Gov’t Invests In Two NS Life Science Companies
September 12th, 2012
The Harper Government is supporting two local life sciences companies as they prepare to bring products with far-reaching potential to the global marketplace. Greg Kerr, Member of Parliament for West Nova, on behalf of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (ACOA) (La Francophonie), today announced repayable investments in Thorasys (Thoracic Medical Systems Inc.) and DeNovaMed Inc.
“Our Government is creating an environment where innovation and commercialization opportunities can thrive,” said MP Kerr. “Our investments are helping create tools to combat two of the leading causes of death worldwide, while at the same time building new economic growth potential in our region. These solutions are being created in this region and are raising the profile of this growing sector globally.”
A repayable ACOA investment of $500,000 will support Thorasys as they commercialize their tremoFlo™ Forced Oscillation Technique (FOT) device. The system has the potential to become universally adopted in the diagnosis and monitoring of respiratory illness. Current methods of respiratory illness diagnosis require a high degree of patient effort and cooperation. The compact and portable tremoFlo™ device requires very little patient effort and makes it easier for health professionals to read results. Initial development of the product was funded by an Atlantic Innovation Fund award of $2 million made to Dalhousie University in 2007.
“This type of technology isn’t just in demand, it’s necessary,” said Dr. Thomas Schuessler, President and CEO of Thorasys Inc. “By 2025 it is expected that there will be more than 400 million people worldwide who are afflicted with Asthma and an additional 210 million afflicted with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. If we consider other respiratory illnesses and pulmonary diseases like Cystic Fibrosis, Interstitial Lung Disease, Congestive Heart Failure and a variety of sleep disorders, there is a staggering number of people who could benefit from use of a lung function testing device that is more affordable, easier to read and transport.”
An additional Harper Government investment of $499,988 will allow DeNovaMed Inc. bring a new class of antibiotic to market. Infectious disease is the number one cause of fatality worldwide. In developed countries fatalities due to pneumonia, staphylococcal infections and other pathogens have made infectious diseases a leading cause of death. With each passing decade, bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to multiple antibiotics. DeNovaMed’s novel approach uses a synthesized molecule to weaken and kill bacteria.
“Our technology has the potential to be a valuable weapon in the fight against antibiotic-resistant infections. We hope that DeNovaMed’s antibiotics will help people suffering from ‘superbug’ infections,” said Dr. Christopher Barden, Chief Operating Officer of DeNovaMed. “There is a huge international opportunity for this type of innovation, because antibiotic resistance is a global medical problem that grows worse by the day.”
Thorasys Thoracic Medical Systems Inc. is a collaboration between Dalhousie University’s School of Biomedical Engineering and Montreal-based SCIREQ Inc (Scientific Respiratory Equipment).
DeNovaMed is a start-up biotech company founded by Dalhousie University scientists and operating at the IWK Health Centre.