Press Release: Harper Government Supports High-Tech Exporting Opportunities
July 30, 2015 – Edmonton, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada
Today, the Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Multiculturalism (pictured above), on behalf of the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced an investment for TEC Edmonton to assist high-tech small- and medium-sized enterprises to enter the Latin American market.
Federal funding of $1.2 million, through the Western Diversification Program (WDP), will enhance the capacity of TEC Edmonton to provide businesses with exporting tools and strategies, enhanced networks in target markets, and the intellectual property protection needed to export their innovative technologies internationally.
TEC Edmonton will work with companies to export new technologies in the health, ICT and agricultural sectors to Brazil and Mexico. These Latin American nations are considered growing markets for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, IT and mobile services, biotech, and the agri-food industry.
TEC Edmonton is a not-for-profit joint venture of the University of Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. TEC Edmonton is an award-winning business accelerator that works with start-ups, researchers and entrepreneurs from the Edmonton and northern Alberta regions.
The Government of Canada, through its Global Markets Action Plan, has identified Latin America, specifically Brazil and Mexico, as emerging markets with opportunities for Canadian companies.
The Government of Canada has made opening markets for Canadian businesses through trade agreements a priority.
Economic Action Plan 2015 provides $152 million in trade promotion investments over the next five years to help Canadian businesses fully capitalize on global opportunities.
“Western Canadian businesses have the potential and expertise to compete on the international stage. Our Government is proud to partner with TEC Edmonton in supporting high-tech companies as they seek to expand into new markets.”
– The Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Multiculturalism
“This investment in TEC Edmonton will help Alberta entrepreneurs launch their products in Latin America, a market of more than 500 million people and a huge opportunity for Canadian business. The program will create a network of local expertise, business partners and technical support in Latin America. Helping innovators achieve success in that market will be a key part of Alberta’s future economic diversification”
– Dr. Chris Diaper, Director of Strategic Partnerships, TEC Edmonton
WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378) Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-877-303-3388 Website: WD is online at www.wd-deo.gc.ca.
As the company ramps up, Exciton’s wound-management technology is attracting attention as an innovative way to reduce pain and promote healing. Direct marketing, clinical research and the signings of major license and distribution agreements have caught everyone’s attention.
Exciton’s bandages and wound coverings, with a unique silver ingredient (Ag. Oxysalts) and a proprietary line of exsalt® wound care products, are now being discovered by the global medical community.
After years of struggling, Exciton did $1.3 million in sales last year. President and Founder Rod Precht is on track to gross $2.5 to $3 million in 2015.
The company has grown from two employees in 2008 to 20 today. It manufactured and shipped 15,000 wound dressings a month in 2014. By the end of 2015, that figure will jump to 50,000 wound dressings a month.
“I can’t say enough about how TEC hung in with Exciton,” says Rod. “We’ve been under the TEC umbrella for many years. TEC helped us find investors, provided strategic direction, mentoring and the TEC Centre space complete with labs and the flexibility to expand. Now TEC is helping us with marketing strategies for the company as a whole.”
“It’s been a survival story,” grins Precht. “We knew we had the product, with one of the best antibacterial performances at 30-to-50% less cost than the competition.
“It took a lot of time and trial and error to find the right mix – to concentrate on manufacturing and research & development, to let our distributors (Crawford Healthcare overseas and in the USA, Cardinal Health in Canada) handle marketing and sales.”
Precht’s entrepreneurial spirit grows stronger with time. He’s convinced, through internal and external research that harnessing the active ingredients in Exciton’s Oxysalts will provide medical benefits beyond wound dressings, that those “active ingredients” could one day be classed as a drug.
“My dream,” he says, “is to have $87 million in revenues within five years.”
TEC Edmonton’s Technology Management team offers expert advice on intellectual property matters which often lead to new patents, licensing agreements and company spin-offs.
Tapered Waveguide Coupler and Spectrometer U.S. Patent No. 8,977,086 issued March 10th 2015
Dr. Raymond DeCorby of the University of Alberta’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering received an issued U.S. patent describing a method of forming a tapered hollow waveguide by stacking multiple light guiding layers.
These tapered hollow waveguides have potential use as an optical coupler or spectrometer for lab-on-chip applications, optofluidic microsystems or any nanoscale optical network with applications in medical diagnostics, nanoscale sensing, and computing among others.
July 9, 2015 – Edmonton, AB – A natural health product to alleviate the symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease is one step closer, thanks to an agreement between TEC Edmonton, The University of Alberta, IGY Inc. and Vetanda Group Ltd.
Researchers from the University of Alberta and IGY Incorporated have been developing immune powered eggs. For baby chicks to fight off diseases, mother hens produce natural antibodies known as immunoglobulin yolk. For more than 10 years, Dr. Hoon Sunwoo (Associate Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Dr. Jeong Sim (retired Professor, Faculty of Agriculture), have studied how immunoglobulin yolk in eggs could be modulated to detect and neutralize harmful agents in humans.
In collaboration with IGY, the University of Alberta researchers developed egg yolk antibodies targeted at wheat proteins. Anti-gluten immunoglobulin yolk antibodies bind to problematic wheat proteins, rendering them harmless to those with celiac disease.
Through years of research and development, IGY Incorporated has developed a food supplement to relieve symptoms of gluten intolerance. Parts of this research have been supported by grants provided by Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education.
Vetanda Group Limited, based in England, has invested more than $2.5 million to further this research. Through TEC Edmonton, Vetanda has acquired the Intellectual Property (IP) and the exclusive license from the University of Alberta and IGY Inc.
A Canadian human safety trial has now been completed. An efficacy trial is underway to test the natural health product’s ability to reduce gluten-intolerance and possibly eliminate celiac disease symptoms in those following a gluten-free diet.
“It is important to move research from being merely an academic exercise to something that will better the lives of Albertans. The partnership between the University of Alberta and private industry demonstrates the strength of these relationships,” said Gary Villetard, President of IGY Incorporated. “This is the first of many products we hope to develop for Vetanda to take to market.”
“The University of Alberta is home to world class researchers in the fields of immunology, biotechnology and food science,” said Jay Kumar, Vice President of Technology Management at TEC Edmonton. “The investment by Vetanda, based in England, demonstrates that the world is watching.”
“This collaboration gives us the opportunity to change the lives of those suffering with a debilitating auto-immune condition,” says Vetanda Group Communications Director Claire Perry. “Our ground breaking new health product has the potential to offer more dietary freedom and, overall, a much better quality of life for gluten-intolerant individuals. The product could be available to celiac-suffers in Canada within three years, paving the way for testing and product approval in the United States and Europe.”
Studies suggest that one to three per cent of the world’s population has some form of gluten intolerance.
TEC Edmonton helps tech entrepreneurs accelerate their growth and is the commercialization agent for the University of Alberta technologies. TEC’s ~125 active clients are an outstanding group of companies. Since 2011, TEC clients have generated $310M in revenue, raised $160M in financing and funding, invested $85M in R&D, grown both revenue and employment by 25% per year and now employ over 1800 people in the region. In addition, TEC has assisted in the creation of 14 spinoffs from the University in the last three years.
Vetanda Group Limited, based in London, is dedicated to improving the lives of those with specific health needs. With a rare combination of technical, commercial and IP capabilities, the company is able to identify promising new product opportunities based on good quality science from centres of excellence around the world. Vetanda acquired research and commercial rights from the University of Alberta and IGY Incorporated in 2014 and is developing a product portfolio aimed initially at various forms of gluten sensitivity.
Such metrics, he argued, gives governments and stakeholders an objective data-based assessment of the performance of an incubator/accelerator through the performance of the clients in areas that incubators/accelerators are meant to drive – notably revenue growth, external financing and job creation.
“The outcomes dashboard provided by TEC Edmonton is a great example of how this might be addressed,” he went on to say. “The organization provides annual data on incremental job creation, revenue generation and follow-on investment attraction recorded by their clients.
“This isn’t just about satisfying the demands of funders; it’s about putting accountability measures in place to ensure that the young firms and entrepreneurs who use these services are going to get good value for their participation and investment.”
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