BioNova Announces MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies as the Winner of the BioInnovation Challenge

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October 26, 2016

BioNova Announces MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies as the Winner of the BioInnovation Challenge

(Halifax, NS – October 26, 2016) — They invented, they pitched, and they conquered. MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies from Nova Scotia was named winner of the sixth annual BioInnovation Challenge at BioPort 2016. The company’s ParaGlide technology, was deemed the most attractive for investment by a panel of judges dubbed The Commercialization Council and the conference audience. The ParaGlide device revolutionizes the way people are repositioned in wheelchairs in homes, hospitals and care facilities around the world. With ParaGlide, a wheelchair user can move freely from a slouched position to an upright position with the touch of a button – safely, independently and with dignity – while eliminating risk of injury to caregivers.

“Winning the BioInnovation has validated that we have a product that is meeting an unmet need in the market. We are happy that the judges and conference audience saw as much value in our product as we do. The prize package will be a tremendous help in tying up loose ends and answering our unanswered questions in the next few months as we get ready for market in 2017,” said Matthew MacKenzie, CEO of MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies.

MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies will receive a prize package that includes $15,000 in seed funding and an advisory services package worth more than $30,000 including services provided by Cox & Palmer, Jennifer Cameron PR, JLT Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sandler Training and Grant Thornton. MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies was up against NovaResp Technologies Inc. of Nova Scotia and SomaDetect Inc. of New Brunswick

With evaluation criteria, such as adaptability, market pull and consumer readiness, MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies’ edged the competition with higher marks from the judges and conference audience.

“We received a record number of applications this year for the BioInnovation Challenge and the quality was superb, there is a lot of exciting innovation happening in the sector right now,” said Scott Moffitt, managing director of BioNova. “All three companies deserve the win, but there can only be one and MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies came out on top and I wish them every success moving forward.”

The BioInnovation Challenge was created by BioNova, Nova Scotia’s life sciences industry association and several partners to help ease the transition from research laboratory to market. BioNova has worked with its sister organizations BioNB and PEI BioAlliance for the last number of years to open the competition to companies from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

This year, Daniel Boyd, the inaugural winner of BIC in 2011 sat on the Commercialization Council, “it’s exciting to be sitting on the other side of the table.  The BioInnovation Challenge was a great help in the early stages of ABK Biomedical and I wish MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies every success as they move forward.”

The Commercialization Council:

Jennifer Hamilton – Senior Director, Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Daniel Boyd – Associate Professor, Dalhousie University
Chris Cowper-Smith – CEO, Spring Loaded Technology
Bill Power – R & D and Government Incentives Practice Leader, Grant Thornton


Media Contact:

Jessica Gillis, Communications Officer
(902) 237-8608

BioPort Atlantic 2016 Kicks Off Today

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News Release:  BioPort Atlantic 2016 Kicks Off Today

(Halifax, NS — October 25, 2016) – The opening reception for BioPort Atlantic 2016, where Atlantic Canada’s leaders in life sciences meet, kicks off tonight.  The full conference agenda unfolds tomorrow, October 26, 2016, at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel.  Hosted by BioNova, the annual conference connects companies, entrepreneurs, researchers and investors in one room to discuss the hot topics and trends in the life sciences industry and aims to create new business relationships.

“BioPort continues to grow and evolve based on the needs of the sector and we are excited to be hosting BioPort again, for its 15th year. The conference is designed to help businesses make connections and overcome their challenges, ultimately advancing the sector and adding economic value to the region,” said Scott Moffitt, managing director of BioNova.

On Wednesday, October 26, 2015, Peter Hogan, Vice President of the Atlantic Canada’s Opportunity Agency, Nova Scotia will offer words of welcome.  Dr. Abdullah Kirumira, Founding Chair and Technical Director of BioMedica Diagnostics and the honorary conference chair, will give the opening address.

The keynote luncheon speaker will be Dr. Pravin Chaturvedi, President and CEO of Pivot Pharmaceuticals.  Dr. Chaturvedi is a self-proclaimed Agent Provocateur who encourages people to challenge the way they look at and conduct enterprise development.  He will give his take on the balancing acts and realities within the life sciences and gain insight from successes via his talk: “The Family Feud: Entrepreneurs vs Investors in Building Life Science Enterprises”

In Atlantic Canada, the commercial life sciences cluster employs thousands of people, generating over $500 million in sales revenue each year.  There are more than 500 made-in-Atlantic Canada products competing in the global marketplace, with more than $78 million invested for future product development.

With a goal of furthering the region’s bioeconomy, the conference will address the adoption of innovation as an economic and healthcare driver, representatives from each province will address the opportunities for programs and initiatives available to support life sciences companies, and the opportunities for Atlantic Canadian Companies in Digital Health.

The complete conference schedule, can be found at



Jessica Gillis, Communications Officer
(902) 237-8608


About BioNova
BioNova is the industry association leading the advancement of the life sciences sector in Nova Scotia. BioNova leads and supports its members as we build a successful, self-sustaining life sciences industry in Nova Scotia. By promoting the industry and its successes, building relationships both inside and outside the province and creating networking and educational opportunities BioNova aims to accelerate the commercialization success of Nova Scotia’s life sciences businesses and organizations. To learn more about BioNova and its members visit


About BioPort Atlantic
BioPort Atlantic provides a forum to educate, inform and inspire the life sciences community to develop their ideas, commercialize their technologies and build links within the region and with guests brought in from the U.S. and from around the world. For more information visit


BioPort RT and Win Contest

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Are you a Student with an interest in the life sciences sector? Do you want the chance to attend BioPort Atlantic for Free? It’s easy! Simply visit our twitter page @BioNovaNS, follow us and RT our contest tweet.

The winner will receive one free registration to the entire BioPort Conference valued at $120.

This contest will be open to University Students in the Atlantic Provinces.
*Proof of student status will be required

Contest closes Wednesday, October 19 at 11:59 AST.

BioPort Atlantic is October 25-26 in Halifax, NS.


BioPort Keynote Speaker Announced!

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dr-pravin-chaturvediDr. Pravin Chaturvedi, a serial entrepreneur and current President and CEO of Boston and Vancouver based Pivot Pharmaceuticals will be this year’s conference keynote.

Dr. Chaturvedi is a self-proclaimed Agent Provocateur who encourages people to challenge the way they look at and conduct enterprise development.  Hear his take on the balancing acts and realities within the life sciences and gain insight from successes via his talk: “The Family Feud: Entrepreneurs vs Investors in Building Life Science Enterprises”

This is an opportunity to hear from someone who has successfully built a number of ventures within one of the largest target markets for Atlantic Canadian companies, and speaks directly to our conference theme of INNOVATE – INSPIRE – INVEST.

Dr. Chaturvedi is a regular event speaker, having presented at a number of industry events as well as to academic institutions, including Harvard University.


Dr. Chaturvedi was the founder of Boston-based IndUS Pharmaceuticals, which was recently acquired by Pivot. He is also the co-founder of Florida-based Oceanyx Pharmaceuticals. He remains an advisor to San Francisco-based Napo Pharmaceuticals, where he was the President and Chief Scientific Officer. Prior to his tenures at Pivot, IndUS, and Napo, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Boston-based Scion Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Wyeth (now Pfizer).

Dr. Chaturvedi serves on the boards of Pivot, Oceanyx, Sindu Research Laboratories, Cellanyx, Bach Pharma, and two non-profit organizations, FuelEd Schools and PRADAN USA. He has previously served on the boards of Scion Pharmaceuticals, Sindu Pharmaceuticals and TiE Boston. He is an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown Medical School and serves on the advisory boards of several entities including Springboard Enterprises, North Shore InnoVentures and UberDoc.

Over his 25+ year career, Dr. Chaturvedi has participated or led the discovery and/or the development activities for several new chemical entities (NCEs), culminating in the successful development and commercialization of several new drugs that are currently marketed by various companies. Prior to his entrepreneurial journey, Dr. Chaturvedi spent several years at Vertex Pharmaceuticals as the Head of Lead Evaluation and was in the preclinical group at Alkermes. He started his career in the Product Development group at Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert Company (now Pfizer).

Dr. Chaturvedi holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from West Virginia University and a Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from the University of Bombay.

Meet Honorary Conference Chair Dr. Abdullah Kirumira

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Honorary Conference Chair 

Dr. Abdullah Kirumira, Chairman and Technical Director, BioMedica Diagnostics 

In 1993, Dr. Kirumira was responsible for the invention of the world’s first rapid-acting HIV diagnostic test.

In 1999, Dr. Abdullah Kirumira founded BioMedica Diagnostics in Windsor, NS, who’s success has been built on their ability to deliver superior service, quality and results to their partners.

Dr. Kirumira’s entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to give back has resulted in impressive levels of support in underdeveloped regions lacking the ability diagnose infectious diseases.

“My vision is to establish affordable laboratory medicine in Third World countries that do not have access to diagnostic equipment because it is too expensive, or they don’t have the appropriate technology at their disposal.” (Source).


Dr. Kirumira’s achievements have been well recognized and appreciated by a variety of local and international organizations.


Join us at BioPort to hear from one of the key scientist-entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia’s life sciences industry.