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New Canadian Venture Fund Takes Aim at Food Insecurity

As the impacts of food insecurity and climate change persist, a sustainable, homegrown biotechnology sector will be key to a sustainable and resilient economy in the coming years. It’s with these challenges in mind that Nàdarra Ventures, a new Canadian venture capital fund at the forefront of investing in sustainable biotechnology for food, agriculture, and materials, today announced its launch with founding investments of $20 million from Farm Credit Canada (FCC), Natural Products Canada (NPC), and family offices across the country.

The PEI BioAlliance is a founding partner of Natural Products Canada and continues to be a node partner in its national ecosystem.

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PEI BioAlliance seeking expressions of interest for BioAccelerator leasing

Application form now available for companies interested in leasing BioAccelerator space

Charlottetown, PE – The PEI BioAlliance is seeking expressions of interest from companies that wish to lease space in the new BioAccelerator, due to be completed in 2025. The BioAccelerator will include 15,000 sq. ft. of R&D incubation suites, as well as four 3,000 sq. ft. biomanufacturing units for medium term leasing. It will also include 12,000 sq. ft. of pilot plant suites for process development and optimization (with a focus on fermentation and natural product chemistry) which will be available for short-term leasing. Those interested can submit their interest through the BioAccelerator lease application form.

Earlier this year, the Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island announced a $50 million investment in the BioAccelerator, the largest single investment in economic development infrastructure in PEI history. Situated in the BioCommons Research Park in Charlottetown, the BioAccelerator will be a unique multi-function facility with 75,000 sq. ft. of biomanufacturing space that will provide facilities and services to researchers, entrepreneurs, and bioscience-based companies operating along the full continuum from research and product development, process development, manufacturing scale-up, and biomanufacturing skills and training. The BioAccelerator will be a biomanufacturing centre of expertise and a national asset, and support bioscience-based research and development in Atlantic Canada.

Tenants in the BioAccelerator will include early-stage companies, small, and medium-sized enterprises from Atlantic Canada, across Canada, and from international locations. It will also include the facilities and expertise of the National Research Council of Canada’s atypical fermentation labs as well as the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL), providing hands-on biopharmaceutical manufacturing training for the talent pipeline that will be essential to Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy. The BioAccelerator will be CASTL’s national headquarters and expanded lead training facility.

The BioAccelerator will be operated by the PEI BioAlliance. Once detailed engineering design is complete, construction tenders will be issued and awarded, with construction expected to be completed by end of 2025.

For more information on the BioAccelerator, visit

Save the Date: VetHealth Global 2025

Save the date for VetHealth Global, the premier international animal health and nutrition business conference, being held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, from June 24-26, 2025 and hosted by the PEI BioAlliance.

Mark your calendars and join us! Want to learn more? Check out our conference video to hear about the unique experience from some of our delegates.

What’s up in a down market? BioNetworking session with Keiretsu Forum Canada

Emergence invites you to attend a networking event featuring Kevin Sterling, President – Toronto of Keiretsu Forum.

As part of Global Biotech Week: Sept. 24 – 30, please join us for a Bio Networking Session, presented by Emergence. This session will be hosted in person and virtually and will feature a presentation by Keiretsu Forum Canada, followed by a short Q&A.

What’s up in a down market?
Creating interest and raising capital in an investor-friendly ‘grizzly’ market. Understanding the ripple effect of a bear market on raising early-stage capital and strategies to drive investor interest.

Presentation by: Kevin Sterling, President – Toronto, Keiretsu Forum Canada

Date: September 28, 2023

10 – 10:30 a.m. – Coffee and Networking
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Presentation

Location: Dunes/Beach Room, Holman Grand Hotel, Charlottetown, PE

Virtual Option: Zoom link to be provided.


Emergence continues to be an official Network Partner of Keiretsu Forum. Under this agreement, Keiretsu will provide access and support from their global investor network as well as a range of education and training opportunities to Emergence companies.

Transforming animal health globally, TARGAN joins bioscience business incubator

Charlottetown, PE – TARGAN Inc. is the latest company to join Emergence, Atlantic Canada’s bioscience business incubator dedicated to assisting start-ups and growth-stage companies in the commercialization of bioscience-based technologies and services. The region’s unique ecosystem and collaborative network drove TARGAN’s decision to join as the company seeks to create a more sustainable food supply chain, improving animal health, and eliminating disease.

Emergence plays a pivotal role in attracting innovative companies like TARGAN to Atlantic Canada. The region’s commitment to fostering innovation, bolstered by organizations such as the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Innovation PEI, University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), The Center for Aquaculture Technologies Canada (CATC) and PEI BioAlliance, makes PEI an ideal hub for TARGAN’s growth and success.

“Selecting Prince Edward Island for future aquaculture operations is a decision underpinned by the region’s collaborative spirit,” said Ramin Karimpour, founder and CEO at TARGAN. “We’re entering an environment primed to nurture and accelerate TARGAN’s transformative animal health technologies.  The access to these valued organizations combined with the region’s strong aquaculture industry presence and private industry base, forms a unique environment that aligns seamlessly with our objectives.”

Founded in 2015, TARGAN aims to empower animal protein producers to maximize efficiency and minimize losses through effective, humane vaccine delivery with breakthrough technologies. The company has successfully commercialized products in the poultry industry and is now planning to expand offering into aquaculture and livestock. TARGAN’s presence in PEI will focus on developing products for the aquaculture industry and partnering with Atlantic Canada-based design and manufacturing companies to improve products across all species served. The business’s proprietary solutions harness the latest in software and hardware innovations, including high-speed imaging, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, to meet the world’s growing food demands.

“We are very pleased to have TARGAN join the Emergence Incubator,” said Jason Cleaversmith, Director of Incubation, PEI BioAlliance. “Their unique and highly disruptive technology is positioned to maximize production yields, while prioritizing animal health, and we look forward to working with them on their innovative approach to aquaculture vaccination and AI-powered data systems.”

Emergence provides companies with business incubation services including the Critical Path program, one-on-one and team mentorship, business strategy and advisory services, as well as access to the Emergence Performance Network.

Learn more about Emergence at

Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, TARGAN is a biotechnology systems company poised to transform animal protein production industries worldwide by bringing affordable, individualized care technologies to the market. World meat consumption is expected to double by 2050. The world’s growing population, along with the popularity of animal protein, is responsible for the growth in meat consumption. The industry continues to evolve to meet market expectations, including the trend towards antibiotic-free production. Producers are seeking novel solutions to improve health standards and vaccination procedures while allowing for a similar level of productivity in the absence of antibiotics and other chemicals. TARGAN is bringing advanced technology solutions to the poultry, aquaculture and swine industries to address this demand. For more information, visit

Quannessence Skincare: The Beauty of Business

Local PEI bioscience company BioSpa (Quannessence Skincare) was recently featured in the August edition of APEX East Coast Magazine, a publication celebrating entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada. In this feature, CEO and Founder Sharon Quann talks about how the Quannessence Skincare line has evolved and how they were able to pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic and come through stronger than before. “Our vision is to enhance and protect the beauty and harmony of the skin with healthy ingredients and sustainable innovation,” said Quann. Read full article by Adam McNamara on Pages 19 – 22:

BioAlliance releases Annual Report for 2022-23

The PEI BioAlliance has released the Annual Report for 2022-23 (April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023) with key highlights and milestones from the year. Our BioAlliance Annual Report presents an important opportunity to highlight the achievements and milestones accomplished by the dynamic and growing bioscience sector here in Prince Edward Island.

Thank you to the over 2,300 executives, scientists, technicians, support and operations staff in businesses, research and academic institutions, investment firms, and government agencies, who together as a community have made these achievements possible. Our bioscience cluster has already surpassed 2025 growth targets and is well on its way to becoming a billion-dollar industry by 2030. In 2021, private sector company revenues reached $575 million, a $200 million increase over 2020.

It is the combination of strong growth of the cluster’s larger companies and the commercial success of earlier stage companies which has been an excellent recipe for sustained development of the cluster. It has been truly remarkable to see the range of breakthrough technologies and products coming from our cluster companies that are bringing new solutions to global challenges in human, animal, and fish health. Collaboration and cooperation among businesses, academic and research partners, and governments at all levels continues to make PEI a great place to grow bioscience-based businesses.

Read the full report to learn more about the growing biosciences cluster in PEI.

Natures Crops wants to turn oilseed waste into “win” for Canada

If you haven’t yet heard of Ahiflower® oil, you soon will. It is becoming increasingly popular throughout North American, Europe and the UK for its high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and is used in dietary supplements, skin care products and even dog food.

What few realize is that every drop of Ahiflower® is produced in Canada – in Kensington, Prince Edward Island.

“Whenever you see that name and the registered trademark, you know it came from PEI,” says Andrew Hebard, Founder, President and CEO of Natures Crops International, which discovered, bred and now owns the intellectual property for Ahiflower®. “Even though we grow the plant in different places around the world, the seeds are all taken to PEI and processed there. The island has become the epicentre of all of our operations.”

If Hebard has his way, the company’s Canadian oilseed crushing facility with 20 or so employees will soon become a large, high-value manufacturing facility.

“What you’ll see in the future is an integrated business that takes in Ahiflower® seeds at one end and has a whole stream of different products coming out the other – foods, cosmetics, nutrition supplements and so on.”

There’s just one problem. When they press the seed for oil, there is a huge amount of leftover substance called “presscake” that, according to Hebard, has been his company’s biggest limitation to growth.

“We produce a lot more presscake than oil. So finding a market for the presscake really unlocks a huge amount of demand and scalability.”

That’s where Natural Products Canada comes in. It recently awarded the company $250,000 to develop its proof of concept to transform presscakes into high-value consumer products.

“We’ll use the money to explore different processing techniques and equipment in the lab, to make sure we can get the exact results we want,” explains Hebard. “For example, if we’re turning the presscake into a fine powder for smoothies, we want to make sure it has a consistent nutritional profile. The funding will also help us with hiring, including a Product Development Manager to focus exclusively on the composition and applications for presscakes.”

Hebard expects to complete the project comfortably within the 18-month timeframe, after which they plan to scale up and invest in new equipment, technology and staff

“If we can do this, we can grow our processing capacity, our revenue and the number of staff we employ. It won’t be a flick of a switch, but I’m very confident this project is feasible, and the NPC funding has really been instrumental in unlocking the opportunity within it.”

Rory Francis third Islander to be named into Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame

Seven of Canada’s accomplished agricultural champions will take the stage on November 4 as the 2023 inductees into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. CEO of the PEI BioAlliance Rory Francis was named as one of the inductees and is only the third Prince Edward Island resident to have received this recognition alongside Premier Walter Jones (1962) and Premier Walter Shaw (1980). Other 2023 inductees include Garnet Altwasser, John Bragg, Marcel Groleau, Ron Helwer, Robert Irving and Ray Robertson.

“This year’s inductees come from across the country and across a wide array of sectors of the Canadian agricultural landscape, and we are so excited to welcome them into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame,” says President Ted Menzies. “These Canadian agricultural ambassadors have made lifelong contributions at the farm, regional, national and international level that support the long-term sustainability and success of our industry.”

Rory Francis has dedicated his career to the agriculture and life science sector in Canada with a particular passion for island agriculture. His work and vision as a dedicated public servant and business founder have changed the commercial landscape of PEI, where he is CEO of PEI BioAlliance.

Rory is the Founder and Board Chair of the Eastern Canada Oilseed Development Alliance which has facilitated over 50 multi-year agricultural research projects valued at over $20 million connecting industry partners from Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic provinces with researchers from Saskatchewan to the Maritime provinces. He was a Board Member of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute from 2010-2019 and a Board Member of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre from 2013-2019. Rory has been a long-standing Board Member, and current Chair of the Advisory Board for the National Research Council of Canada’s Aquatics and Crop Resource Development Centres. He is also the founder in 2007 of VetHealth Global, one of the leading international veterinary business conferences.

Rory Francis was nominated by the PEI Department of Agriculture and Land, and Byron Beeler. The 2023 induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 4 in Charlottetown, PEI.

VetHealth Global conference brings international animal health leaders to Prince Edward Island

Delegates from six continents and more than 20 countries to participate in the premier animal health and nutrition business conference

Charlottetown, PE – For the first time since 2019, more than 200 senior international animal health and nutrition business executives, investors and innovators will gather for VetHealth Global 2023 from June 26-28 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. VetHealth Global is the premier international animal health and nutrition business conference that has been recognized for its stellar list of presenters, innovative emerging company sessions, professional business partnering programming and top-rated networking events.

This is the eighth VetHealth Global conference since 2007, hosted every two years by the Prince Edward Island BioAlliance. Due to pandemic restrictions, the last VetHealth Global conference was held in 2019. This year’s exceptional program features speakers from six continents and more than 20 countries including Kenya, Uruguay, France, Netherlands, Japan, Australia and more.

“VetHealth Global is a unique event for animal health and nutrition companies, large and small, to gain insight from well-seasoned leaders and identify new business opportunities,” said Rory Francis, CEO, PEI BioAlliance and VetHealth Global Chair. “It is an ideal environment for business-to-business networking and we are very pleased to welcome this global delegation to PEI.”

Four panel discussions will bring together global leaders to discuss areas of significance to the industry: the animal health industry in Africa, the investment environment, digital technologies and AI, as well as regulatory policy perspectives from five leading jurisdictions around the world. Additionally, there are three keynote speakers and 24 presentations by outstanding innovators, providing valuable insight into the global animal health industry.

This year’s Honourary Chair is Sébastien Huron, CEO of Virbac, an animal health pharmaceutical manufacturer, that provides innovative solutions to veterinarians, farmers and animal owners in more than 100 countries around the world, covering more than 50 species.

Other large multi-national companies that will be in attendance include Ceva Santé Animale, Elanco, Meiji Animal Health, Zoetis, Merck, Vetoquinol, and more.

VetHealth Global focuses international attention on PEI’s fast-growing bioscience cluster and innovations in veterinary health products, animal feed additives, diagnostics and fish vaccines. Animal health and nutrition is a key pillar of the growth of the bioscience sector in PEI.

“PEI is a center of expertise in animal and fish health product commercialization,” said Francis. “VetHealth Global has become a must-attend event for animal health executives and gives bioscience companies in PEI the connections they need to advance their business.”

VetHealth Global is supported by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Government of Prince Edward Island.

“The connections made this week will build upon the pillars of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, strengthening research systems, supporting emerging areas of growth, and improving access to capital,” said Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.”The Government of Canada is pleased to invest in these important business growth opportunities in the biosciences here in Atlantic Canada.”

“The bioscience sector is one of the most exciting and promising areas of economic growth in Prince Edward Island,” said the Honourable Gilles Arsenault, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Trade, Government of Prince Edward Island. “Hosting the VetHealth Global conference is a unique opportunity to give an international audience a chance to discover how our province is a prime environment for innovation in the biosciences, especially in the areas of animal health and nutrition.”

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