NEWS RELEASE: BioNova Selects Eight Semi-Finalists to Participate in the 12th Annual BioInnovation Challenge

By August 25, 2022News

August 25, 2022 HALIFAX. N.S. — Eight early-stage health and life sciences companies from Atlantic Canada have been chosen as the 2022 BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) semi-finalists. Hosted by BioNova, the BioInnovation Challenge is one of the longest-running business competitions in Atlantic Canada, celebrating and propelling the region’s next top innovators. This year’s BIC will be held during BioNova’s 21st annual BioPort conference, Nov. 2-3, 2022, with the BIC semi-finals kicking off on November 1st.

Both a pitch competition and business accelerator, BIC has supported the creation of over 80 new companies in the sector across Atlantic Canada and distributed over $500,000 in prize value since 2011. Previous participants of the competition include Swiftsure Innovations, Motryx, Breathe BioMedical, ABK BioMedical, NovaResp Technologies, Coloursmith Labs, 3DBioFibr, MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies, and Chinova Bioworks.

“Our theme for this year’s BioPort conference is A Path to Growth, which is what we are providing to support our regions brightest innovators in the early stages of their development,” said Kerri Mannette, interim executive director of BioNova.

The eight semi-finalists will present their business ideas on November 1st VIRTUALLY to an experienced panel of judges who represent industry and investment organizations knowledgeable about health and life sciences. Three finalists will then be selected to pitch in the finals on November 3rd, with a winner to be announced that afternoon at the closing of BioPort. This year’s winner will be awarded a grand prize valued at $55,000, comprised of $25,000 in seed funding to develop their business idea and an advisory services package exceeding $30,000.

Semi-finalists will receive significant training to be positioned for business growth and to successfully develop their pitches before the conference, including one-on-one sessions with expert pitch training coach Linda Plano. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, and serving clients around the world, Linda has worked with more than a thousand entrepreneurs who have gone on to raise over $1.3 billion.

These eight semi-finalists were selected from a group of high-caliber applicants with a shared focus on better health outcomes and environmental sustainability. Learn more about the entrepreneurs who will be pitching virtually on November 1st.

Aycoutay Technologies Inc.— NS
Marc St-Onge, Co-Founder; Alex Ludwig, COO
Aycoutay is the new measure for tracking your body’s wellbeing. Our next generation technology allows you to capture and analyze meaningful data about your health – digestive, neurological, cardiovascular, hormonal, mood, energy, and more.

Bêche Nutraceutical Company — NS 
Jules LeBlanc, Managing Partner; Julie Houde, Interim Sales Manager
Manufacturer of Natural & Non-Prescriptive Health Products using extracts and hydrolysates derived from Canadian east coast Sea Cucumber (sp. Cucumaria frondosa) distributed and exported in capsule form.

CanBliss Beverages Inc. — PEI 
Sarra Jayasinghe – CEO/ Founder
CannBliss produces non-alcoholic wines infused with Cannabis (THC & CBD) utilizing nano-emulsion technology. Our wine beverages provide the right amount of THC and CBD to offer a sensible and satisfying substitute for people seeking alcohol-free solutions.

Drinkable Water Solutions Inc. — NS 
Matthew Mizzi, CEO
Developed the world’s first effortless, affordable, and accurate drinking water test device for consumers – providing real-time contaminant analysis, health risk intel, and treatment guidance.

Hollo Medical Inc. — NS 
David Hodgson, CEO & Co-Founder; Sara Fedullo, Co-Founder & COO
Hollo reduces the burden of respiratory disease by transforming the cumbersome inhaler spacer into a device with optimal drug deposition that fits in a pocket.

Myomar Molecular Inc. — NS
Rafaela Andrade, CEO & Co-Founder
Muscle loss severely impacts quality of life and life expectancy. We are creating solutions to monitor, prevent and better treat muscle loss.  Our mandate is to provide personalized wellness and healthy aging.

Tunistrong Technologies Inc. — PEI 
Ian Lucas, President & CEO; Dr. Matthew Dunlop, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Tunistrong Technologies Inc. is creating value from a problematic invasive marine species called Tunicates by developing a nano material used to add strength in composite materials.

Virtual Hallway — NS 
Justin Hartlen, CEO; Jessica Morehouse, Operations Manager; Ryley Urban, Operations Manager
Virtual Hallway’s platform gets patients rapid specialist level care by facilitating phone consultations between primary care providers and specialist physicians.

BIC 2022 is supported by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and sponsored by BioNB, Dalhousie University Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE), and Emergence, with in-kind services provided by Gallagher, Bereskin & Parr, Grant Thornton, and Jennifer Cameron PR.


About BioNova

BioNova leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotia’s growing Health and Life Sciences sector and is the host of the BioPort Conference and the BioInnovation Challenge (BIC). Since 1993, BioNova has been accelerating the growth of its member companies to commercialize life-changing research to improve healthcare, provide healthier food, and develop sustainable solutions. BioNova champions the sector’s cluster of world-class research facilities, incubator programs, and companies who, together, bring investment and jobs to Nova Scotia.

Our industry-led sector growth plan, BioFuture 2030, has made us the fastest growing sector in Atlantic Canada. We represent over 150 companies in Nova Scotia who raised over $75 million in investment dollars in 2020.

About BioPort

Since 2002, BioPort has provided a forum to inform and inspire the health and life sciences community to develop their ideas, commercialize their technologies and build links within the region, nationally and abroad.

For further information, media may contact:

Shana Cristoferi
Marketing Manager, BioNova
[email protected]


Access high-resolution logos and promotional BIC photos


BIC Semi-Finals 

The BIC semi-finals will take place virtually on Tuesday, November 1, 2-5 p.m. The general public is invited to attend the livestream of the semi-finals, free of charge. (The three finalists will be announced). Registration will open soon.
BIC Finals & Live Winner Announcement

The BIC finals will take place in-person at Pier 21 in Halifax on Thursday, November 3, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The top three BIC finalists will present their pitch again and BioPort attendees will be given the opportunity to vote alongside the judges for their top pick to win.

Our BIC 2022 winner will be announced during the closing remarks of BioPort on Thursday, November 3, 4:15-4:45 p.m (A news release will be issued)

In order to watch the BIC Finals Pitch Competition and the announcement of our BIC 2022 winner, a paid, full-conference pass is required by the public.