$340K for Manitoba Biotech Firm Via NRC IRAP Grants

Kane Biotech in Winnipeg, MB has been awarded $340K in research grants from the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to enhance the company’s quality assurance and supply chain capabilities.

Kane Biotech CEO Mark Edwards says that IRAP funding will contribute to the growth of the company’s health products for dogs, cats, and horses: “This contribution will allow us to keep pace with our rapidly growing animal health sales and supports our commitment to the continual improvement of our products.”

The $340K in Canadian government funding will also help Kane commercialize its first product for human health, an anti-bacterial enzyme for treating wounds and ear infections.

Founded in 2001, Kane engages in the research, development, and commercialization of technologies and products that prevent and remove microbial biofilms on animals and humans. The company has a portfolio of biotechnologies, intellectual property, and products developed by Kane’s own biofilm research team and acquired from leading research institutions. Kane has been deemed one of the world’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (Fast Company, 2011).

IRAP research grants are administered by the National Research Council of Canada and are available to applicants across the country to offset labour and contractor costs for R&D projects.

IRAP Funding Will Support R&D to Address “Urgent Global Risk”

Kane will use IRAP funding for R&D related to products that break up biofilms—films formed when bacteria adhere to surfaces and release a glue-like substance that anchors and protects the bacteria.

Biofilms can make bacteria up to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics, which poses serious medical challenges in treating wounds and diseases. Antibiotic resistance contributes to tooth decay, inflammatory skin disorders, outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, hospital-acquired “superbug” infections, recurrent urinary tract infections, and chronic wounds. In fact, the World Health Organization has declared that antibiotic resistance is an “urgent global risk.”

On a global scale, healthcare providers need more technology to battle antibiotic resistance. As a result, the annual global market for wound care technology is an estimated CAD $5.9B.

Through R&D funding, Kane will be well-positioned to provide new products in this market for antibiotic resistance technology. The project will improve the company’s quality assurance, quality control, and supply chain capabilities. In particular, Kane will be able to fulfill regulatory requirements associated with its first human health product, DispersinB Hydrogel, which is in late-stage development.

Edwards observes, “The next few months will be pivotal for Kane as we invest heavily in commercialization efforts and continued R&D.”

Kane’s other products include antibiofilm technology for animals, especially oral care for dogs and cats, as well as a medical device coating. The company is also developing a hard surface disinfectant for the destruction of biofilms in commercial, institutional, and industrial settings (for floors, walls, pipes, equipment, etc.).

R&D Funding through the Industrial Research Assistance Program

IRAP is a Canadian government funding program that supports innovative research and development projects for companies facing strong technical challenges. Successful applicants to the program can receive up to 60-80% of project costs related to labour and contractors.

Last year, IRAP received an additional $700M in federal funding to be distributed over five years, and the program increased its funding maximum for awarded companies from $1M to $10M.

IRAP has recently awarded funding to several other organizations across the country, including the following:

  • $5M for Ottawa tech company Ross Video
  • $750K for Laval biopharmaceutical company Acasti Pharma
  • $85K for Vancouver vitamin company VITALITY
  • $250K for Hamilton medical tech company VoxNeuro
  • $500K for Vancouver biopharmaceutical company InMed Pharmaceuticals
  • $2M for Richmond Hill manufacturing company Hibar Systems

Canadian Government Funding for Biotechnology

In addition to IRAP, the federal and provincial governments offer several other funding programs for which biotechnology, medical, and related companies may be eligible. Some of these programs include Innovative Solutions Canada, the Strategic Innovation Fund, Business Scale-up & Productivity, and a variety of hiring and training programs.

Biotechnology and other kinds of firms looking to begin or grow their exporting activities may also wish to look at Export Trade Shows for Canadian Businesses, a list of major upcoming trade shows by industry.

Businesses who are interested in learning more about their options when it comes to government funding programs are encouraged to download the free Canadian Business Funding Guide Whitepaper.

Read the Canadian Business Funding Guide.

Canadian Small Business Grants and Loans

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Sunnie holds a PhD in English from Dalhousie University, and has published her writing in several academic journals, as well as in magazines, newspapers, and blogs. She combines years of experience as a professor in English with practical experience in the private sector as a trainer in writing and analytical thinking.

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