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PEI Bioalliance Launches Life Science Incubator

The Prince Edward Island BioAlliance will receive up to $3.8 million in federal government funding to support the growth of bioscience-based companies in the province. The announcement was made today in Charlottetown by the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Minister Shea was accompanied the Honourable Allen Roach, PEI Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning, and by John McDougall, President of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and joined by many members of the Island’s bioscience and food sectors at the Regis & Joan Duffy Research Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island.

The Canadian Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), designed to help Canadian early stage technology companies grow, prosper and create jobs, is delivered by the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). CAIP provides support in the form of non-repayable contributions to a small and select number of best-in-class accelerators and incubators in Canada, such as the BioAlliance.

“Today’s funding announcement will ensure Prince-Edward-Island’s promising innovative start-up businesses have the resources they need to grow, innovate and create jobs here in PEI,” said Minister Shea. “By investing in PEI BioAlliance, our government is supporting accelerators and incubators across the country while strengthening our local community’s business innovation capacity.”

Through this program, the BioAlliance will receive up to $3.8 million in funding over the next five years to provide companies with the resources and expertise needed to execute their commercialization plans, seek follow-on financing, and explore new international markets for products and services. The BioAlliance will be required to match this contribution 1 for 1 with funds from private or other public sector sources for a total of $7.6 million in incubation services. The Province of PEI through Innovation PEI will provide $500,000 to the initiative over the five-year period.

“Our continuing investment in the PEI BioAlliance is an investment in the ongoing prosperity of the province itself, ” said the Honourable Allen Roach, Prince Edward Island Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning.  “The province of Prince Edward Island has supported the PEI Bioscience industry while it has tripled in size over the past ten years and this industry is uniquely positioned for further success. Thanks to this incubator initiative, a steady pipeline of innovative bio-based companies will be attracted to PEI and to grow their businesses here,” said Minister Roach.

Dr. Russ Kerr, CEO of Nautilus Biosciences and Chair of the Prince Edward Island BioAlliance Board, said this is a significant accomplishment for PEI.

“This was a highly competitive process, and being named as one of the best incubator organizations in Canada is certainly rewarding. But more importantly, this initiative will support local entrepreneurs and the growth of our early-stage companies while attracting businesses, technologies and talent from other parts of the world,” said Kerr. “This is an excellent investment by the federal government in building successful technology-driven businesses in Prince Edward Island.”

Rory Francis, Executive Director of the PEI BioAlliance, said this announcement demonstrates that the Prince Edward Island Cluster is considered one of the best locations in Canada to build bioscience-based businesses.

“We think our track record established by the strong growth of bioscience companies and partnerships among our businesses, research and government agencies has served us well in this competition and will continue to do so throughout the life of this project and beyond,” said Francis.

The incubator service, called Emergence, will provide access to business assessment, mentoring, and specialized commercialization services to early stage companies.  Product and market targets will range from agri-food to natural health products and pharmaceuticals for human, animal and fish health. Through a partnership with the PEI AgriAlliance, Emergence will also work with companies and supply chain partners in support of the province’s new Food Strategy,

Currently, the PEI Bioscience Cluster includes 40 companies, with over $150 million in annual private sector revenues, employing over 1,200 people in private and public sectors.