The finalists of the BioInnovation Challenge today are: Athletigen Technologies Inc., NB-Biomatrix Inc., and Fenol Farms Inc., which were selected by a panel of judges at the semi-finals Monday afternoon.

The BioInnovation Challenge, now in its fourth year, is a pitching competition that tries to find leading new life sciences and biotech companies in the Maritimes. It is organized by BioNova, the life sciences association in Nova Scotia, with the support of its sister organizations in the neighbouring provinces, BioNB and the P.E.I. BioAlliance. The winners will receive $15,000 in seed funding and $30,000 in in-kind services.

The pitching competition will be one of the highlights of BioPort Atlantic, which BioNova is hosting at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax today.

The finalists are:

Athletigen Technologies -- The Halifax startup launched a software-as-a-service product to help coaches, athletes and fitness enthusiasts improve performance through sports-related genomic analysis. The company owns the world’s largest sports genetic databank, and has been plotting a course to launch the product in conjunction with a genetic ancestry service offered by the world-leading, direct-to-consumer genetics provider, 23andMe. CEO Jeremy Koenig said the company can analyze a sample of someone’s DNA and construct charts showing their strengths and weaknesses as athletes. This helps them to select the right sport and develop optimal training regimes.

NB-Biomatrix – The Saint John startup is using nano-technology to develop a biodegradable, anti-bacterial liquid that can remove heavy metals and other pollutants from waste water. Chief Science Officer Keith Brunt said the product, called Naqua-Pure binds with water-soluble particles such as heavy metals and non-soluble components such as oil. It then uses electromagnetic forces to remove the material from water. Brunt said the result is a cost-effective product that can remove 98 percent of heavy metals from water within 10 minutes. The company, which is looking for $225,000 in funding by June 2015, intends to develop an initial product for the commercial development of chitosan from lobster shells. It’s a potentially profitable undertaking usually marred by the resulting pollutants.

Fenol Farms – The Mount Uniacke-based company is now working on raising $1.2 million to commercialize its product that kills the damaging bacteria that accumulates under dental braces. The company uses a combination of LED lighting and natural compounds extracted from plants to cure oral health problems in certain patients. It is developing both a medical device and a natural health product that work together to control plaque buildup on teeth. COO Martin Greenwood said the company plans to finish development of the product, gain regulatory approval and begin initial production, all in 2015. Fenol Farm recently won the $100,000 first prize for the Annapolis Valley area in Innovacorp’s I-3 Competition.


Disclaimer: Entrevestor receives financial support from government agencies that support start-up companies in Atlantic Canada. The sponsoring agencies play no role in determining which companies are featured in this column nor do they have the right to review columns before they are published.