Chinova is a new startup that is developing applications for chitosan – Mycodev’s main product – and using the compound as an anti-microbial agent. Chinova is now working with a major beverage company to test the product in preserving the shelf-life of premium juices.
The company put out a press release Monday saying it began at the IndieBio accelerator on May 3. All participants in the three-month program receive a US$100,000 investment from the Princeton, NJ,-based venture capital firm SOSV, which hosts the life sciences accelerator.
“IndieBio is an incredible opportunity to develop our technology rapidly and effectively,” said Chinova CEO Natasha Dhayagude in a statement. “We hope by the end of this program to get our first product into the hands of beverage companies who see the value of our technology to extend the natural shelf-life of premium juices.”
A fellow with Ventures for Canada, Dhayagude previously worked as the Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator at Planet Hatch in Fredericton.
During the program, Chinova will have access to leading business mentors and scientists who specialize in biotechnology and end with a demo-day pitch to potential investors and corporations. The program takes place in the European biotechnology hub of Cork, Ireland at the University College Cork.
Mycodev started three years ago to develop a radical new method of producing high-quality chitosan – a material that has numerous commercial applications, especially in life sciences. The higher quality chitosan – which can cost thousands of dollars per kilogram -- is usually associated with medical applications, and this is the segment that Mycodev has targeted.
Though the biopolymer is usually extracted from the discarded shells of shellfish, Sisk and his co-founders CTO David Brown and Chief Engineer Peter Dean set out to extract chitosan from a species of fungus. It avoids the use of harsh chemicals need in the crustacean-based processes and produces chitosan of a high purity with its own special composition.
Mycodev received $500,000 in funding from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation last May, and said at the other time it was working with other startups to open up new markets for chitosan. The company last week won a Kira Award for developing New Brunswick’s most innovative product last year.
Chinova is majority owned by Mycodev and headed by Dhayagude, CTO Emanuel Dinis, and COO David Brown.