Posted: May 6, 2014
It was an overnight success, 13 years in the making.
Radient Technologies was incorporated in 2001.
On June 4, 2014, with the grand opening of its new manufacturing plant on Edmonton’s South Side at 4035 101 St, the progression of Radient’s Microwave Assisted Processing (MAP™) from laboratory to full-scale commercial production was complete.
MAP, dreamed up in a lab long ago by scientist Jocelyn Pare, then commercially championed by Radient’s now Chief Technology Officer Steven Splinter, uses a patented microwave system to cause instant, pressure-driven extraction of natural compounds from various bio-masses – a system that’s faster, more environmentally friendly and produces high yields of higher purity compounds compared to its competitors.
Led by the venture capital firms AVAC and Foragen Technologies, Radient’s extraction system has attracted some $14 million in investment in the last 15 months. A recent initial offering as a publicly-traded company was fully subscribed. Foragen’s Armand Lavoie is Radient’s board chair, and AVAC itself has invested $4.7 million in Radient to date as one of its lead early-stage investors.
Using its unique technology, the company currently extracts speciality natural compounds from various plant products such as flax, rosemary and vanilla beans to the specifications of its customers in cosmetics, nutrition and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Already, Radient has 27 employees and will, within 12 months, have 50 to 60 employees. When the new 20,000 sq. ft., $7 million facility is at peak capacity, it should produce a minimum of $20 million of product per year.
Perseverance has underscored the Radient saga. The technology was developed in British Columbia, taken over by a team in Ontario, and then brought to Alberta thanks to the investment interest of AVAC and Foragen.
Yes, financing a company that was just coming out of its prototype stages into full commercial production was a challenge, says Radient CEO and President Denis Taschuk. “But the most anxious moment was commissioning the microwave extractor back in January. It was a leap of faith, firing up the only machine of its kind in the world. Everything worked fine.”
Along the way, partners have included the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, TEC Edmonton, Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development, the University of Alberta, McMaster University, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada and Environment Canada.
TEC Edmonton has long worked with Radient on developing its business side. In fact, CEO Taschuk began his relationship with Radient as TEC Edmonton’s Executive-in-Residence advisor to the company.
Business is never certain, but with the plant now fully operational, Radient’s current and potential future business possibilities have never looked better.
Already, the company is planning to produce its own branded health product in addition to supplying compounds to customers.
Equally intriguing is further research into the technology’s capabilities outside plant extract – i.e. in other industries such as bio-fuels.
Lavoie isn’t showing his hand, but he does say Radient is seeing interesting results in other industrial sectors, “which suggest that the platform has greater applicability than initially anticipated.”