Natural Products Canada launches Proof of Concept Program

Emergence Partner Natural Products Canada’s new Proof of Concept Program (POC Program) addresses a consistent gap within the Canadian natural product ecosystem; funding to validate commercial applications of natural products or technologies.

“Our network has been telling us that proof of concept testing is a real challenge,” says Shelley King, CEO of Natural Products Canada. “They need to validate their products, but it’s difficult to find the funds from either government programs or private capital.”

“The program targets projects that go beyond basic research or early product development,” says King. “We’re looking at things like preliminary animal, field, demonstration or human trials that verify the commercial potential of the technology.”

The POC Program offers up to half of the project costs to a maximum of $100,000. For companies, the funds are repayable based on gross revenues generated by the resulting product or technology. For research institutions, funds are conditionally repayable based on licensing agreements.

“Repayability lets us support the developers through these commercialization hurdles so they can achieve success in the marketplace,” says King. “And when they can pay us back, we will recycle it into the next opportunity so there’s a sustained pot of money for current and future opportunities.”

King thinks the POC Program will be a game-changer for Canadian companies with promising products or technologies.

“Large corporations and investors always emphasize the need for some type of validation that the product does what it’s intended to do. It’s often their first question,” says King. “We think the POC Program is going to make it easier for more Canadian companies to rise to the top of those innovation and investment searches.”

Applications for the POC Program are accepted on an ongoing basis and can be completed online.

The Proof of Concept Program is one of three new Commercialization Programs offered by Natural Products Canada to members of Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster. For more information about the Commercialization Programs, contact Kim Johnstone, Programs Director. For more information about the Cluster, contact Sue Coueslan, VP Communications and Stakeholder Relations.

Posted in News, Programs

Natural Products Canada launches new Executive Talent Program

Emergence Partner Natural Products Canada recently launched a new Executive Talent program to help high potential Canadian SMEs get their innovative natural products to market. An interview is featured on NPC’s site where they spoke to NPC’s new Program Director, Kim Johnstone, about the program, and how companies can get involved. The interview follows:

New NPC – Program Director, Kim Johnstone

Give us the general description of the new Executive Talent program.

It’s pretty simple; we’ll make a repayable contribution of up to $50,000 to help high potential companies add experienced professionals to their team so they can fill a gap in skillset or experience.

The program was created based on talking to hundreds of companies and gathering input from those in the ecosystem who work with innovative companies. Many times the leadership teams can see the targets they have to achieve but don’t have the experience or background to make it happen. That can hand-cuff their ability to hit key milestones for growth or attract strategic partners and investors.

Can you give an example of the type of hire this program is targeting?

We’re looking to support strategic leadership roles; people who can develop and execute on key initiatives like marketing, regulatory, financing or operations. Many other programs support junior level hires, and that is really important. But this program is specific to building solid leadership teams that can set the direction for success, and share the wisdom, experience, culture and networks that a company needs to reach its potential.

You mentioned high potential companies- what does that mean?

For NPC, a high potential company is one with a novel natural product, technology, service and/or market innovation, in a well-defined market, with potential to generate at least $10 to $15M in revenues per year. They don’t need to be reaching that yet, but the market has to exist, and the company has to be able to execute on the plan to reach these revenue targets in a reasonable period of time for their sector.

How does NPC define a natural product?

We look for innovative products, technologies or services that involve naturally-derived solutions. They can be applied to a broad range of sectors; including nutrition and natural health products; functional food and feed additives; bioproducts including biochemicals and bioplastics; water treatment and waste streams; agri-tech and value-added agriculture; biotech and clean tech.

If you look at our investment portfolio, you can see lots of great examples of the variety and range that we’re talking about.

There’s so many things that innovative companies need on their commercialization journey – how can they decide which role to fill?

Most entrepreneurs have a good sense of the key skills and experience they are lacking. And if they don’t, they are probably learning that pretty quickly! The NPC team—especially the Regional Directors and David Gauthier, the VP Investment—spend a lot of time working with promising companies. They have a pretty good way of helping entrepreneurs pinpoint their key challenge and how to tackle it. That’s really the whole reason this program was introduced. The team has seen firsthand that many entrepreneurial teams are missing key experience that can really help a company take off once it’s filled.

If the role is to help fill a gap, is it a full-time, permanent position or a short-term contract?

It’s meant to augment the management team in a meaningful way, not just as a consultant or mentor, but as a real team member that helps the company to grow. So the program supports 50% of the salary for part-time or full-time employment up to 12 months to a maximum of $50,000. That gives both parties time to get to know each other and actually get something done. In our experience, most of the challenges preventing companies from achieving their goals take months or even a year or two to really address.

The Executive may stay on after the initial key milestone is achieved but it’s certainly not mandatory. If they leave, we’d want to see that knowledge transfer has occurred so that the team is left in a strong position.

When a company has established the role they need to fill, how do they proceed?

There is a pretty simple application form to complete. We basically want to know what the company’s potential is, where they are in the commercialization and growth process, the challenge they are trying to overcome by adding the Executive position, and if possible, who they have in mind to fill it. Once we have that, we’ll set up a call with the entrepreneur to review their situation and, if necessary, get a better sense of what they’re looking for in the Executive.

Will you help in finding the Executive?

Yes, if that’s needed. We’re obviously not in the headhunting business but we do have a broad network of corporate executives so we will help where we can.

Let’s talk money. You said it’s repayable? So it’s really more like a loan?

Technically yes. The program covers half (50%) of the Executive’s salary, up to an amount of $50,000, which is repayable without interest for the first 18 months after the program period ends, and then at 5% interest after that. The intent of the program is to help the company ultimately increase revenues, which means they should be able to repay the contribution fairly quickly.

Does the Executive need to be in Canada?

Not necessarily, we want the company to find the best person for the job that can really help the company achieve the key growth milestones.

Kim Johnstone is NPC’s Program Director and is responsible for the overall development and implementation of the Commercialization Programs. If you have questions about the Executive Talent program, please review the application form and contact Kim directly.

Posted in News, Programs

MicroSintesis Announces $16.4M Investment to Fund International Expansion and Material R&D Pipeline

Emergence client MicroSintesis, a life science company focused on developing proprietary microbiome therapies, announced at VetHealth Global 2019 the closure of a $16.4 million minority investment from Toronto-based  Northern Private Capital (NPC), an investment vehicle of CFFI Ventures, a company controlled by John Risley. The funding will be used to scale-up production of the company’s products and build out the company’s research capabilities and platform to deliver a new generation of microbiome products dedicated to improving livestock, companion animal, and human health.

Working in one of the newest areas of research, metabolites being produced by probiotics, MicroSintesis has identified a unique set of signal molecules that are part of the microbiome’s own communication system and responsible for regulating its bacteria population. Using patented formulations of these molecules, the company has been able to shift bacterial populations in the gut from unhealthy to healthy to deliver a new generation of health products for the future.

The Company’s research has been substantiated through 11 published papers, three clinical studies and more than 100 case studies. Over the past few years, it has built an impressive patent portfolio and a suite of proprietary assays for assessing its molecules’ impact. To date, it has a library of over 50 probiotic production strains and has developed a proprietary process optimized for this next generation of postbiotic and probiotic products.

“We are delighted to be partnering with NPC and John,” says Hannah McIver, CEO of MicroSintesis. “With the cost of fighting antibiotic resistance now reaching into the billions, we rapidly need a proven solution directed at preserving antibiotics for the future. By partnering with NPC and a successful entrepreneur like John, we now have the funding and the support to grow our company into a global business. Our current technology is just the beginning of what we believe will be a new era of microbiome products and one where MicroSintesis wants to be a leader.”

In 2018, MicroSintesis launched commercial products for both the companion animal and livestock markets in Canada.  The company’s Ygia brand for cats and dogs is carried in a growing number of veterinary clinics across Canada and its Nuvio brand for pigs and chickens is sold in six provinces across the country. To date, Microsintesis’ products have been used in over 2 million animals.

“We are very excited to partner with Hannah and her team as they deliver products that reduce the use of antibiotics and become leaders in the production of postbiotics for animal and human health,” says Andrew Lapham, CEO of NPC. “This is a very large, global market, and we believe MicroSintesis has a technology platform capable of delivering multiple products in the coming years to capitalize on this significant and sizeable opportunity first in the area of animal health and soon to follow in human health.”

About MicroSintesis – MicroSintesis is a new life sciences company, and one of the only dedicated postbiotic company focused on researching and understanding the microbiome communication system. The company has harnessed metabolites produced by probiotics to stand at the forefront of new bio-technologies that fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, reduce antibiotic use and support the health, wellness and welfare of animals and humans. To learn more visit

About Northern Private Capital – Based in Toronto, Northern Private Capital focuses on full and partial control equity investments in North America and the United Kingdom. NPC invests in growth companies with great management and proven, proprietary technology across a range of industries. NPC is currently investing out of Northern Private Capital Fund I Limited Partnership and is an investment vehicle of CFFI Ventures, a company controlled by John Risley.

For further information: Ellyn Winters, Ignition Communications (PR for MicroSintesis), 519-574-2196,

Posted in Clients

Deadline for BioNova’s BioInnovation Challenge – Aug. 9th

BioNova’s BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) gives early-stage Health and Life Sciences companies from Atlantic Canada a chance to compete for $25,000 in seed funding and a $30,000 advisory services package to develop their business idea during BioPort 2019 on November 5 & 6 at Pier 21.

Why apply?
In addition to the grand prize and business development training, BIC puts finalists in front of investors, the media and influential people in the industry. The BIC semi-finalists also get pitch training from expert pitch training coach Linda Plano. You can learn more about Linda here.


BioNova will be accepting applications until Friday, August 9th, 2019.

Event Date: November 5th and 6th, 2019
Event Location: Pier 21

Anyone interested in participating in BIC can learn more about eligibility and the evaluation criteria by viewing the BioInnovation Challenge Application.

About BioInnovation Challenge
Since it’s inception in 2011 BIC has provided more than $300,000 in grand prize package value to accelerate start-ups, along with providing over 50 companies the opportunity to participate in the program, each receiving significant training to be positioned for business growth.

Posted in Events, News

Bactana seeking a Senior Microbiology Director

Bactana is a socially impactful company formed as a spin-off from Cornell University and currently part of the PEI Emergence Bioscience program. Bactana has patented the use of a select group of anaerobic bacteria strains that have demonstrated multiple health benefits for companion animals, livestock, and potentially humans. Their lead technology manipulates the microbial ecology of animals to enhance the interaction of an animal’s microbiome with its immune system & metabolism. Bactana is seeking an experienced Senior Microbiology Director with an entrepreneurial spirit to join their research team to support the discovery process and help scale the fermentation and production process as they prepare for product launch. This position will be based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Link to job posting here.

Posted in Careers, Clients

Advanced Extraction Systems Nears Completion on a State of the Art Innovation Center

Emergence Client Advanced Extraction Systems will soon have a new manufacturing, R&D and testing facility.

David Campbell, Co-Founder and COO of AESI states, “In order to meet increasing production demand, we are pleased to announce that our new state of the art production facility will be completed in the coming months.  The new manufacturing, R&D, and testing facility will allow for increased vertical integration ensuring the highest level of quality that’s expected from an industry leader.” AESI has seen great success in the global hemp and cannabis industries. “This expansion will take us to the next level as we continue to separate ourselves from the competition. The response has been immense on our newest system in the AESI lineup, the 4 x 1000L, and our new production facility will carry us through the next phase of expansion” states David Campbell. Mr. Campbell continues, “AESI continues to be a trailblazer in the industry with projected growth that has attracted international investors expecting to capitalize on the future success of the company”.

Recently AESI made headlines after releasing production capacities for their newest system, the Largest CO2 Supercritical Fluid Extraction System for the Global Hemp & Cannabis Industries. “It’s an exciting time in this emerging industry and our new state of the art facility is just the next step to ensure we maintain our position as an industry leader”.

Advanced Extraction Systems Inc. designs, engineers and fabricates supercritical fluid CO2extraction systems with a specific focus in the medical/recreational marijuana and hemp industries. AESI has assembled a skilled management team and a world-class scientific advisory group with over 75 years of experience in supercritical fluid design and processes.  AESI offers the cleanest, most advanced CO2 extraction processes that are leading edge due to the companies ongoing internal focus on research and development.  AESI CO2 extraction systems are unique in design, efficiency, and ease of operation. Specifically, AESI systems can be differentiated from the competition in 6 key technical areas; better pump reliability, superior flow rates, superior fractionation, more phase management control, cGMP recipe development, and scalability for future growth.

SOURCE Advanced Extraction Systems

Posted in Clients

Torigen CEO wins 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Emergence client Torigen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a startup in companion animal immuno-oncology, announces its founder and chief executive officer, Ashley Kalinauskas, has been honored as the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year in the Scalable Venture category (under $1 million in sales) by the CT Entrepreneur Awards. Kalinauskas was recognized for her entrepreneurial achievements in 2018 with the company’s first product, an autologous prescription product for dogs and cats that uses the animal’s own tumor cells to create a personalized immunotherapy.

In 2018, Torigen hit several major milestones, including completion of its Series A with a $2.3 million equity raise, and treated nearly 250 companion animals diagnosed with cancer last year. Torigen also was named the 2018 Top Animal Health Innovation at the Kansas City Animal Health Investment Forum and a Million Dollar Women Company. Torigen was nominated for the CT Entrepreneur Awards by the UCONN Technology Incubation Program (TIP), recognized as having high potential for organizational growth.

“I’m extremely proud and humbled to be a part of a remarkable team at Torigen,” said Kalinauskas. “To be considered among this distinguished group of entrepreneurs and companies is a testament to the passion we each feel in our pursuit of life-changing solutions for pets with cancer. Thank you to UCONN TIP and the CT Entrepreneur Event Organizers Consortium for making this award possible.”

The annual CT Entrepreneur Awards identify, recognize and celebrate Connecticut’s leading entrepreneurs, ventures and ecosystem elements that support them. Nominations for the 2019 CT Entrepreneur Awards began in December 2018, and finalists were selected for a 30-day community-voting period from February to March 2019. The winners were announced April 18, 2019.

Cancer is the number-one cause of death in dogs over the age of two, and one in four dogs will be impacted by cancer in their lifetimes. Torigen is offering exciting potential for pets with cancer through its Autologous Prescription Product, which works by stimulating an immune response that targets and destroys the cancer cells specific to the patient.

Experimental autologous cancer vaccines created by Torigen Pharmaceuticals Inc. are regulated by the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics. For use under supervision/prescription of a licensed veterinarian. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

For more information, email, visit or call 860-519-9956.

About Torigen Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Torigen Pharmaceuticals Inc. is focused on delivering affordable companion animal immuno-oncology products. Its initial patented product line utilizes a portion of the pet-patient’s tumor to create a personalized cancer vaccine. With over 10 years of supporting pre-clinical publications, the Torigen team is focused on developing innovative veterinary cancer biologics that allow for the body to recognize foreign tumor–associated antigens and facilitate the reversal of immune senescence. For more information, please visit

(Source: FARMINGTON, Conn., May 7, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb)

Note: Ashley Kalinauskas, Torigen Pharmaceuticals CEO, will present at VetHealth Global 2019, June 24-26th in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Posted in Clients

What Emergence Clients are Hiring?

Here is a summary of the Emergence clients advertising job opportunities this week:

Posted in Careers

Chinova Bioworks will participate in Sephora’s Accelerator in May

Chinova Bioworks was selected to join 2019 Sephora Accelerate which builds a community of innovative female founders in beauty. Sephora’s site offers some background on the program:

Even in the beauty industry, where most customers are women, female founders are still underrepresented. We saw a unique opportunity to draw from our history of working with beauty entrepreneurs to build a supportive community for women who are in the early stages of developing their businesses. Accelerate is a key initiative of a larger program called Sephora Stands, which aims to use Sephora’s strengths for even greater good in our communities. We hope to build an ecosystem of support for more than 50 women-led beauty businesses by 2020.

Founders will participate in a week-long Bootcamp in San Francisco, May 5-11, and have a follow-up opportunity to pitch to Sephora’s Merchandising and Innovation teams on Demo Day this Fall.

Chinova Bioworks has developed a natural preservative, Chiber Mushroom Extract, to extend shelf life in foods, beverages, cosmetics and personal care items.

Posted in Clients

Because Animals sees opportunities for Lab Grown Meat

New Emergence client, Because Animals, started by two Torontonians, is a company making human grade sustainable, animal-free pet food. Shannon Falconer has a PhD in microbial chemical biology and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Joshua has worked as a journalist, banker and cat rescuer. He graduated with an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Because Animals already has a couple of superfood supplements for both dogs and cats, and now they are developing lab-grown meat for pet food. They recently announced a prototype cat treat. They are one of the companies that sees opportunities.  Read more here.

Posted in Clients