DeNovaMed Inc., Halifax

A Halifax biomedical company is receiving a $100,000 seed investment from Innovacorp to further its research to treat superbugs.

Innovacorp announced DeNovaMed Inc. as the provincial winner of the I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition, marking the end of a five-month search to find the top start-ups in Nova Scotia.

"Innovacorp's I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition once again highlights the innovative and competitive entrepreneurial spirit that exists across Nova Scotia," said Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. "This competition is helping deliver on jobsHere – the government's plan to grow the economy."

DeNovaMed Inc.'s founders used computer-aided drug design to develop a new class of compounds with the potential to treat infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs. In the next 12-18 months, the company plans to evaluate its best compounds in animal models of infection, with an ultimate goal of bringing to market a truly new antibiotic.

"Winning this competition allows us to grow our business, hire additional staff and market our product around the world," said Christopher McMaster, CEO of DeNovaMed Inc. "The exposure and credibility of being named first is invaluable. Combining the cash, seed investment, and in-kind services with that, will really help us grow our business."

The provincial I-3 competition was launched Sept. 13. In the weeks after the launch, Innovacorp received 142 submissions from entrepreneurs across Nova Scotia.

The purpose of Innovacorp's I-3 competition is to find and support high potential early stage Nova Scotia knowledge-based companies, and encourage entrepreneurial activity across the province. The businesses chosen as first and second place award winners are excellent examples of types of companies that will fuel future economic growth.

"DeNovaMed has a solid plan for future growth and we're enthusiastic to be a part of its future success," said Clifford Gross, president and CEO of Innovacorp. "Its compelling intellectual capital puts them in great standing in the rapidly growing market for effective antibiotics."

The I-3 competition allows Innovacorp and its partners to improve the business-building assistance they provide to knowledge-based companies in Nova Scotia.

In total, $800,000 in cash, seed investment, and in-kind business-building services was awarded to the 10 winners. In addition to the $100,000 seed investment given to the provincial winner, the first-place zone winners each received $100,000 in cash and in-kind services and the second-place winners won a $40,000 package.

DeNovaMed Inc. was selected as the provincial I-3 winner from among the five zone winners. It was the winner in Zone 4. The other winners were:

Zone 1 (Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough counties)
Water Drills International Inc., Jim Proudfoot and Lynn Christie, New Glasgow

Zone 2 (Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties)
Ventgrid Inc., Gord McPherson, Andre Veinotte and Anthony Smith, Chester

Zone 3 (Digby, Annapolis, Kings and Hants counties)
The Bait Savour, Vince Stuart, Meteghan Centre

Zone 5 (Victoria, Inverness and Richmond counties, and Cape Breton Regional Municipality)
J&K Scientific Inc., Krishnat Naikwadi, Edwardsville

(NOTE: A brief description of each of the I-3 zone winners is available at HTTP://INNOVACORP.CA/NEWS/I-3-ZONE-WINNERS-2011-2012.)

Innovacorp is Nova Scotia's early stage venture capital organization. Target industries include clean technology, information technology, and life sciences.

To learn more about the I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition, visit WWW.INNOVACORP.CA.

For more information, contact:

Stephanie Shaw
T 902.424.8670 ext. 1197
M 902.220.3686

Halifax, Nova Scotia, February 8, 2012