A Halifax company is testing a new chemical compound that acts like a magnet to break down the defences of antibiotic-resistant superbugs by depriving them of the one thing they all need — iron.
Chelation Partners Inc. has been working for years on an iron-binding polymer it calls Dibi, and with the help of researchers at Dalhousie and Cape Breton universities, the compound is now in clinical trials using dogs with ear infections, said Bill Cheliak, one of the company’s founders.
Increasing numbers of antibiotic-resistant microbes are threatening human and animal health, and research into new drugs that treat infections is expensive and time consuming, he said.
“In the times before antibiotics, people played their chances and hoped their immune system was able to overcome (infection),” Cheliak said. “If it didn’t, they died.
“We’ve invested 75 years and countless hundreds of billions of dollars to develop antibiotics, and we have this big portfolio and we just can’t walk away from it. That’s just not a reasonable or rational thing to consider or contemplate, so how do you make it better?
“Because iron is needed regardless of what kind of pathogen you are — we call it an Achilles heel — so it’s common to all the different pathogens.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a bacteria or a fungus; it doesn’t discriminate. All those guys need the iron and the only place they get it is from you, and if we’re successful in restricting it then we make these antibiotics work much better.”
Adding value to existing drugs provides a quicker and less expensive regulatory route to marketing pharmaceuticals, said Cheliak, and it results in a widely available medicine at a lower cost to consumers compared to brand-new drugs.
The company’s compound has been shown to bind with iron and weaken bacteria, suggesting it could be added to antibiotics to boost their effectiveness in the fight against infection, said Matthias Bierenstiel, an associate professor of inorganic chemistry at Cape Breton University.
“It’s amazing, the results there,” he said.
The polymer is a relatively large molecule that attracts and holds onto iron, Bierenstiel said. For comparison purposes, an Aspirin molecule might have a weight of 200 to 300 atomic units. Dibi weighs about 10,000 atomic units.
“Because it’s a large polymer and the iron is kind of hidden inside, we believe that it’s invisible to the bacteria because of the nature of this big, bulky polymer protecting it,” he said.
Without iron, infectious pathogens simply can’t grow or reproduce.
“This is a very simplified hypothesis, but it’s basically the basis of this,” said Bierenstiel.
The work at CBU has provided hands-on experience for undergraduate and honours students in Bierenstiel’s laboratory, helping develop manufacturing methods and studying how the polymer works at the molecular level.
“We developed the chemical pathway, so basically the recipe, in order to get there,” he said.
Now, Bierenstiel and his students are working on methods that would allow the manufacturing to scale up from lab conditions to a commercial environment.
Meanwhile, one of his postdoctoral students presented some research findings from the project at a national chemistry conference in Toronto earlier this summer, and another is scheduled to present at the American Society for Microbiology conference on antimicrobial resistance drugs in Boston next month.
And it has spurred a related project on microbial biofilms at the Verschuren Centre, CBU’s research institute.
Researchers in Dalhousie University’s faculty of medicine have also been involved with Chelation Partners and CBU, testing how the polymer works at the microbiological level in blood.
If animal tests are successful, human trials could be underway by the end of next year, Cheliak said.
“We’re thinking that we’ll be into human trials in 18 months,” he said. “That requires a couple of things to come together.
“There’s a full range of safety studies that the regulatory agencies will institute. The manufacturing part has to be made to certain standards that are applicable to the regulatory agencies. All that takes time.”
Semi-Finalists Chosen for BioInnovation Challenge
Halifax, NS – August 28, 2017 The semi-finalists have been chosen for the 2017 edition of The BioInnovation Challenge (BIC).
Scott Moffitt, Managing Director of BioNova, the host of BIC, announced today that the semi-finalists who will take part in the program have been selected. The semi-finalists will receive professional pitch training between now and the semi-final run off, which will be held in Halifax on October 17.
The program is part of a regional collaboration between BioNova, BioNB and PEI BioAlliance, its sister organizations in NB and PEI. The program allows up and coming life sciences companies to compete in the challenge and kick start their success.
“We’re very excited about this year’s BioInnovation Challenge,” said Moffitt. “We have a number of brand new semi-finalists which shows that, year over year, this region is producing great life science ideas and great innovators.”
Moffitt also notes that, “we are continuing to see exciting, new innovations as the BioInnovation Challenge evolves to offer more and more support for early stage companies.”
The semi-finalists are:
• Tieös Pharmaceuticals Inc. from New Brunswick
• Neck Tronics Inc. from Nova Scotia
• iPSNP Computing Inc. from New Brunswick
• Heterogeneous Nanosystems Ltd. from Nova Scotia
• Zecken Laboratories from New Brunswick
• ADDtext Inc. from Nova Scotia
• Pfera Inc. from New Brunswick
• Canuevo Biotech Inc. from New Brunswick
The winner of the BioInnovation Challenge will receive a $15,000 seed investment and a package of support services and mentoring valued at more than $30,000.
The 2017 BIC is presented by BioNova in partnership with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, BioNB, Emergence, Dalhousie University Industry Liaison and Innovation, Springboard Atlantic, Jennifer Cameron PR, JLT, Sandler Training and Grant Thornton.
BIC will take place over two days in October. The 8 semi-finalists will present to a panel of judges on October 17 at the Life Sciences Research Institute. The top three presenters will then pitch to the judges and the conference audience at BioPort Atlantic, BioNova’s annual conference, the following morning. The winner will be announced at the close of BioPort Atlantic on the afternoon of October 18.
BioPort Atlantic will take place at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel on October 17 and 18. BioPort provides a forum to educate, inform and inspire the life sciences community to develop their ideas, commercialize their technologies and build links within the region and with guests brought in from the US and from around the world.
BioNova is the industry association leading the advancement of the life sciences sector in Nova Scotia. BioNova leads and supports its members as we build a successful, self-sustaining life sciences industry in Nova Scotia. By promoting the industry and its successes, building relationships both inside and outside the province and creating networking and educational opportunities. BioNova aims to accelerate the commercialization success of Nova Scotia’s life sciences businesses and organizations.
For further information, media may contact:
Program Manager, BioNova
902-421-5705 ext. 4
Release from GoodLeaf Farms
New indoor vertical farming technology from Nova Scotia promises fresher, local produce year-round, going from seed to plate in just over a week.
Truro NS/Toronto ON (July 31, 2017) – GoodLeaf Farms (GoodLeaf) of Truro, Nova Scotia is pleased to announce its locally-grown microgreen products will be available year-round in select Atlantic Superstores stores across the Maritimes – even during the harshest winter months.
Using technology created by its parent company TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture Ltd., GoodLeaf is pioneering a new, indoor, vertical farming system that uses LED lights and reclaimed rainwater to grow ultra-fresh produce in as little as one week, without the use of pesticides. Built with the highest degree of sustainability in mind, the process uses up to 90% less water than traditional farming methods and can be harvested, packaged and available for sale on store shelves within a day.
“We know our customers are looking for exceptional produce, grown locally wherever possible, which is why we are such huge supporters of local and regional suppliers,” said Mark Boudreau, Director, Corporate Affairs, Loblaw Companies Ltd. “Having fresh local vegetables year round in the Maritimes would have been impossible a decade ago. We’re excited about today’s launch, and proud of our role working with TruLeaf over the past few years to bring this innovative farming technology to our Atlantic Superstore customers.”
GoodLeaf Farms has been embraced by local wholesalers and restaurants who were drawn to the incomparable quality, consistency and freshness of GoodLeaf products. Today’s announcement at Atlantic Superstore, however, marks the first consumer launch with Loblaw in the Maritimes.
“We are thrilled to be bringing a new era of freshness to Atlantic Canadian consumers,” said Gregg Curwin, President & CEO, GoodLeaf Farms. “We grow our produce in tightly-controlled environments to the very highest standards in the industry. It’s a difference you can truly taste – our products are bursting with flavour and nutrition. And by dramatically reducing the time and energy needed to grow produce, it really is a new way to eat responsibly.”
GoodLeaf Farms is the exclusive Canadian licensee of the TruLeaf Smart Plant System® – a revolutionary indoor farming system that enables it to grow fresh produce year-round, even in the harshest winter months. As a pioneer in indoor, vertical farming, GoodLeaf has become a favourite among restaurants and wholesalers who have grown to depend on GoodLeaf for fast, fresh and local
produce that meets the highest standards for quality and taste.
information on GoodLeaf Farms, please visit www.goodleaffarms.com.
For more information, please contact:
Greg Veinott, Manager of Research and Commercialisation
Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Ph: (902) 802-8687
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, July 12, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Immunovaccine Inc. (TSX:IMV) (OTCQX:IMMVF), a clinical stage immuno-oncology company, today announced a significant achievement in its personalized cancer medicines program. Immunovaccine scientists have successfully formulated 14 neoepitope cancer peptides into one single DepoVax formulation. In preclinical testing, the resulting personalized cancer vaccine demonstrated the ability to generate specific killer T cell responses against cancer peptides. Immunovaccine has filed a patent application covering this novel DepoVax-based rapid formulation process. The supporting data for the patent includes what the Company believes to be one of the first documented reports of 14 different neoepitope peptides synthesized into a single formulation.
“We believe that the ability to effectively combine a high number of diverse peptides without manufacturing limitations represents an important milestone in the deployment of personalized neoepitope immunotherapies,” said Frederic Ors, Immunovaccine’s Chief Executive Officer. “Being able to do it so quickly and efficiently should provide an opportunity to develop truly personalized therapies on a scale that could, in our opinion, truly impact the way in which bespoke medicines are used in today’s treatment landscape.”
This breakthrough evolved as part of the Company’s DPX-NEO program, which aims to develop patient-specific immunotherapies targeting neoepitopes (the mutated proteins, and potential targets of an immune response, produced by a patient’s own tumors.) The methodology under this patent application can include peptides with a wide range of physical and chemical characteristics—including those that are insoluble. Immunovaccine believes that this novel process combines the ease and speed of manufacturing with other advantages inherent in DepoVax formulations, including long-term formulation stability, as well as the potential to elicit a strong and specific T cell response maintained for a year or more.
Neoepitope vaccines have demonstrated significant potential in the realm of personalized medicinesi,ii. However, the complexity and potential expense of advancing these patient-specific vaccines includes substantial challenges for development and large-scale deployment. Intensive work is required to identify patient-specific peptide epitopes, and synthesize them rapidly into a single formulation. In addition, when the neoepitope peptides are selected from patients, investigators have not always been able to include many optimal candidates due to manufacturing limitations of the technology required to synthesize a single formulation.
Immunovaccine believes that the DepoVax-based formulations demonstrate the ability to address these limitations as they do not limit the target peptides to highly soluble peptides. This flexibility should enable investigators to optimize the choices of immunogenic targets access a broader range of candidates.
“Developing a suitably immunogenic delivery system that can accommodate multiple potential targets is one of the most significant challenges faced by this type of therapy, and while we are thrilled to have found a potential solution to this limitation, we believe that the implications of this formulation process can go well beyond the neoepitope space,” said Marianne Stanford, Vice President, Research, at Immunovaccine. “We see future applications of the DepoVax multiple peptide formulation using a high number of tumor-associated antigens in one immuno-oncology agent, or multiple targets for an infectious disease within one vaccine. We are excited to explore the potential applications of this technology.”
About DepoVax Technology
The technology underlying DepoVax formulations suspends vaccine components in an oil diluent that prevents their release at the site of injection. This process forces immune cells to take up these components in an active process, delivering them directly to immune organs such as the lymph nodes. DepoVax formulations have undergone extensive testing in more than 60 preclinical and seven clinical studies. In clinical trials, these formulations have consistently demonstrated the ability to generate robust T and B cell responses, and durable immune responses.
Immunovaccine had previously announced a DPX-NEO collaboration with UConn Health, and is in active discussions with additional industry partners to expand the program.
Still basking in the glow of landing a first client in China, Dartmouth-based Partner International ’s top exec was honoured Wednesday evening in St. John’s, N.L. as one of the region’s Top 50 CEOs.
“I am in amazing company and really honoured to be recognized in this way,” Joanne Ball-Gautschi, Partner International’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Partner International does business all over the globe and we do it from our base in Halifax. We are very proud of that.”
The privately-held company does not divulge its revenues. But Mark Regular, the company’s vice-president of business development, said Wednesday that Partner International has offices in the United States, Australia and Switzerland as well as Canada, and business development teams in 26 countries. The firm employs 18 people in its four offices.
Earlier this month, the 17-year-old company announced it ha d inked a deal with one of the biggest healthcare groups in China, Shanghai Fosum Pharmaceutical Group.
That deal includes business development support for two of the Chinese company’s subsidiaries. The first is a molecule-development company targeting diabetes and cancer, and the other is developing antibody therapies. Partner International’s role will include helping those companies with partnership opportunities and licensing outside China.
“Our reputation in the international market helped secure the agreement,” said Ball-Gautschi in a statement. “We have built a solid track record in the life sciences industry delivering results for our international clients.”
Partner International works with scientists, researchers, doctors and engineers to bring their technologies to global markets, particularly in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.
In addition to the recognition she received from Atlantic Business Magazine, Ball-Gautschi has also been recognized by the University of Ottawa as a leading woman entrepreneur.
She sat for more than 12 years on the board of the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Nova Scotia and was the first woman to hold the board position of executive vice-president.
San Francisco, June 9, 2017 – Densitas Inc., developer of advanced breast imaging analytics technologies, announced that research is being presented today at University of California, San Francisco’s International Breast Density and Cancer Risk Assessment Workshop that demonstrates the unique value of Densitas’ automated breast density assessment software.
In the study, “Evaluation of Densitas, a mammographic density method for processed images,” researchers from the University of Manchester investigated the relationship between the software’s breast density assessments and cancer risk for interval and screen detected cancers. The study concludes Densitas’ automated breast density assessment algorithm produced density measures that predicted breast cancer risk and may be a practical method for risk-stratification of women using processed digital mammograms that are the default standard image format available for analysis at point-of-care.
“Our unique algorithm has the distinct advantage of permitting breast density assessments of routinely stored standard processed digital mammograms and their priors,” said Mohamed Abdolell, CEO of Densitas. “We’re pleased to see this study validating our technology. These key differentiators of our technology make our software the most clinically practical and pragmatic solution on the market.”
These research results uniquely position Densitas to provide a solution that overcomes the significant integration challenges associated with existing algorithms that only process RAW images. Densitas software integrates seamlessly with existing hospital and clinical IT infrastructures and does not alter routine clinical workflow, generating on-demand results at point-of-care.
Densitas Inc. is a medical software company building a comprehensive advanced imaging analytics platform that generates actionable information targeted at improving the mammography enterprise and associated clinical outcomes and appropriate use of health resources.
JUNE 6, 2017. DARTMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA – Acadian Seaplants Limited (ASL) is
pleased to announce that, on June 2nd, it acquired Uist Asco Ltd., located on the Island of North Uist,
Outer Hebrides, Scotland.
Uist Asco specializes in the harvesting and processing of Ascophyllum nodosum and has been
operating for four years.
“This region of Scotland has a long and proud history of harvesting seaweed and creating jobs and
economic growth from this renewable resource,” said President and CEO of Acadian Seaplants
Limited, Jean-Paul Deveau. “Uist Asco is a superb example of the strong and deep Scottish tradition
of seaweed harvesting on the Island. We are very much looking forward to continuing this time honoured
tradition by sharing our technologies, expertise and making the investments necessary to
address any challenges to ensure the local seaweed industry prospers.”
This acquisition gives Acadian Seaplants a greater presence in Europe, which will further
complement its Arramara Teoranta operation in Kilkieran, Ireland. “I expect tremendous
synergies and sharing of personnel and expertise between the two European and
Canadian operations for the benefit of all involved,” he added.
Raghnall MacIain of Uist Asco Ltd. said, “We are very pleased with the level of investment
that Acadian Seaplants brings to Uist Asco and their support for the harvesting industry
in North Uist. We look forward to growth of both the company operations and the local
Acadian Seaplants Limited, based in Nova Scotia, Canada, is a global, bio-tech company
and the largest independent manufacturer of marine plant products of its type in the world.
It is engaged primarily in the sustainable harvesting of wild seaweeds, in the development
of technologies to process these renewable resources into value-added finished products
and in the cultivation and processing of unique seaweeds, from the world’s largest landbased,
commercial seaweed cultivation system.
The company produces products for global food and agricultural industries. Its valueadded
products are sold into health, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, food, brewery and
cosmetic markets; its agricultural business includes specialized animal feeds and crop
biostimulants and nutritional products. Ninety-five percent of its products are exported to
over 80 countries.
For further information, contact:
Director, Corporate and Government Relations
Acadian Seaplants Limited
T: +1 902 468 2840, F: +1 902 468 3474
STI Technologies Limited is recruiting for the position of Patient Support Solutions Specialist to meet anticipated growth over the next year. Candidates will be pre-qualified for upcoming positions and will remain in the hiring pool for approximately one year. This position works collaboratively with other stakeholders and services to coordinate the patient journey, this is an opportunity to join a motivated, fast- paced, positive environment with limitless growth potential.
The Patient Support Solutions Specialist is not a call centre environment, it is located at STI Technologies head office which has been on the ‘Best Places to Work in Atlantic Canada’ for a number of years’ running.
- The PSS Specialist will provide telephone, email and web – based support to patients, pharmacists, physicians and other health care professionals.
- You are responsible for determining eligibility according to program terms prior to enrolling patients in programs.
- By providing service excellence to patients you will coordinate the logistics of the program with all stakeholders to ensure the best patient outcome.
- The ability to multitask is vital to this role along with the ability to work evenings and weekends, as required.
- The successful candidate will embrace change and thrive on being part of the team’s success through communication, dedication and commitment to the company’s goals.
Going global? Partner International can help.
Last month, BioNova hosted a Lunch & Learn with Partner International on global licensing strategy and global expansion plans tailored to the life sciences sector.
Partner International is a leading international business development service provider in the life sciences sector, completing billions of dollars of transactions, over its 17 years of operation, while executing business development mandates in companies from big pharma to start up biotechs. They have clients all over the globe, including their first Chinese client they recently closed.
They help life sciences companies with accelerating business development transactions and anything in the corporate development sector. Some common transactions in life sciences deals include licensing, partnering, collaborations, mergers, investment & distribution. Partner International can do it all.
The first step in going global is understanding where you are and where you want to go.
– Mark Regular, Executive Director of Business Development
Here are 5 steps you’ll take with Partner International:
- Define objectives and criteria for potential partners
In the business development process, a crucial first step is defining specifically what you expect from your potential partners. This ensures your company can build a mutually beneficial relationship right from the start. Let Partner International’s 17 years of experience guide you.
- Find the right person in a company and build those relationships
If your company continues to reach out to the same contact and continues to receive the same “Sorry, we’re not interested”, don’t give up! Mark and Joanne (Co-Founder and President) know who to contact and can get you that meeting.
- Build a valuable IP portfolio
Your company needs to show why and how it’s unique. What makes your company’s product or service stand out? Where’s the data to back it up? Do you have any patents or copyrights?
- Don’t underestimate the importance of interdependence
The business development process can be complicated and there are many factors to consider. From your suppliers to your governance, and from royalties to warranties, these roles are all connected.
- Due diligence
Put in the work. This shows a willingness of both parties to collaborate and be professional. It can also be a predictor of the future relationship with the potential partner. Partner International knows a thing or two about partners!
Partner International will help you take over the globe, one deal at a time.
Executive Director, Business Development
“Genome Atlantic and its partners have transformed a tiny seed into a big opportunity, creating an innovative, alternative solution with long-term benefits to industry. This kind of work is at the heart of positioning Canada as a world-leading innovation economy.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister Responsible for ACOA.
Halifax, NS – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has approved the use of mechanically-extracted camelina oil as a feed ingredient for farmed salmon and trout.
Camelina sativa, or false flax, is a hardy oilseed plant that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and antioxidants. This super-nutritious plant is used as a vegetable oil for human consumption and as an ingredient or supplement in some animal feeds. Fish feed manufacturers have also explored the use of crop-based oilseeds like camelina as viable and cost-efficient substitutes for wild-sourced fish oils and proteins currently used in fish feeds.
A recently completed large-scale study of camelina oil managed by Genome Atlantic with support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)’s Atlantic Innovation Fund, found camelina to be an excellent match to the fatty acid composition required in the diets of farmed fish. Backed by this compelling evidence, Genome Atlantic applied to the CFIA for approval of camelina oil for use in fish feeds.
“Genome Atlantic and its partners have transformed a tiny seed into a big opportunity, creating an innovative, alternative solution with long-term benefits to industry,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA. “This kind of work is at the heart of positioning Canada as a world-leading innovation economy. The Government of Canada will continue to focus on skilled, talented and creative people and projects such as this, that create jobs and grow the middle class.”
Aquaculture scientist Dr. Chris Parrish of Memorial University, one of the study’s principal researchers, says that camelina oil has characteristics that make it a particularly promising alternative in fish diets. “Among the oils that can be used to replace fish oil in aquafeeds, camelina is one of the few with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. While these omega-3 fatty acids are different to those present in fish oils, they enhance the ability of fish to synthesize the healthful long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are needed for their optimal growth. This, in turn, ensures a healthful fillet for human consumers,” said Dr. Parrish.
“Investments in industry-led R&D in Atlantic Canada lead to tangible benefits.
– Steve Armstrong, President & CEO of Genome Atlantic.
Another of the study’s principal researchers, Dr. Claude Caldwell of Dalhousie University, explains that the scientists found camelina oil to be sufficiently nutritious to replace all the fish oil in feeds, as well as some of the ground fish meal. “The use of wild-sourced fish to feed the farmed fish is not sustainable either ecologically or economically. Camelina could be a viable alternative,” he said. Considering that aquaculture companies spend 50 to 70 percent of their budgets on feed, finding a high-quality, lower cost source of oil could mean significant savings.
While the CFIA’s recent approval only covers camelina oil, Dr. Caldwell and his Dalhousie team are currently conducting feeding trials for the CFIA on camelina meal. “Camelina meal can’t entirely replace fish meal used in fish feeds, but it could replace some of that meal,” he said.
Camelina is grown in many parts of the world, including North America. Dr. Caldwell suggests camelina could be a good rotation crop for potatoes, making it a potentially viable option for farmers in Maritime Canada. “There are about 200,000 acres of potatoes planted in this region. Camelina could be a successful rotation crop that could open new markets for farmers while making the aquaculture industry healthier and more sustainable,” said Dr. Caldwell.
“Investments in industry-led R&D in Atlantic Canada lead to tangible benefits. In this instance, the generous support of ACOA and other collaborators on the Camelina Project has led to opening up a potential new market for our regional farmers and a sustainable alternative feed ingredient for our aquaculture producers,” said Steve Armstrong, President & CEO of Genome Atlantic.
The Camelina Project also received support from The Research and Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC), the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the University of Saskatchewan, Memorial University, Dalhousie University, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Minas Seeds, Cooke Aquaculture, and Genome Prairie.