boehringer_logoJune 30, 2016 – Edmonton, AB – The Canadian headquarters of the globally-operated pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim has joined business incubator TEC Edmonton’s group of industry partners to deliver advanced services and resources to Alberta entrepreneurs through the TEC Health Accelerator program.

Led by TEC Edmonton, in partnership with Innovate Calgary, the TEC Health Accelerator is a program  within the TEC Business Development team. Designed to accelerate the growth of Alberta biotechnology companies, the TEC Health Accelerator assists in bridging the gap between Alberta start-up companies, service providers, investors, Alberta Health Services (AHS), potential industry partners and large animal orhealth agriculture companies. By connecting these entities, TEC Health Accelerator brokers major financing, partnership deals, and revenue growth for clients in the healthcare space.

“Forming a strategic partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim, a global leader in healthcare is a natural fit for the TEC Health Accelerator. This new alliance is a valuable addition to our growing network of multi-national industry partners, enabling us to deliver world class services to help grow Alberta-based medical innovation,” said Chris Lumb, CEO of TEC Edmonton. “We aim to support Edmonton’s growing reputation as Canada’s health city, and our partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim means exciting new things for healthcare commercialization.”

Named the number four-ranked incubator in North America by the 2015 University Business Index (UBI), TEC Edmonton has led the TEC Health Accelerator program since September, 2014.

For more information, visit www.tecedmonton.com or contact:

Randy Yatscoff
Executive VP, TEC Edmonton
Phone: (780) 492-5744
Email: randy.yatscoff@www.tecedmonton.com

Jason Ding
Program Director, TEC Health Accelerator
Phone: (780) 803-8677
Email: Jason.Ding@www.tecedmonton.com

 


About Boehringer Ingelheim

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, Boehringer Ingelheim operates globally with 145 affiliates and a total of more than 47,500 employees. The focus of the family-owned company, founded in 1885, is researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing new medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

Social responsibility is an important element of the corporate culture at Boehringer Ingelheim. This includes worldwide involvement in social projects, such as the initiative “Making More Health” and caring for employees. Respect, equal opportunities and reconciling career and family form the foundation of the mutual cooperation. In everything it does, the company focuses on environmental protection and sustainability.

In 2015, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about 14.8 billion euros. R&D expenditure corresponds to 20.3 per cent of its net sales.

The Canadian headquarters of Boehringer Ingelheim was established in 1972 in Montreal, Quebec and is now located in Burlington, Ontario. Boehringer Ingelheim employs approximately 600 people across Canada.

For more information please visit www.boehringer-ingelheim.ca

 

About TEC Edmonton

A unique not-for-profit, TEC Edmonton is a joint venture of the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. TEC Edmonton helps technology entrepreneurs accelerate their growth. In addition to being the commercialization agent for University of Alberta technologies, TEC Edmonton operates Greater Edmonton’s largest accelerator for early stage technology companies, including both university spinoffs and companies from the broader community.

TEC Edmonton provides client services in four broad areas: Business development, funding and finance, technology commercialization and entrepreneur development.

TEC Edmonton’s clients are an outstanding group of companies. Since 2011, TEC Edmonton clients have generated $680M in revenue, raised $354M in financing and funding, invested $204M in R&D, grown employment by 21-26% per year and now employ over 2326 people in the region. In addition, TEC Edmonton has assisted in the creation of 22 spinoffs from the University in the last five years.

In 2015, TEC Edmonton was identified by the Swedish University Business Incubator (UBI) Index as the 4th best university business incubator in North America, and was also named Canadian “Incubator of the Year” at the 2014 Startup Canada Awards.

For more information, visit www.tecedmonton.com.

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A prime downtown Edmonton storefront location, which has lain fallow for many months, will soon burst into life.

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The Honourable Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

On Monday, June 27, 2016, with Alberta’s Minister of Economic Development Deron Bilous in attendance, TEC Edmonton CEO Chris Lumb announced the launch of TEC Edmonton’s “accelerator space” on the ground floor of Enterprise Square, looking out onto the northeast corner of Jasper Avenue and 103 Street.

On the fourth floor of the same building, TEC Edmonton oversees the TEC Centre, where young innovative companies can set up shop in an entrepreneur-friendly environment at reasonable rents, and at the same time have access to TEC Edmonton’s considerable educational, business advisory and technology management expertise.

TEC Edmonton is a joint venture owned by the City of Edmonton and the University of Alberta. It’s a business incubator and accelerator specifically designed to meet the needs of innovative companies created to commercialize new technologies, whether they come out of the University of Alberta or come from the community at large.

The main floor space will also be a home for “startup” companies, but with a qualitative difference.

Sponsored by large Edmonton-based companies looking to both give back to the community and further develop their own product development, this accelerator space will be a partnership.

Rather than creating a product that the inventor hopes will be valued in the marketplace, the accelerator will be a forum for practical mentorship.

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Large company executives will be guiding entrepreneurs in the creation of processes, services and products that could be of immediate and serious interest to the industry in question.

The large-company mentors will offer advice on what is of practical use to their industries. Several large companies with significant presence in Alberta have signed up as sponsors of the TEC accelerator space and will soon be announced.

The large companies will be seriously partnering with TEC Edmonton, jointly assessing and choosing startup companies to be both sponsored and housed in the accelerator space, being co-mentors with TEC Edmonton’s Executives-in-Residence to these adventuresome entrepreneurs.

“Alberta’s innovation system is showing great progress,” said Lumb. “There’s always room for improvement, but a systemic approach to encouraging innovation is fast emerging. The accelerator space is another example of industry, government and economic development agencies cooperating to nurture companies that will diversify Alberta’s economy.”

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TevosolLogoEDMONTON, AB–(Marketwired – June 29, 2016) – Medical device company Tevosol is one step closer to improving the lives of patients awaiting organ transplants after securing $2 million in financing. This TEC Edmonton client and University of Alberta spinoff company has designed a medical device that keeps critical organs such as hearts and lungs viable for transplant longer.

“Our multi-organ capable perfusion device has demonstrated laboratory safety and efficacy. This raise will allow us to work towards commercialization and dissemination of this technology that has the potential to vastly increase the number and quality of organs that are available for transplanting,” states Dr. Freed, Tevosol President and Chief Scientific Officer.

The current method for heart and lung preservation, known as cold static storage, results in progressive tissue damage and gives the organ a short six-hour window of opportunity for organ viability. Tevosol’s unique innovation keeps the organ warm and supplied with oxygen as if it is still in the body, and extends its “ex-vivo” (out of body) life. The device resuscitates organs deemed unsuitable and allows assessment of transplant suitability which has the potential to double or triple the number of available donor organs worldwide.

The initial seed funding will be used in two ways: to further develop the device prototype for clinical use, and to begin a lung transplant trial at the University of Alberta.

“We are thrilled that Tevosol has the resources to move forward,” says TEC Edmonton CEO Chris Lumb. “It’s been a privilege for TEC Edmonton to assist Tevosol in growing into a sustainable business that will make a difference for both patients and the healthcare community.”

“We appreciate the assistance TEC Edmonton has provided with market research and business planning and now, with the confidence and financial support of our investors, we look forward to bringing this life-saving technology closer to market,” states Kevin Ens, CEO of Tevosol.

Tevosol has been a TEC Edmonton client since the beginning of the company’s original business plan in 2014. TEC’s business development services accelerated Tevosol’s growth into an independent company through assistance with market assessment, incorporation, business planning, patenting, and intellectual property (IP) protection and the regulatory approval process.

About Tevosol:

Tevosol, Inc. is a medical device company developing the Ex-Vivo Organ Support System (EVOSS™) with the goal of increasing the number of organs available for transplantation. EVOSS™ is a portable warm perfusion device intended to achieve better recovery of organs, better resuscitation of dysfunctional organs, and longer preservation of function with the opportunity for ex-vivo treatment and evaluation. The system consists of a common hardware platform with organ-specific single-use disposable cassettes for lungs, hearts, livers and kidneys.

About TEC Edmonton:

A unique not-for-profit, TEC Edmonton is a joint venture of the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. TEC Edmonton helps technology entrepreneurs accelerate their growth. In addition to being the commercialization agent for University of Alberta technologies, TEC Edmonton operates Greater Edmonton’s largest accelerator for early stage technology companies, including both university spinoffs and companies from the broader community.

TEC Edmonton provides client services in four broad areas: Business development, funding and finance, technology commercialization and entrepreneur development.

TEC Edmonton’s clients are an outstanding group of companies. Since 2011, TEC Edmonton clients have generated $680M in revenue, raised $354M in financing and funding, invested $204M in R&D, grown employment by 21-26% per year and now employ over 2326 people in the region. In addition, TEC Edmonton has assisted in the creation of 22 spinoffs from the University in the last five years.

In 2015, TEC Edmonton was identified by the Swedish University Business Incubator (UBI) Index as the 4th best university business incubator in North America, and was also named Canadian “Incubator of the Year” at the 2014 StartUp Canada Awards.

For more information, visit www.tecedmonton.com.

It’s been a long time coming, supporters say, but the removal of barriers, along with investor incentives to encourage “crowd funding” will soon be forthcoming from the provincial government and the Alberta Securities Commission.

“Crowd funding” is a means by which small start-up companies can raise investment capital through online websites. Young companies can tout their investment potential to thousands of potential small-amount investors.

Currently new Alberta companies face arduous and expensive regulatory processes before being allowed to sell company shares to the general public.

To some, the encouragement of crowd funding is tremendously exciting news.

donpare

Edmonton entrepreneur Don Pare

Successful Alberta high-tech entrepreneur and business mentor Don Pare has been preaching the gospel of crowd-funding in this province for years. Crowd funding, says Pare, can’t come soon enough.

So far, crowd funding in other parts of Canada has mostly been confined to consumer-based companies – promising “rewards” such as new products to those making the initial online investment.

Pare is convinced crowd funding will become the new normal – the primary way in which young companies can raise investment capital directly from the public without the need for a cumbersome regulatory authority and without the services of stockbrokers. Such websites are – like Uber and AirBnB – usually self-regulating through online commentary.

If government creates incentives for investors (i.e. tax credits) to take a flyer on Alberta companies looking to raise money online, Pare thinks crowd funding will accelerate at an even faster rate.

But at the same time, Canadian angel investor groups –  wealthy individuals banding together to make investments in high-risk startup companies – are lining up against the very idea of crowd funding.

The problem, TEC Venture Angels’ director Randy Thompson says, is maintaining investors’ interest beyond the first “baby step” of crowd-funding.

“Crowd funding fills the school bus with kids,” says Randy. “If you have 1,000 unsophisticated shareholders owning a start-up company, you’re scaring off the next round of investors, i.e. angel investors and venture capital funds. Sophisticated angel investors and venture capital funds will not deal with that school bus full of shareholders, not at that stage of the game.”

If anything, Thompson suggests, the focus in Canada should shift from the raising of money by small companies to concentrating on what’s best for the investor.

“After 10 years, angel investors in 32 groups across Canada are restless. They haven’t seen much return on start-up company investments. Most angel investors haven’t had exits (selling companies at a profit) that they’d be proud of.

“For those of using encouraging angel investment, our primary obligation is not to the startup entrepreneurs but to the angel investor – to earn them a rate of return in line with the investment risk.”

To that end, TEC Venture Angels is the first angel group in Canada to create an internal mergers and acquisitions group – helping entrepreneurs in whom investments have been made to sell their companies in order to create a return for patient angel shareholders.

Pare, on the other hand, is utterly convinced that crowd-funding, in the context of a supportive business eco-system, is the way to go.

He is urging the Alberta government to consider the Chilean model, where, based on a report card system, government picks 300 new start-ups in every quarter of the calendar year, providing each start-up company with a $50,000 grant to build a product prototype, devise a business strategy, then proceed to a crowd-funding platform with a credible product ready for commercialization.

Four batches of 300 start-up companies a year, at $50,000 each, would cost the public purse $60 million a year.

“It’s something Alberta has to do,” Pare argues. “The oil price drop has been a good warning, a hot across our bow. We have to move as fast as possible to grow new businesses not dependent on fossil fuel.”

CanBiocinTEC Centre tenant CanBiocin –  developing species-specific probiotic dog food – tried the crowd-funding route this past spring.

CanBiocin invited small investors to participate on both ATB Financial’s Alberta BoostR fund-raising website and on the international Kickstarter crowd-funding site.

jake

CanBiocin CEO Jake Burlet

“We worked hard at it, did all the right things, we offered a suite of awards to investors, but we didn’t succeed financially,” says CanBiocin CEO Jake Burlet. “On both platforms, if a company doesn’t not raise a pre-determined goal within a pre-determined time frame, all money is returned to investors.

“What we did have,” Jake says,” was unintended positive consequences. Being on Kickstarter, our product came to the attention of an American businessman who specializes in bring new pet food products to market. He’s now a useful and credible contact, helping us enter the American market.

“And for an extremely modest amount of capital, we gained a great deal of market intelligence and information about interest in our product, without paying six-figure marketing consultant fees. We have learned a great deal about what not to do, about re-positioning our product.

“The experience was extremely useful,” says Jake. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Crowd funding is legitimate.”

While TEC Venture Angels director Thompson is high skeptical, he still can put his criticisms in perspective.

“Twenty years ago, venture capital investors were extremely critical of angel investors,” Randy shrugs. “There were too many involved with each company, they over-valued the companies they invested in, they thought they were know-it-alls … which is pretty well what angel investors today think of crowd-funding!”

MTI Logos high - no backgroundThere were fist bumps and high-fives around Metabolomic Technologies Inc’s (MTI) office, and by early May, 2016, all was official and announced.

MTI had made its first major sale. The long-time TEC Edmonton client has signed a multi-million-dollar licensing and distribution agreement with Pennsylvania-based Atlantic Diagnostic Laboratories (ADL).

ADL will be selling MTI’s PolypDx™ diagnostic test to detect pre-cancerous polyps in the colon – before they become cancerous through urine analysis in 12 eastern American states. Its laboratories will also analyze and report the results to customers.

There are so many firsts.

The University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has long been a leader in the application of the metabolomics field to medical diagnostics, identifying and analyzing markers in body fluids – particularly urine – to detect medical conditions in the body.

Researcher Dr. David Wishart led the international Human Metabolome Project, identifying and categorizing all known metabolomes in human tissues and fluids. The final database has identified some 8,500 metabolites.

PolypDx™ is one of the first commercial, practical applications of metabolomics knowledge to detect abnormal conditions within the human body, specifically to indicate the presence of pre-cancerous polyps in the intestine. The earlier such polyps can be identified, the quicker they can be removed before they become cancerous.

At the University of Alberta, gastroenterologist Dr. Richard Fedorak, (currently interim dean of the University’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry) and his research team began to search for metabolomic patterns from urine that might be an indicator of the presence of polyps in the colon.

Once the results became promising, TEC Edmonton assisted in applying for international, American and Canadian patents. TEC Edmonton’s business advisors have worked closely with MTI in developing its business affairs since Metabolomic Technologies Inc. was incorporated on May 6, 2010.

MTI’s on-going research and field testing has been an all-Alberta collaboration.

Alberta Health Services, the province’s fully-integrated health system delivering health services to over four million Albertans, assisted MTI with clinical field trials and clinical protocols. The trials were associated with the Edmonton Colon Cancer Screening Program.

DynaLIFE Dx, delivering most medical lab services for Alberta Health Services’ operation in Edmonton and Northern Alberta, worked closely with MTI in adapting the unique urine metabolomics test so it could run quickly and efficiently on standard laboratory testing equipment.

A commercial cloud-based system to remotely evaluate the test was developed by MTI and Edmonton-based software development firm Spieker Point.

MTI’s original angel investors were drawn from Alberta. Funding and research grants came from both Alberta provincial agencies and the Canadian government.

In addition, MTI are currently working  the Chinese genomics institute BGI to do trials of PolypDx™ in China to expand into the Chinese market.

David Chang, MTI’s VP for Research and Operations, believes the licensing of PolypDx™ to Atlantic Diagnostic Laboratories is just the beginning.

“There were 157,000 new cases of colon cancer in 2015 in North America alone,” he says. “Our test is very easy – a urine sample – compared to standard patient-administered fecal tests that, due to their nature, are often  incorrectly collected.”

The accuracy of PolypDx™ testing also dramatically reduces the need for “preventive” colonoscopies. Unless the PolypDx™ test indicates the presence of polyps, there’s no need for the invasive, awkward and time-consuming procedure as a preventive measure.

Dr. Fedorak can barely contain his excitement about MTI’s metabolomic analysis potential.  The company is working on licensing and distribution deals for other parts of the United States, Europe and China. “Colon cancer metabolomics screening could become a standard procedure around the globe, making huge inroads into colon cancer detection before it’s too late,” says Dr. Fedorak.

A new horizon is dawning for metabolomic pattern detections to indicate the presence of other cancers.

“We’re getting close on developing metabolomics tests for the detection of early breast and prostate cancer,” says Dr. Fedorak, “both in our own labs and in association with other metabolomics researchers.”

TEC client and University of Alberta spin-off company VaxAlta recently announced the publication of their research in the May 25, 2016 issue of Nature Scientific Reports. Jason Ding, Acting CFO of VaxAlta, is also an Executive-in-Residence of TEC and the Director of the TEC Health Accelerator program.

Full Press Release:

VaxAlta Inc. Announces Publication of Research on Campylobacterjejuni chicken vaccine in Nature Scientific Reports

EDMONTON, (June 6, 2016) – VaxAlta Inc. (“VaxAlta”) reported today that Dr. Christine Szymanski and her colleagues at the University of Alberta together with Delta Genomics in Edmonton, Canada published the results of their work testing a glycoconjugate vaccine in chickens and examining the population shifts of the poultry microbiota. The paper, entitled “Engineering the Campylobacter jejuni N-glycan to create an effective chicken vaccine” appeared online in the May 25, 2016 issue of Nature Scientific Reports.

Vaccination of chickens with a protein-based or E. coli displayed glycoconjugate showed up to 10-log reduction in C. jejuni colonization and induced N-glycan specific IgY responses.  Also, the live E. coli vaccine was cleared prior to C. jejuni challenge and no selection for resistant campylobacter variants was observed. Analyses of the chicken gut microbiota revealed that the live vaccine did not alter the composition or complexity of the bacterial populations, thus providing an effective and low-cost strategy to reduce C. jejuni in chickens and its subsequent entry into the food chain.

“The results of Dr. Szymanski’s work demonstrates that glycoconjugate vaccines can be effectively used to reduce, or potentially eliminate, bacterial pathogens that impact animal health and human food safety,” said Jason Ding, Acting CFO of VaxAlta, a leading vaccine research and development company based in Edmonton. “Our collaborators and supporters were critical to the success of this work, and we want to thank Delta Genomics, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) for their support.”

Contacts

Jason Ding, Acting CFO
VaxAlta Inc.
jding@h2tc.ca

 

About VaxAlta Inc.

VaxAlta is a leading glycoconjugate vaccine research and development company based in Edmonton, Alberta. Founded in 2013, the company is focused on developing sugar-based, effective, affordable, and easy to administer livestock vaccines that eliminate the use of antibiotics.

For more information, please visit www.vaxalta.com

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