A new pain relief company is receiving $50,000 in funding and business guidance through Innovacorp’s 2018 Spark Innovation Challenge, a province-wide competition for new technology companies. The business, Panag Pharma, is one of four winners selected in the Halifax region.

Panag Pharma was founded by four medical doctors, Dr. Mary Lynch, Dr. Melanie Kelly, Dr. Christian Lehmann and Dr. Orlando Hung. They are developing plant-derived compound formulations for treating pain and inflammation. Panag Pharma’s topical creams treat inflamed skin, eyes and other body parts.

“Winning the Spark Innovation Challenge will push our business to the next level,” said Dr. Lynch. “The funding and guidance we receive through Spark will help us improve our products and get them to market.”

The 2018 Spark Innovation Challenge attracted 122 submissions from across the province. Finalists in the four competition areas, Spark Halifax, Spark West, Spark North and Spark Cape Breton, pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Finalists also participated in several business workshops and received one-on-one financial advice. Fifteen new companies are receiving funding and additional support through this year’s challenge.

Winners must use the prize money to build prototypes or take new products and services to market.

The Government of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) each contributed $350,000 towards this year’s Spark Innovation Challenge. The Province’s contribution is through Innovacorp and the Government of Canada’s non-repayable contribution is through ACOA's Business Development Program. 

“Spark is a great program that’s really helping new technology companies, across Nova Scotia, get started,” said Hugh MacKay MLA for Chester-St. Margaret’s on behalf of Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Business and Minister responsible for Innovacorp. “The winners of this year’s Spark Challenge will receive the funding and guidance they need to build strong companies, drive innovation, grow our economy and create jobs for other Nova Scotians.”

“The Spark Innovation Challenge embodies what the Government of Canada is trying to do to spur innovation,” said Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA. “It fosters collaboration between Federal and Provincial governments, research institutions and the private sector; provides opportunity, mentorship and funding to new companies and engages rural Nova Scotia to participate in the start-up community. Initiatives like Spark lead to new job opportunities and sustainable economic growth that support a strong and growing middle class.” 

For the full list of winners, visit:

For more information, please contact:

Michaela Meltzer Gardner

Kelly Bennett
Department of Business

Alex Smith
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Cell: 902.830.3839