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PEI-Led Bioscience Partnership Wins Major Federal Funding

Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Navdeep Bains announced today in Charlottetown a $14 million federal contribution to establish Natural Products Canada Inc., a new national Centre for Commercialization and Research (CECR) that will accelerate the commercialization of new products and technologies derived from natural products.

Natural Products Canada will be led from Prince Edward Island and includes key partners in PEI (PEI BioAlliance as NPC Atlantic), Saskatchewan (AgWest Bio as NPC West), Ontario (Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization as NPC Ontario), and Quebec (Institute for Nutrition and Functional Foods as NPC Quebec). The federal contribution will be matched by over $10 million from industry and other sources, for total funding of over $24 million over the next five years.

Rory Francis, Executive Director of the PEI BioAlliance, expressed his gratitude to the federal government for seizing the opportunity to bring together a unique national team to help academic centres and early stage companies develop and commercialize new products for global markets. He noted that only two proposals were selected from over 25 applicants across Canada.

“Natural Products Canada will align the existing expertise of universities, scientific research organizations, small and medium sized enterprises, multi-nationals, the investor community, and government partners in accelerating time to market for promising early stage technologies,” said Francis. “This is an amazing opportunity for the Canadian bioscience sector and a very exciting platform for the next stage of growth of the PEI Bioscience Cluster, ” he said.

He congratulated the PEI team, drawn from local business, research and government agencies that led the development of the initiative, and in particular Shelley King, CEO, Synapse. Ms. King will serve as CEO of Natural Products Canada with eight staff located in Charlottetown and the partner locations.

Dr. Russ Kerr, CEO of Nautilus Bioscience Canada, a marine natural products discovery company, and Chair of the BioAlliance Board, said that Natural Products Canada will open a whole range of new product opportunities for Canadian businesses.

“With applications in personal care products, cosmetics, natural health products, veterinary health and nutrition, agricultural and food products, and environmental remediation, the market for more sustainably-produced,  natural product chemistry-based ingredients is growing very quickly, ” said Kerr, who is also a Canada Research Chair at the University of Prince Edward Island. “This initiative will put Canada at the international leading edge,” he said.

The Prince Edward Island Bioscience Cluster has had a strong focus on natural products for ?health applications for over a decade. Of the 44 companies in the PEI Cluster, more than 30 work on natural product-related technologies. Revenue earned by PEI bioscience companies surpassed $200 million in 2015.

Federal News Release: http://www.nce-rce.gc.ca/Media-Medias/news-communiques/News-Communique_eng.asp?ID=174
CECR fact sheet: http://www.nce-rce.gc.ca/NetworksCentres CentresReseaux/CECR-CECR/NPC-PNC_eng.asp


For more information, please contact Rose FitzPatrick at rose@peibioalliance.com or by calling (902) 367-4403 or (902) 393-0306.

About Natural Products Canada Inc.
Natural Products Canada (NPC) is a national, not-for-profit centre of excellence for natural products research and commercialization. NPC drives commercialization of natural products for the benefit of the economy, and the health and well-being of Canadians; builds on previous national, regional and provincial investments; and links and aligns key players nationally and internationally. NPC’s regional nodes provide national scope for NPC, and integrated support from Canada’s vast partner network of human, financial, infrastructure, and science and technology resources. Established in 2015, NPC is hosted at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI.

About Prince Edward Island BioAlliance
The Prince Edward Island BioAlliance is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building the Bioscience sector in Prince Edward Island through collaborative efforts with industry, government, academia, and research organizations. The PEI Bioscience Cluster represents over 40 companies generating more than $200 million in private sector revenues. The PEI Bioscience sector currently employs more than 1,400 people.