ENTREVESTOR: Moncton-based Picomole wins $65,000 to help develop breath-based cancer detector

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See original Chronicle Herald article here

By: Peter Moreira

Picomole of Moncton won the $65,000 first prize at the BioInnovation Challenge on Thursday, which will help the company to conduct clinical trials on its device that detects cancer through breath samples.

Held during the BioPort Atlantic conference, the BioInnovation Challenge is the region’s main pitching competition for life sciences companies. This year, the winner receives a $25,000 cash prize as well as in-kind services that raise the total value to $65,000.

The winner Picomole is developing a portable breath analyzer that patients breathe into to be tested for early signs of lung cancer — a disease that kills 154,000 people each year just in the U.S. The product can be used for a fast, inexpensive test when patients visit their doctor, to flag patients who need immediate attention.

“We are targeting the high-risk lung cancer population as a start,” said CEO Stephen Graham in his presentation. “We are going to target them business-to-business, through health care professionals and insurance providers.”

The medical community now tests for lung cancer through such expensive processes as CT scans, which are faulty because 95 per cent of their positive results are inaccurate, said Graham. Picomole is working on a system in which people at clinics or pharmacies can provide breath samples, which are then analyzed at a central location. Patients or their doctors could receive the results within two days.

Graham said that by detecting lung cancer early, people with the disease improve their chances of living more then five years from 18 per cent to 55 per cent.

“Probably the most exciting part of it is our ability to apply our device to other diseases,” said Graham, By changing the algorithms in the analyzing system, it could detect breast cancer, or other lung diseases.

Picomole is now testing its product for proof of concept at hospitals in Saint John and Moncton. It has raised $2.5 million in equity funding and is seeking $12 million more to take the device through regulatory approvals.

The other finalists in the BioInnovation Challenge were:

– ColourSmith Labs, Halifax — Chemist and entrepreneur Gabrielle Masone started ColourSmith to develop soft contact lenses that can help colour-blind people see the full spectrum of colour.

She is preparing to file a patent for her technology, which applies a “notch filter” to a contact lens, so that it can screen out the types of light that cause colour blindness. The solution is more discreet than competitors’ products, such as sunglasses that perform similar functions.

Masone is now looking to hire a business development executive and intends to begin to raise her first equity funding round in the next month.

– Talem Healthcare, Sydney — Founded two years ago by physiotherapists Paul Travis and Matthew Kay, Talem has developed software that can help auto insurers understand the time and costs of an individual recovering from a car accident.

These accidents cause $240 billion in economic damage each year in North America. Drawing on data from physiotherapy clinics, the software uses machine learning and data analysis to predict how someone who has been in an accident will recover.

Kay told the BioPort audience that the system can cut the cost of claims by 10 percent, which can help to improve the efficiency of the industry and treatment for patients. The company is hoping to raise $750,000.

BioNova Announces Picomole as the Winner of the Eighth Annual BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) at BioPort 2018

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Halifax, NS – November 8, 2018 – Today Picomole from Moncton, New Brunswick was named the winner of BioNova’s eighth annual BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) business pitch competition at BioPort 2018. Picomole is an innovative medical technology company with the goal of developing their patented and patent-pending technologies for breath analytics into the standard of care for non-invasive clinical diagnostics and personalized medicine.

Stephen Graham of Picomole said, “This experience has been invaluable. The mentorship and training we’ve received through this process has helped take Picomole to the next level, and we know the funding and the advisory services will help to elevate us even more.”

Atlantic Canada’s best health and life science innovators participate in the BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) business pitch competition each year. The competition’s goal is to help ease the transition from research laboratory to market. Picomole will receive a prize package that includes $25,000 in seed funding and an advisory services package worth more than $30,000. Picomole was up against Matthew Kay, CEO ofTalem Health Analytics and Gabrielle Masone, CEO of Coloursmith Labs.

“Our panel of judges had a difficult time selecting a winner because all seven finalists have what it takes to make their start up a success,” said Scott Moffitt, Executive Director of BioNova. “Congratulations to Picomole.”

The Judging Panel: 
Jennifer Hamilton, Senior Director, New Ventures (Canada), Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Gerry Lacroix, Technology Sector Leader – Nova Scotia, Grant Thornton LLP
John Holyoake, Managing Director, Investment Banking, Bloom Burton & Co.

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Contact:
Shana Cristoferi, Marketing Manager, BioNova
Mobile: (902) 830-9193
scristoferi@bionova.ca

About BioNova
BioNova leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector. Since 1993, BioNova has been accelerating the growth of its member companies. By hosting networking and educational events, and providing connections to potential funders and business resources, BioNova helps companies succeed.  While these companies commercialize life-changing research to improve healthcare, provide healthier food, and develop sustainable solutions, BioNova advocates on behalf of the sector. BioNova champions the sector’s cluster of world-class research facilities, incubator programs, and companies who, together, bring investment and jobs to Nova Scotia.  www.bionova.ca

About BioPort 2018
The 17th annual BioPort conference will take place at the Halifax Convention Centre on November 7-8, 2018. BioPort provides a forum to educate, inform and inspire the health and 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.  www.bioportatlantic.ca

Meet the 2018 BioInnovation Challenge Semi-Finalists

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The BioInnovation Challenge, held annually as part of BioPort, is one of Atlantic Canada’s longest-running business competitions. This year’s semi-finals competition will take place at 1:30pm on November 7 at the Halifax Convention Centre.

Here are the seven semi-finalists:

Talem Health Analytics (Matthew Kay) – Talem Health Analytics’ mission is to empower insurance professionals and clinicians with technology that emulates the rapidly changing insurance industry. High level insights on treatment type, duration, and cost allows for a cost-effective claim management process that improves patient care. Talem’s principle focus is on data analytics, collaboration, and promoting growth for insurance companies. Research, both clinically and technologically, is one of Talem’s core competencies, delivering evidence-based solutions.

Neuro Amel Technologies (Hayam Mahmoud-Ahmed) – This Halifax-based company is building a frameless, automated brace that uses electrical stimulation to improve mobility for stroke patients. Neuro Amel recently graduated from Dalhousie University’s LaunchPad program.

3F Waste Recovery (Ben Wiper) – 3F Waste Recovery is an innovative pre-commercial business that is  focused on turning waste problems in the fishery, farming, and forestry industries into profitable  solutions. The goal is to become the regional leader or environmental stewardship, full product utilization, and manufacturing innovation.

Picomole Inc. (Stephen Graham) – Picomole is an innovative medical technology company.  The goal is to develop our patented and patent-pending technologies for breath analytics into the standard of care for non-invasive clinical diagnostics and personalized medicine. The initial focus is the development of a breath test for lung cancer screening.

BioHuntress Therapeutics Inc. (Alli Murugesan) – BioHuntress Therapeutics plays a key role in establishing a research to market reputation and repeatable set of processes for life science researchers. BioHuntress’ first venture is to develop nature-inspired, targeted and well-tolerated drugs for blood cancers and bone diseases that deliver better treatment outcomes and patient experience.

Macro Movements Inc. (Shea Munro and Krysta MacIntosh) – A company that is building a software that gives feedback on your movement to prevent injury.

Coloursmith Labs (Gabrielle Masone) – Coloursmith Labs Inc. is a direct-to-consumer contact lens brand that was built for people with colour blindness who want to see the world in added colour. They aim to offer the first practical, functional, and effectively transparent contact lenses on the market that are designed to restore colour vision.

BioPort 2018 Conference to Address Impact of Technology on Health and the Emerging Medical Cannabis Market

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BioPort 2018 Conference to Address Impact of Technology on Health and the Emerging Medical Cannabis Market

NEWS RELEASE: November 1, 2018 – Halifax, NOVA SCOTIA – BioPort 2018, Atlantic Canada’s largest health and life sciences industry conference, is set to explore trends transforming the industry. This year’s conference will focus on The Future of Health, with sessions covering the impact of new technology on health and the value of the emerging medical cannabis market. The Conference, hosted by BioNova, attracts health and life sciences innovators, industry leaders, and investors from across North America and will take place November 7-8, 2018 at the Halifax Convention Centre, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“BioPort provides a venue to highlight the accelerating momentum of the global health and life sciences sector, providing expert perspectives on opportunities and showcasing some of Atlantic Canada’s most ground-breaking, bio-focused entrepreneurs,” says Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). “From foundational research to new disruptive innovations coming to market, BioPort creates the right conditions to build on Atlantic Canada’s unique strengths in biotechnology as we continue to discover how new intelligence impacts health and life sciences in Atlantic Canada.”

This year’s conference will feature two keynote speakers. Dr. Corinna Lathan, ranked as one of the ‘Top 100 World Innovators’ by MIT Technology Review, will be delivering the evening keynote on the impact of technology on health at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. Jeremie Saunders, host of highly-acclaimed Sickboy podcast will deliver the afternoon keynote on the need for continued health innovation at 12:30 pm on Thursday, November 8, 2018.

“As Atlantic Canada’s health and life sciences sector continues to expand, we seek to evolve the topics we choose to feature at BioPort,” said Scott Moffitt, Executive Director of BioNova. “Our sessions explore how embracing disruptive technologies, like artificial intelligence, and uncovering emerging markets, like the value of natural products, present opportunities to grow our sector.”

BioPort 2018 also showcases Atlantic Canada’s best health and life science innovators in its BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) business pitch competition. New to this year’s program is BIC Junior, a pitch competition for students that aims to cultivate the next generation of health and life sciences innovators.

Atlantic Canada’s commercial health and life sciences sector is tapping into the $9 trillion global marketplace. Over 600 products are shipped to more than 80 countries. Nova Scotia presently has 185 products in development with $78 million committed to research and development.  The sector has also generated over $1 billion in financial exits over the past six years.

Details of the conference program and schedule can be found at www.bioportatlantic.ca.
All media are asked to register by contacting scristoferi@bionova.ca.

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Contact:
Shana Cristoferi, Marketing Manager, BioNova
Mobile: (902) 830-9193
scristoferi@bionova.ca

About BioNova
BioNova leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector. Since 1993, BioNova has been accelerating the growth of its member companies. By hosting networking and educational events, and providing connections to potential funders and business resources, BioNova helps companies succeed.  While these companies commercialize life-changing research to improve healthcare, provide healthier food, and develop sustainable solutions, BioNova advocates on behalf of the sector. BioNova champions the sector’s cluster of world-class research facilities, incubator programs, and companies who, together, bring investment and jobs to Nova Scotia.  www.bionova.ca

About BioPort 2018
The 17th annual BioPort conference will take place at the Halifax Convention Centre on November 7-8, 2018. BioPort provides a forum to educate, inform and inspire the health and 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.  www.bioportatlantic.ca