David Brown, the Chief Operations Officer of Fredericton biotech company Chinova Bioworks, has been named one of six recipients of the 2017 Governor General’s Innovation Awards.
Governor General David Johnston announced the recipients in Ottawa on Friday. Two Haligonians, Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Patrick McGrath, also shared an award for creating the Strongest Families Institute.
The winners were chosen for these prestigious awards by the Governor General and a selection committee comprising people with expertise in Canada’s innovation ecosystem. They will receive the awards at a reception May 23 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. The next day, the Public Policy Forum of Canada is hosting a panel discussion on innovation in Canada.
“David is a passionate and energetic scientist with a long list of innovations,” said a statement from Chinova. “His accomplishments include winning the iGEM championships at MIT in 2013, co-founding the biotechnology company Mycodev Group, co-founding the foodtech company Tudo, and recently co-founding the biotech company Chinova Bioworks. He has received patents for his inventions, authored scientific journal papers, and won multiple awards for innovation and startups.”
Brown’s most recent startup is Chinova Bioworks. Chinova is using chitosan — Mycodev’s main product —as the foundation for an anti-microbial agent, which it employs as a natural preservative in such foods as juices. Chitosan is a compound traditionally sourced from the shells of crustaceans with a range of uses, most often associated with pharmaceutical or biotech industries.
Chinova has been gaining attention beyond New Brunswick lately. Last month, the company was accepted into the first cohort of Terra, a Silicon Valley food and agtech accelerator, and last year it attended IndieBio, an accelerator for life sciences startups in Ireland.
The statement said Brown considered research and development of natural preservative ingredients to be important work, given the health implications of excessive synthetic preservatives in foods, beverages and cosmetics.
“David’s passion for innovation is driven by his aspirations of making an impact on society through biotechnology and entrepreneurship,” said the statement.
The Strongest Families Institute is a non-profit organization that delivers evidence-based programs to children, youth and families through a unique distance-delivery system. Using proprietary software technology, trained coaches are able to connect with users by phone or via the Internet, thus allowing families greater flexibility when accessing services. Programs address common mental health and other issues impacting health and wellbeing.