Nova Scotia Biotechnology Company Reaches New Markets

Aug 5, 2008

Made-in-Nova Scotia health products will soon be stocked on more drugstore shelves south of the border.

Origin BioMed Inc. is continuing its North American market expansion with continued support from investing partners, including Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI).

The innovative Halifax-based company will use $5.1 million in follow-on financing led by Calgary-based Avrio Ventures Management Corporation to further expand its business. NSBI Venture Capital is supporting Origin's continued growth with a $2 million follow-on equity investment.

A follow-on investment is an additional round of financing provided by an existing investor group to help support a company's growth and expansion.

"This investment is about job growth at home, and it's also more," said Economic Development Minister Angus MacIsaac. "Companies like Origin are helping bring the Nova Scotia brand to businesses and consumers around the world."

Origin BioMed is a leading manufacturer and exporter of over-the-counter topical drug products, including Neuragen which helps relieve pain caused by diabetic neuropathy, a breakdown of nerves. The province's financing will not only help drive the company's North American market expansion. It will also support the growth of Origin's U.S. sales offices.

"Avrio Ventures and NSBI Venture Capital have been valuable partners in our growth," said Robert Cervelli, president and CEO of Origin BioMed. "Their continued support has been instrumental in our success both within and outside our provincial borders."

Origin BioMed employs 32 people at its head office in Halifax. The company expects to expand its employee base over the next two years.

"Origin's product line and go-to-market strategy has been validated through strong market demand," said Aki Georgacacos, general partner at Avrio Ventures and a member of Origin's board of directors. "We look forward to being a partner as Origin continues its impressive growth."

NSBI Venture Capital is focused on building Nova Scotia's knowledge-based industries, including life sciences. This is its second investment in Origin BioMed. Last year, it announced $1 million in equity financing as part of a $3.8 million joint investment with Avrio Ventures and others.

"NSBI has a well-earned reputation of providing valuable support to innovative Nova Scotia companies," said Mr. Cervelli.

"Origin BioMed has proven itself to be a strong Nova Scotia company," said Stephen Lund, president and CEO of NSBI. "Our second joint investment with Avrio Ventures is exactly the kind of partnership NSBI Venture Capital is focused on."

Origin BioMed Inc. is an innovative over-the-counter consumer health products company focused on pain management.

Avrio Ventures is a venture capital firm that supports the development of Canadian commercialization and growth stage industrial bioproducts, nutraceutical ingredients and food technology companies into world-class organizations.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. is Nova Scotia's private-sector-led business development agency. NSBI is the investment attraction arm of the province and helps businesses in Nova Scotia meet growth potential through advisory services, trade development, financing and venture capital.

NSBI Venture Capital is a mid- to late-stage investor focusing on Nova Scotia businesses in five key sectors: information and communications technology, defence and aerospace, energy, advanced manufacturing, and life sciences.