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Major ACOA Investment In Dal Spin-Outs

Ryan McNutt – September 17, 2012

On Thursday, September 13th, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced $1 million in support of two Dalhousie spin-out companies making big advances in health care.

The companies—Thorasys and DeNovaMed—stand as examples of how Dalhousie medical research is making its way out of the lab to the patients who need it.

“This is what happens when you bring scientists, students and entrepreneurs together in one location: you create an ecosystem,” said Dal President Tom Traves, speaking at the announcement event in Dal’s Life Sciences Research Institute.

“The ecosystem creates collaboration. The collaboration helps bring research to market, putting it into the hands of the people who will benefit most. This is what we had in mind many years ago when we first started talking about the Life Sciences Research Institute.”

Thorasys, a medical device company, started with a collaboration between Geoff Maksym, currently the director of Dal’s School of Biomedical Engineering, and Thomas Schuessler, who serves as president and CEO of Thorasys. The company’s tremoFlo device, presented at the most recent European Respiratory Society convention to rave feedback, provides an easier, more accurate method of measuring airway function in asthma patients than the Spirometry that’s currently in use.

DeNovaMed, founded by Dalhousie researchers Christopher McMaster, David Byers and Donald Weaver, is developing novel antibiotics to help treat infections from so-called “superbugs” such as methicillin-resistant Staph (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE).