MONCTON, N.B. – Atlantic Canada’s life sciences researchers and entrepreneurs welcomed potential business and research partners from around the world participating in a series of inbound missions to showcase the region.
© Ryan Quigley/Journal Pioneer
Mark Fast, Novartis research chair in fish health, and an employee at the UPEI Veterinary College, stands outside the newly expanded research facility at the Aqua Health division of Novartis Animal Health in Victoria.
The mission was made possible through assistance from the government of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces.
Since August, foreign buyers and researchers from North and South America, Asia, and Europe visited Atlantic Canadian companies for one-on-one business meetings, site tours, educational sessions and networking receptions.
Bringing pre-qualified business and research contacts to Atlantic Canada allows the region’s life sciences sector to demonstrate its capabilities and helps to develop relationships, research partnerships, and new business for the region.
These visits helped form partnerships that can lead to new product development, licensing agreements for intellectual property, research and development projects and increased export sales. The programs were tailored for each province’s life science cluster, and designed to help companies advance their individual goals and attract investment to the region.
Atlantic Canada is home to over 100 life sciences companies and 25 research organizations, with over $300 million in annual private sector revenues. Sector innovation has led to growth in a number of other key industries in the region, including marine sciences and health care.
The life sciences industry is made up of companies that create products that impact human and animal health, apply biology to create new products used in everyday life, and converge biotechnology and other technologies to develop next-generation solutions for quality of life. This includes companies working in pharmaceuticals and vaccines, medical technologies, natural health products and nutraceutical, bio information technology and bioproducts, as well as research organizations, service providers and other supporters.
Collectively, companies that participated in the 2012 incoming missions reported immediate sales of about $1.6 million, and anticipated sales of $3.7 million in the year following the visits.
The federal government and the four Atlantic provinces invested nearly $90,000 in the incoming missions through the Canada-Atlantic Provinces Agreement on International Business Development. The IBDA is a key component of a pan-Atlantic effort to foster business relations, attract foreign investment and nurture technological co-operation.
Prince Edward Island life sciences mission participants included the National Research Council, Novartis Animal Health, Bio|Food|Tech, and Neurodyn. Their activities were co-ordinated through P.E.I. BioAlliance.
Background on P.E.I. companies involved in the life sciences missions to Atlantic Canada:
National Research Council: In Charlottetown, the NRC works directly with small to large Canadian companies to realize technological advances with aquatic and crop resources destined for natural health products, foods and beverages, fibers, bioenergy, bioremediation, bio-based chemicals and other bioproduct sectors.
Novartis Animal Health: Novartis’ Charlottetown location researches, develops and manufactures vaccines for the aquaculture industry. Novartis Animal Health is a leader in developing new and better ways to prevent and treat diseases in pets, farm animals and farmed fish. The company’s innovative medicines contribute to the quality of life, health and welfare of animals around the world.
Bio|Food|Tech: Based in Charlottetown, Bio|Food|Tech is a contract research, processing and analytical services company that provides many specialized services to companies and entrepreneurs in the food and bioprocessing sectors. The company’s professional team is made up of food and bioprocessing scientists, microbiologists, technologists and support staff.
Neurodyn: Located in Charlottetown, Neurodyn identifies, validates, and develops bioactives (compounds that have an effect on living tissue) for neuroprotection and the early treatment of neurological diseases. Neurodyn identifies bioactive compounds within historically-proven natural treatments with the goal of validating therapeutic candidates and ultimately developing treatments for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS and chronic nerve pain.