Ontario Genomics welcomes Kingston's Spectra Plasmonics to BioCreate program

Earlier Wednesday, Health Canada declared the new inoculation from U.S. biotech firm Moderna safe for use. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Four new start-ups have been welcomed into BioCreate, Ontario Genomics' $11.6-million accelerator program providing financial and business, in an effort to support biotechnology companies creating game-changing solutions in the health, food and agriculture, and cleantech industries.

BioCreate is funded by Ontario Genomics and a Government of Canada investment of over $5.6 million, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). 

Officials explain that the program aims to connect highly vetted companies with $150,000 in non-repayable funding, 18 months of business mentorship and access to critical infrastructure. Additionally, the companies get the opportunity to pitch to investors for further funding. Here are this round's recipients:

Escarpment Labs: a Guelph-based company that supplies cutting-edge yeast strains to craft brewers to enhance the flavour of their brews and ensure easier fermentation during the beer-making process.
QurCan Therapeutics: a Toronto medical sciences company that has developed technology to boost the effectiveness of cancer-fighting medicines to improve the quality of life for patients.  
Spectra Plasmonics: based in Kingston, where it's perfecting a helpful tool for the food and beverage industry. The company's bacteria sensing tests give manufacturers quick and accurate results on the safety of their food. 

Virica Biotech: an Ottawa-based medical sciences company focused on a ground-breaking approach to make cell and gene therapies cheaper and easier to produce so more patients can get access to potentially life-saving treatments. 

These four companies join the eight health, food agriculture, and cleantech start-ups that were welcomed into the BioCreate program last spring.

Ontario Genomics President and CEO, Dr. Bettina Hamelin, says, "BioCreate's financial investment comes at a critical time for these companies to scale up and create new jobs, while the mentorship gives them the business support they need to succeed and get their technologies and tools into real-world use."    

"It's great to hear that these four incredible companies have joined the BioCreate program," says the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario. "It's our government's priority to support emerging genomics companies with access to the tools and resources they need to grow and make a positive impact on the lives of Canadians."

With files by CFRA's Connor Ray