PEI program benefits companies in supplements industry

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Algal ingredient company Solarvest is one of the firms that have benefited from the program.  Solarvest photo.
Algal ingredient company Solarvest is one of the firms that have benefited from the program. Solarvest photo.

Related tags: Strategic management

At a time when fractured politics in the United States have made agreements about infrastructure and business development investments all but impossible, a provincial government in Canada is expanding a program that has benefited dietary supplement companies.

The Prince Edward Island BioAlliance recently released a new strategic plan​ for expanding the public/private partnership that has led a number of companies to relocate to the island province or to expand operations there.  Over the past ten years of the program, the effort has increased employment within the allied companies from a beginning figure of 452 to 1,410 last year.  Combined revenue within the cluster of companies has increased from $34 million ($45 million CAD) in 2003 to $164 million ($215 million CAD) in 2015.

“It takes a community to create a strong science-based business cluster, and it’s thanks to the coordination of efforts among our federal and provincial government agencies, academic and research institutions, and the business community, that we are seeing outstanding economic performance,”​ said Dr Russ Kerr, chair of the BioAlliance board.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is providing about $380,000 (about $500,000 CAD) to support the PEI BioAlliance’s Strategic Plan, which sets out targets for the next five years, including another doubling of export sales to $400 million CAD, the addition of 500 more jobs, and the attraction of $100 million CAD private sector investment in PEI companies.

Benefits of program

In the forward looking strategic planning document, the among the advantages the program provides were:

  • Connected, collaborative ecosystem and culture
  • BioAlliance as catalytic leader, maintaining focus and direction
  • Stalwart support of governments with funding, public policy innovation, access,
  • and timely decisions
  • Core support services to help facilitate timely access to markets (incl. mentoring
  • and incubation)
  • Access to technical expertise and infrastructure including National Research
  • Council, UPEI/Atlantic Veterinary College, Holland College and BioFoodTech
  • Linkages with post-secondary education system to support workforce
  • development and ability to adapt educational programs to industry needs
  • Ability to attract high quality people and access human resources

Associated companies

A number of companies within the development cluster focus on the aquaculture industry, while others focus on pharmaceutical devices or medical device development.  But a subset is involved either director or tangentially in the dietary supplement industry. Among these companies are:

  • Advanced Extraction Systems Inc. (AESI)— ​This company designs, engineers and fabricates manual and fully automated supercritical fluid botanical CO2 extraction systems for the medical marijuana and hemp industries in North America.
  • Diversified Metal Engineering Ltd.  — ​This company has a long history of custom design and fabrication of equipment for the brewing, biotech and food industries and cooperates with AESI on its extraction system development.
  • Murphy Laboratories — ​This company specializes in innovative health care solutions through custom compounding and product research and development. Areas of focus include pharmaceuticals, natural health products, cosmetics, and animal health.
  • OmniActive Health Technologies Canada — ​OmniActive focuses on the discovery and development of novel dietary ingredients for use in nutraceuticals and functional foods. 
  • Solarvest — ​Solarvest is nearing market entry with its DHA omega-3 algal oil​ ingredient that is being produced with the help of a German partner.

Kerr said the BioAlliance is “multiplying business development and business attraction opportunities and building our reputation in Canada as an innovation leader that has the experience and infrastructure to help companies take new products through R&D and then scale to international marketing and sales.”

Related topics: Markets

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