Young Innovator Award winner  Mohammed Moin, left, and Synapse CEO Dr. Justin Moores.

Young Innovator Award winner Mohammed Moin, left, and Synapse CEO Dr. Justin Moores.

J. Regis Duffy, one of the pillars of the P.E.I. biotech community, and Mohammed Moin, Co-Founder and CEO of Somru BioScience Inc., are the inaugural winners of Synapse’s new Innovator Awards.

Synapse, the agency that oversees the commercialization of research at the University of Prince Edward Island, announced the award winners last week as part of the university’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

The agency, which oversees  commercialization, technology transfer and industry engagement for the university, released a statement saying it was recognizing “a pioneer and a prodigy” in its first awards, which will be handed out each year.

“We created these awards as both our contribution to the university’s 50th anniversary celebrations and as a lasting legacy,” said Synapse CEO Justin Moores in the statement. “Each year, through an open nomination process, our selection committee will continue recognizing and honouring outstanding individuals whose innovative efforts impact our quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of our society.”

Duffy was awarded the Distinguished Innovator Award in recognition of his lifetime of achievement, including roles as the first dean of science for the university, the founder and president of Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd., and first chairman of the PEI BioAlliance.

In 1970, he founded BioVectra, which manufactures specialty chemicals and active pharmaceutical ingredients for drug-makers around the world. The Charlottetown-based owners sold the company for $100 million in 2013, and it was recently re-sold to a U.S. private equity firm for as much as US$250 million.

UPEI alumnus Moin received the Inspiring Young Innovator Award in recognition of his achievements as the head of Somru BioScience and his prior work with science-based technology companies Accreon and MAXIMUS Canada. Somru is developing a range of products centred around antibody technology for research, diagnostic and clinical applications.

“There are world-class success stories that have stemmed directly from individuals with a past or present connection to UPEI,” said Moores. “As the university’s commercialization office, we have the pleasure of interacting with UPEI innovators every day.”