Hannah McIver, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Charlottetown-based MicroSintesis, announced Wednesday that her company has received a $16.4-million minority investment from Northern Private Capital, a Toronto firm backed by businessman John Risley.
She made the announcement at VetHealth Global 2019, a fitting venue given that MicroSintesis was identified and introduced as an emerging company four years ago during VetHealth Global 2015. With a focus on the health of companion animals, poultry and swine, MicroSintesis already has microbiome-targeted, gastrointestinal products with potential to be used in lieu of antibiotics.
Through R&D collaborations with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the University of Guelph, MicroSintesis has identified a set of proprietary assays to study the impact of natural metabolites on the microbiome. The company has amassed a library of more than 50 probiotic strains producing specific metabolites known as postbiotics. These metabolites have been tested against 14 types of pathogens known to cause illness in animals and humans. MicroSintesis has harnessed the natural communication systems found within the microbiome allowing postbiotics to interrupt those communications and let bacteria pass right through, thereby improving animal health and wellness.
“As we understand more about the metabolites produced by the microbiome, we see the potential for the development of a new wave of clinically effective health products to treat or prevent big diseases,” said Hannah McIver. “These products will likely range all the way from supplements, through to a new class of microbiome drugs. The more our understanding of the role of the microbiome in health matures, the more potential we’ll unlock.”
Underpinning the company’s technology is the biomanufacturing system, developed by working with BIOFOODTECH, to create a safe and cost-effective way for MicroSintesis to deliver these products to animals, and eventually to humans. The MicroSintesis R&D facility is co-located with NRC in the Regis & Joan Duffy Research Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.
“MicroSintesis reinforces the importance and uniqueness of animal health research and products arising from PEI’s bioscience cluster,” said Rory Francis, Executive Director of the PEI BioAlliance. “Congratulations to Hannah, her MicroSintesis team and all the collaborators and stakeholders who have contributed to the company’s attaining this important financing milestone.”
“PEI became our company’s foundation. This is a PEI success story and we are really excited for the future,” said Hannah McIver. “In the next 24 months, our team will work to expand our existing products for Canada out to global markets, continue to research how to apply our technology beyond gut health to reduce industry reliance on antibiotics, and establish a scaled-up production facility to identify and manufacture MicroSintesis postbiotic metabolites.”
McIver recognized the importance of early involvement of programs from the governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), and Innovation PEI.