Halifax-based ABK Biomedical is developing technology to improve the treatment of uterine fibroids, a medical condition affecting 40 per cent of women over the age of 35.
With investment from the province, the company plans to further develop and market its products worldwide.
"Imagine drastically reducing the need for invasive surgery for so many women throughout Nova Scotia and beyond," said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris. "In addition to the profound positive impact this company could have on our mothers, daughters, sisters and wives, it is a perfect fit with the innovation and competitiveness priorities of our jobsHere plan to grow the economy."
ABK secured a $250,000 equity investment from Innovacorp, Nova Scotia's early-stage venture capital organization. The investment was part of a larger round of financing that included more than $500,000 from angel investors and $500,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency in October 2012.
"This investment will help us get much closer to bringing a product to the healthcare market," said Pat O'Connor, CEO of ABK. "We look forward to being able to deliver on the clinical promise of our innovation while also fostering the development of additional technologies to add to our product pipeline."
The company will use the funds to complete development of its products for treating uterine fibroids, which are benign tumours that form in the uterus and can cause severe pain and bleeding.
ABK's OccluRad and OccluDel products work with uterine fibroid embolization, a minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting small beads through a catheter placed into the arteries feeding the uterus, to treat uterine fibroids. The beads cut off blood supply to the fibroid tumours and as the tumours shrink, the patient's symptoms resolve.
The beads currently used cannot be seen on X-ray imaging used during the procedure and have to be mixed with X-ray dye. This adds to procedure time and cost and the dye can be toxic to the kidneys. ABK's products include novel radiopaque beads that can be seen by X-ray, minimizing or eliminating the need for X-ray dye and resulting in safer and more efficient uterine fibroid embolization procedures.
ABK was co-founded by Capital District Health Authority interventional radiologist Dr. Bob Abraham, and Dalhousie University materials scientists Daniel Boyd and Sharon Kehoe. The co-founders have been working with Innovacorp since 2011 when they were recipients of Innovacorp's Early Stage Commercialization Fund, a program that helps post-secondary institution researchers with their early commercialization efforts. The company has been a resident client of the Innovacorp Enterprise Centre in Halifax since January 2013.
"ABK has a solid plan for future growth and we're enthusiastic to be a part of its future success," said Stephen Duff, president and CEO of Innovacorp. "Their innovative platform puts them in great standing in the competitive market for the effective treatment of a condition affecting so many women."
For more information, please contact:
ABK Biomedical Inc.
T 902.424.8670 ext. 1197
Halifax, Nova Scotia, April 29, 2013