Natural Products Canada Announces Boost to Canada’s Bioeconomy With Support for Two Ontario Sustainable Start-Ups

May 2, 2024

Toronto, Ontario — Natural Products Canada (NPC) today announced support for two revolutionary companies based in Ontario through its Commercialization Programs. The recipients AuX Labs, who specializes in engineering yeasts that produce nature-identical animal proteins and Neptune Nanotechnologies, an innovative bio-nanotechnology company, are each tackling different parts of our bioeconomy using nature-based solutions.  

NPC’s Commercialization Programs focus on three gaps common to highly innovative companies: product validation, talent, and competitive strategy. The Proof of Concept, Access to Talent, and Fast Track to Financing programs address each of these gaps, and provide up to $350,000 in support. Acting truly as “strategic angels” NPC works with applicants before, during and after the official application process, providing in-depth advice, guidance and connections to resources from across the country.

“Natural Products Canada is proud to support the development of natural products as a catalyst of sustainable economic development that benefits all Canadians,” said Shelley King, CEO, Natural Products Canada. “NPC’s investment in Ontario start-ups AuX Labs and Neptune Nanotechnologies is a sign of our commitment to companies harnessing the power of nature to create competitive sustainable products that contribute to Canada’s economy and the planet as a whole.”

The investment into AuX Labs will help the company expand their team as they look to expand and revolutionize alternative protein production with yeast. Initially focused on caseins, they are nearing price parity with traditional proteins. NPC is investing $75,000, enabling a total budget of $188,600.  

“We’re proud to be a Canadian company innovating to deliver price parity for alternative proteins. It’s not easy to scale a food technology company, so we appreciate the advice, connections and financial support delivered by the excellent team at Natural Products Canada,” said Ted Jin, Founder and CEO, AuX Labs.

The support for Neptune Nanotechnologies will help fund Proof of Concept activities to advance the commercialization of their unique product that uses a natural compound to create sustainable chitin nanocrystals that are stronger than steel, lighter than plastic, and biodegradable in soil. NPC will invest $250,000, enabling a total budget of $816,750.  

“The world is demanding more sustainable ways to develop products in all industries. I’m grateful that Natural Products Canada sees the potential in our ‘made in Canada’ solution that can help reduce the use of plastic packaging and act as a critical component for many potential products in the future,” said Aaron Guan, Founder and CEO, Neptune Nanotechnologies Inc.

NPC’s work to advance natural products is supported by the Government of Canada. Since 2016, NPC has provided advice and promotional support to over 1600 Canadian start-ups, and has curated thousands of strategic introductions through its extensive network of investors, industry leaders, business and technical consultants, and others that help advance sustainable innovation.

“Thanks to our government’s support, Natural Products Canada is helping Canadian entrepreneurs navigate the marketplace and bring a wide range of ecologically mindful products to consumers. These projects represent diverse opportunities for innovation, while creating skilled jobs and promoting a greener economy for all Canadians.

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

For more information about these clients and their technologies, or to explore opportunities to collaborate with Natural Products Canada, please contact Sue Coueslan at [email protected]

About Natural Products Canada (NPC) – NPC is the driving force behind Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster–a strategic and diverse community focused on the development and commercialization of naturally-derived products and technologies in health and life sciences, natural resources, agriculture and agri-food, and sustainable bioproducts. As part of its role in the Cluster, NPC offers in-depth advice and a suite of commercialization programs to Canadian early-stage companies and research institutes; provides connections and innovation scouting services to corporations and investors; and leverages an investment fund (Nàdarra Ventures) to help develop and de-risk promising Canadian opportunities. NPC has received financial support from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, administered by the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research (CECR) program, administered by the Networks of Centres of Excellence.