Hannah McIver

Hannah McIver

Charlottetown-based MicroSintesis, which has developed a revolutionary product to ensure gut health in animals, has sold a minority stake to John Risley’s Northern Private Capital for $16.4 million.

 MicroSintesis is working in a new area of research called proteobiotic, which aims to rebalance the good and bad bacteria in an animal’s or person’s gut. The company has two products, which in total have been consumed by about 2 million animals.

Now the company has received funding from NPC, which is an investment vehicle for CFFI Ventures, which is controlled by Clearwater Fine Foods Chairman Risley.  MicroSintesis, which announced the funding at the Vet Health Global conference in Charlottetown, said it will use the capital to build out its research capabilities and platform to deliver a new generation of health products for livestock, pets, and humans.

“With the cost of fighting antibiotic resistance now reaching into the billions, we rapidly need a proven solution directed at preserving antibiotics for the future,” said MicroSintesis Founder and CEO Hannah McIver in a statement. “By partnering with NPC and a successful entrepreneur like John, we now have the funding and the support to grow our company into a global business. Our current technology is just the beginning of what we believe will be a new era of microbiome products and one where MicroSintesis wants to be a leader.”

The announcement comes as life sciences companies are dominating the funding landscape in Atlantic Canada. In April, Halifax medical device maker ABK Biomedical raised US$30 million in venture capital, the largest VC round ever closed by an Atlantic Canadian company. Earlier this month, Spring Loaded Technology and Densitas, both of the Halifax area, received a slice of an $11 million equity funding exercise anchored by the Montreal-based health technology organization Medteq.

MicroSintesis works in one of the newest areas of research – metabolites being produced by probiotics. Recent research has shown that probiotics are beneficial because they produce “signal molecules” that interrupt cell-to-cell communication, reducing the ability of harmful bacteria to attach, colonize and produce toxins in the gut.

Scientifically advanced probiotic products – called proteobiotics – contain metabolites naturally secreted by probiotic bacteria, and these ensure there is a proper balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut.

MicroSintesis uses patented formulations of these molecules to shift bacterial populations in the gut from unhealthy to healthy. The company’s research has been substantiated through 11 published papers, three clinical studies and more than 100 case studies, said the statement.

To date, MicroSintesis has a library of over 50 probiotic production strains and has developed a proprietary process optimized for this next generation of postbiotic and probiotic products.

Last year, MicroSintesis launched commercial products for both the pet and livestock markets in Canada.  The company’s Ygia brand for cats and dogs is carried in a growing number of veterinary clinics and its Nuvio brand for pigs and chickens is sold in six provinces.

Raised on a farm in England, McIver is a serial entrepreneur who studied biomedicine at the University of Guelph. She and her sister Alison founded, (and subsequently sold) Agribiotics, a company specializing in research and production of microbial products for agriculture.

“We are very excited to partner with Hannah and her team as they deliver products that reduce the use of antibiotics and become leaders in the production of postbiotics for animal and human health,” said Northern Private Capital CEO Andrew Lapham in the statement. “This is a very large, global market, and we believe MicroSintesis has a technology platform capable of delivering multiple products in the coming years to capitalize on this significant and sizeable opportunity first in the area of animal health and soon to follow in human health.”