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Republished from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. Read full story on the OSC website.

On Monday, May 3, 2021 Canada’s Ocean Supercluster announced four new projects with a total value of almost $11 million, including the Sustainable Protein for Aquaculture project. This Nova Scotia-led project will bring together academia, government, and the private sector to develop and commercialize two breakthrough technologies to produce an environmentally sustainable and low-cost protein for the aquaculture industry while reducing oil and gas emissions.

This game-changing project represents significant developments in science and technology and has never been done before. The Sustainable Protein for Aquaculture project will take greenhouse gas emissions from upstream oil and gas and convert them into a high-value protein product to be used to feed farmed fish.

The Sustainable Protein for Aquaculture Project is led by DeNova, in collaboration with the Center for Aquaculture Technologies Canada, Natural Products Canada, Dalhousie University, the National Research Council of Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and Cooke Aquaculture.

With a total project value of $6 million, the Ocean Supercluster will provide almost $2.6 million with the balance of funding coming from project partners.

The Sustainable Protein for Aquaculture Project will put Atlantic Canada at the forefront of the alternative and sustainable protein sector while reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to sustainable growth of Canada’s ocean economy. This project will create 12 new full-time positions with the potential for more than 150 direct jobs upon commercial success.

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.

For more information on Emergence, visit

The PEI BioAlliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Penny Walsh-McGuire as Executive Director of the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL), effective June 7, 2021. As Executive Director, Penny will be responsible for leading and developing CASTL as an essential and unique part of our local and national bioscience sector ecosystem.

CASTL is a first-of-its-kind partnership between academia, industry, and government to address the future skills needs of Canada’s fast-growing bioscience sector. CASTL offers multiple applied learning streams and pathways for individuals to acquire the academic knowledge, and technical and professional skills to have a successful career in life sciences.

“I have always been very impressed with Penny’s leadership, intuition, and relationship-building skills,” said Rory Francis, CEO, PEI BioAlliance. “We are thrilled that Penny will now lead the development of CASTL as an essential and unique part of our local and national bioscience sector ecosystem.”

Over the past fifteen years, Penny has held leadership roles, including CEO, Executive Director, and Chief Marketing Officer for several not-for-profit organizations. As CEO of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, she has led the organization’s operations and strategic initiatives on behalf of the Chamber’s more than 1,000 members. Through this work, she convened a group of 20 business organizations and industry associations in developing a private-sector-led economic development action plan through the PEI Partnership for Growth.

Penny is passionate about workforce development and has consistently advocated for programs and services to support the growth of PEI’s talent pipeline.

As a highly motivated business leader and communications professional, Penny led marketing and communications for the Confederation Centre of the Arts and the University of Prince Edward Island. As CEO of the Prince Edward Island 2014 celebrations, Penny led a multi-disciplinary team in the strategic development and implementation of a year-long program engaging private-sector, community organizations, and governments at all levels. Penny has most recently served as chair of the Holland College Board of Governors.

A graduate of the University of Prince Edward Island, she holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree in business and a diploma in Events and Conventions Management from Holland College.

For more information on CASTL, visit

Applications open until June 1, 2021.

The Ocean Startup Project has launched its second Ocean Startup Challenge. Up from last year’s $350,000 in prize money, the 2021 edition of the competition will award up to $1.4 million to ocean innovators and entrepreneurs from rural, Indigenous and urban communities, across Canada and internationally. The PEI BioAlliance is one of six partners in the Ocean Startup Project.

The Challenge has three streams:

1) Idea – multiple early-stage teams will each receive up to $25K;
2) Growth – multiple early-stage companies, having made traction and achieved notable milestones, will each receive up to $100K; and
3) Oceanshot – up to one early-stage company tackling ambitious, uncharted problems that will lead to massive market opportunities will receive up to $200K prize.

Additionally, up to three special awards will be issued specifically for: Women Entrepreneurs; Indigenous Founders; and Impact (a startup dedicated to technology for ocean sustainability). Winners receive business support from Challenge sponsors, learning opportunities, access to industry expert mentors, and more.

Read more on the Ocean Startup Challenge website to learn more about eligibility and apply.

Hosted by the Ocean Startup Project, the Ocean Solutions Exchange is a virtual speaker series that brings together ocean industry experts who will discuss the challenges faced by various ocean sectors, highlight opportunities in the market, and share other insights into their respective fields. The PEI BioAlliance is one of six partners in the Ocean Startup Project.

The Ocean Solutions Exchange on Tuesday, April 27 at 1 p.m. is a free event that has a focus on Marine Bioresources. PEI BioAlliance CEO Rory Francis will be moderating an experienced lineup of panelists:

  • Kira Salonius, CEO at Previwo (Norway)
  • Randy Peach, Aquaculture Technical Services Account Manager, Zoetis (Canada)
  • Beth Mason, CEO at Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy & Environment (Canada)
  • Russell Kerr, Research Fellow at Nautilus Biosciences CRODA (UK)

After the panel discussion, you’ll have a chance to connect with speakers and other attendees during sector networking.

Register for the event.

Event Overview:

1:00 pm – Panel discussion
Our guest speakers will discuss big problems, trends and new technologies in Marine Bioresources.

2:00 pm – Interactive networking session
The interactive networking session will allow you to:

  • Speak with panelists in individual rooms
  • Choose when you want to change rooms and speak with another panelist

2:30 pm – Event concludes

Budget 2021 demonstrates the strategic importance of Canada’s bioscience sector in economic recovery

Charlottetown, PE – The Prince Edward Island BioAlliance welcomes the Government of Canada’s investment in biotechnology innovation as a key priority area set to drive economic recovery for Canada following the COVID-19 pandemic. Budget 2021 includes recommendations that will improve access to investment capital, as well as commitments to refinance key funding programs and build bio-manufacturing capacity. These investments will enable the BioAlliance, along with academic and industry partners, to execute on key priorities over the next few years to grow the PEI Cluster.

Budget 2021 also demonstrates the importance of investing in skills and training for future economic growth. Last year the PEI BioAlliance launched the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) with support from the Government of Canada and the Government of PEI, as a regional and national initiative to help address the future skills demand of the bioscience sector, particularly in biopharmaceutical and biologics manufacturing.

“This budget demonstrates the federal government’s awareness of the importance of the bioscience and biotechnology sector in addressing some of the biggest challenges of our time,” said Oliver Technow, Chair, PEI BioAlliance Board of Directors, and CEO, BioVectra. “From the current pandemic and other human health needs, to climate change and global food security, these investments in Canada’s biotech sector will allow Canadian companies to bring solutions to the global marketplace.”

Budget 2021 proposes targeted support for the life sciences and bio-manufacturing sector including:

  • $1 billion on a cash basis over seven years, starting in 2021-22, of support through the Strategic Innovation Fund would be targeted toward promising domestic life sciences and bio-manufacturing firms.
  • $50 million on a cash basis over five years, starting in 2021-22, to create a life sciences stream in the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative, as part of a larger venture capital investment.
  • $500 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $100 million per year ongoing, to expand the Industrial Research Assistance Program to support up to 2,500 additional innovative small and medium-sized firms.
  • $500 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support the bioscience capital and infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions and research hospitals.
  • $250 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the federal research granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund.
  • $67.2 million over seven years, starting in 2021-22, to Environment and Climate Change Canada. This standard creates new economic opportunities for Canada’s biofuel producers, including farmers and foresters, who are part of the diverse supply chain for low-carbon fuels.

Over the past decade, the PEI Cluster has established itself as a centre of excellence in bioprocessing and is seeing an abundance of opportunity to expand its role in this critical area.

“The BioAlliance has previously identified a shortage of wet labs and manufacturing facilities, as well as the lack of systematic approach to bio sector skills and training as key factors limiting the potential growth of the sector, both in the province and across Canada,” said Rory Francis, CEO, PEI BioAlliance. “This budget has certainly put the resources in place to address these issues and ensure the bio sector is a major contributor to recovery and growth.”

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


Republished from UPEI News:

A project to develop an early warning system for identifying complex gill disease on salmon farms, led by Dr. Mark Fast, professor of fish health and immunology, Atlantic Veterinary College at UPEI, has received $4.7 million in funding through Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP).

The project is one of five applied research genome projects that received $8.6 million in federal funding and an additional $17.8 million in co-funding from provincial governments, businesses, and research partners across Canada. Partnering with Fast on the project are Cermaq Canada, Grieg Seafoods, Genome Atlantic, and Genome BC.

Salmon production in Canada is under increasing threats from infectious and non-infectious diseases such as complex gill disease. Over the last decade, gill health and associated disease have been a growing challenge in salmon farming operations in both the Pacific and North Atlantic. Complex gill disease is a multifactorial condition resulting from the interaction of environmental and husbandry conditions as well as infection by pathogens and parasites to create proliferative lesions, particularly during the summer and fall months.

The project will validate biomarkers of healthy and compromised gills of Atlantic salmon and use these to develop an early warning system for the development of gill disease on Atlantic salmon production sites across Canada. The resulting genomics-enabled tools for fish health will guide the management and intervention strategies for complex gill disease in Atlantic salmon.

Read full story on UPEI News.

PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapies for cardiopulmonary diseases, and BioVectra Inc., an innovative global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) located in Charlottetown, PE, today announced a commercial scale supply agreement for the production of bentracimab, PhaseBio’s lead product candidate currently in a global Phase 3 clinical trial. Bentracimab is a novel, human monoclonal antibody fragment that in earlier clinical trials has shown immediate and sustained reversal of the antiplatelet effects of Brilinta® (ticagrelor).

Under the terms of the agreement, BioVectra will provide its integrated CDMO services for the manufacturing of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of bentracimab for use in PhaseBio’s ongoing global clinical trials and for global commercial use upon regulatory approval. Utilizing a cost-efficient, E.coli-based manufacturing process at its manufacturing site in Windsor, Nova Scotia, BioVectra recently completed the first GMP run of bentracimab at commercial scale. Going forward, PhaseBio plans to integrate API manufactured at commercial scale at BioVectra into the ongoing Phase 2b and Phase 3 REVERSE-IT clinical trials to support global regulatory filings.

“We’re excited to be partnering with PhaseBio under this new commercial agreement for the high-volume scale-up and global supply of bentracimab,” said Oliver Technow, Chief Executive Officer of BioVectra. “BioVectra is an expert CDMO with proven, specialized capability in scaling the most complex biologic drug substances produced from fermentation. Leveraging our fully integrated approach and 50 years of experience, our highly-skilled team looks forward to continuing to make a difference in patients’ lives by delivering on and supporting PhaseBio’s global commercialization of bentracimab from our new, large-scale Microbial Biomanufacturing facility.”

Read full press release on Business Wire.

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