Natural Products Canada invests in sustainable innovation

May 31, 2022

See the French version here

Five Canadian ventures, including four start-ups and one university-based innovation, will receive investment from Natural Products Canada to accelerate their sustainable, bio-based solutions to full market potential. The recipients are developing innovative products that provide sustainable, naturally-derived alternatives to chemicals and other ingredients. Natural Products Canada is a national innovation network funded by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund.

“As we see the urgency to develop more sustainable and natural products, it’s encouraging to see Canadian innovators rising to the challenge,” says Shelley King, CEO, Natural Products Canada. “The quality and scientific sophistication of these recipients gives us great confidence in Canada’s ability to contribute meaningfully to global sustainability goals.”

Each recipient will receive non-dilutive, non-repayable funds via NPC’s Commercialization Programs for initiatives that address strategic gaps in their commercialization path. The Programs were developed after NPC’s in-depth review of Canadian biology-based start-ups, and extensive consultation with investors, corporations, and government agencies that work with early-stage innovation. The three  programs – Fast Track To Financing, Access To Talent, and Proof of Concept – address different needs, with varying maximum amounts ranging from $25,000 to $250,000.

“Our government is investing in Canadian innovators and organizations to support the tremendous potential of the natural products sector. Thanks to Natural Products Canada, we will see not only natural and sustainable solutions for Canadians but also new opportunities for innovators to access new markets and meet global demand.” The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

The recipients will receive a combined $598,735 that will enable over $1.4M in commercialization efforts. Four of the five are focused on sustainable and natural alternatives to chemicals used in products such as detergents and cosmetics, and the other is focused on plant-based compounds that can benefit inflammation. The details are as follows:

  • The University of Toronto will receive $114,540 from NPC’s Proof of Concept Program to validate the pilot scale process of sustainably converting waste from Canada’s pulp and paper industry into glucaric acid for use in detergents and other products.
  • Dispersa will receive $249,865 from NPC’s Proof of Concept Program to help scale-up their novel biosurfactant, which can be used in various cleaning applications from detergents to personal care products. The Quebec-based company derives their innovative product from food waste.
  • Canurta will receive $41,400 through NPC’s Access to Talent Program to add a Senior Technical Research Manager to help scale production of their polyphenolic compounds. The Ontario-based company is working with hemp-derived polyphenols, which can inhibit inflammation.
  • Phycus Biotechnologies will receive $186,530 to scale their novel fermentation technology to produce a natural form of glycolic acid, a highly valuable and popular ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. Phycus is dually-located in both Ontario and Nova Scotia, where it is partnering with the Verschuren Centre.
  • Nature Recombined Sciences will receive $6,400 through NPC’s Fast Track To Financing Program to evaluate the market potential for their unique, sustainably-produced antimicrobial compound. The BC-based company’s product is derived from plants and can potentially be used as a surface disinfectant in the food industry.

NPC’s Commercialization Programs are just one element of their strategic offering. They also provide advisory services and crucial introductions and referrals, as well as hosting various events and initiatives to showcase Canadian innovation to their broad network of international investors and corporations. In addition, they have launched a $50M capital fund to invest in high-potential Canadian natural products through the creation of NPC Ventures. 

For more information:

Sue Coueslan

VP Strategy and Partnership

Natural Products Canada (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 (NPC 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.