Meaghan Seagrave: 'This is the third year in a row we're seeing growth on all fronts.'

Meaghan Seagrave: 'This is the third year in a row we're seeing growth on all fronts.'

BioNB, the umbrella organization for life sciences in New Brunswick, has published its first annual report, showing a rapid increase in the number of biotech companies in the province and highlighting several achievements.

Last week, the Fredericton-based group issued the 44-page report, which says that the number of bioscience startups operating in the province has doubled in the past four years to more than 100. The association said it is now working with more than 40 startups.

The report also said that startups now make up about 44 percent of the bioscience community in the province, while 22 percent are early stage, 16 percent growth stage and 19 percent mature.

“The sector continues its upward trend with regards to number of companies, number of jobs and private capital raised,” said Executive Director Meaghan Seagrave. “This is the third year in a row we are seeing increases on all fronts. New Brunswick is definitely proving to be a great sandbox for early-stage bioscience ventures.”

The companies range from startups like Chinova Bioworks, SomaDetect and Pfera, which were founded in the past few years, to such global enterprises as McCain Foods.

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The highlights of 2017 included:

  • Atlantic Cancer Research Institute signed a non-exclusive license agreement with BioVendor for liquid biopsy enabling technology.  The institute received a $3 million loan from the Atlantic Innovation Fund in 2016.
  • Soricimed Biopharma published the results of Phase I studies of SOR-C13 in patients with advanced solid tumours.
  • Screening Devices Canada’s investigational study of smartphone and rapid tests was approved by Health Canada. The research will take place at Horizon Health.
  • Chinova Bioworks presented at the TERRA accelerator demo day in San Francisco. The TERRA accelerator is focused on food and agriculture innovation and features exposure to major corporate partners. Chinova Bioworks COO David Brown was awarded the Governor General’s Innovation Award.
  • SomaDetect won the US$1 million 43North competition in Buffalo, NY, and was named one of the Top 20 most innovative new Canadian tech companies by CIX.
  • ADI Systems was acquired by Pittsburgh-based Evoqua Water Technologies, the world’s largest provider of wastewater solutions.
  • BIOMATCAN received ISO 13485 Certification for Medical Devices, which is a key step toward the global marketing of the company’s products.
  • Canuevo Biotech was accepted into Rebel Bio accelerator in Cork, Ireland, with a $100,000 investment.

“2017 was a banner year for New Brunswick bioscience,” said BioNB in a press release. “Our entrepreneurs worked to advance opportunities that ensure our food security, improve our health and create a cleaner environment. Over 100 New Brunswick companies were involved in bioscience, including start-ups, early-stage and established companies.”