[e] Ventures and Germany’s SKion Water GmbH. Though the companies did not reveal the size of the round, a Series A round is generally thought to be something over $2 million.

Aside from the amount of money, Founder and CEO Patrick Kiely said the round is important because both these funds have the ability to help the company grow in key markets. Factor[e] has special strength in emerging markets, while SKion has a portfolio of other water technology companies around the world.

“We want to be central to the digitization and the optimization of waste-water treatment . . . and we know we have a unique tool that would allow the use of AI [artificial intelligence] and data analytics,” said Kiely in an interview. “We’re just really excited to bring on two partners that we think will help us to be recognized as the industry standard in the sector of waste-water treatment.”

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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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