Halifax-based Origin BioMed Attracts Additional Investment

Oct 1, 2009

An investment boost will help Origin BioMed's flagship product, Neuragen, become even more prominent in drug stores across North America.

The company is continuing its market expansion with additional support from two previous investing partners, including Nova Scotia Business Inc.

This new round of financing, worth $1.2 million, includes $728,000 from NSBI Venture Capital, and $500,000 from Avrio Ventures. This is in addition to a $3.3-million investment led by GrowthWorks Atlantic and Avrio Ventures announced earlier this year.

"The province, through NSBI, is supporting a company that is progressive in its field and in the province," said Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development. "Origin BioMed's team continues to build this Nova Scotia-based business through success in international markets."

The company, a leading manufacturer and exporter of topical over-the-counter drug products, typically applied to the skin, will use the investment to gain brand presence for its lead product, Neuragen. Neuragen helps relieve pain caused by diabetic neuropathy, a breakdown of nerves.

"Through the continued support of the province and investors like NSBI and Avrio Ventures, we have been able to keep quality at the forefront of our business," said Robert Cervelli, president and CEO of Origin BioMed.

"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."

"We are excited and proud to be working alongside NSBI Venture Capital and Avrio Ventures to help Origin BioMed develop into a local success story," said Tom Hayes, president and CEO of GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund Ltd.

NSBI Venture Capital is focused on building Nova Scotia's knowledge-based industries, including life sciences. This is its third investment in Origin BioMed. NSBI invested $1 million in 2007 and made a $2-million follow-on equity investment in 2008. Follow-on investments are common in the venture capital community as a company builds its share value in stages.

"Origin BioMed's success is two-fold. The company is proving itself as a world leader while continuing to be aggressive in reaching new markets," said Stephen Lund, president and CEO of NSBI. "Working with companies like Origin BioMed helps us attract more private investment to the province."

Neuragen targets the $4-billion worldwide neuropathic pain market. About 60 to 70 per cent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage, which can cause impaired sensation or pain in the feet or hands and other nerve problems.

Neuragen has provided relief for more than 70 per cent of users in clinical trials, and is being sold in the diabetic sections of drug stores, through many health profession clinics and other retail outlets.

GrowthWorks-managed funds provide investment capital for Canadian companies and tax-advantaged investment opportunities for Canadian investors. GrowthWorks manages about $700 million in assets through the Working Opportunity Fund (EVCC) Ltd., GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund Ltd., GrowthWorks Commercialization Fund Ltd., and GrowthWorks Canadian Fund Ltd. GrowthWorks identifies, analyzes and structures investments in companies with high growth potential. 

Avrio Ventures is a Calgary-based venture capital firm that supports the development of Canadian commercialization and growth stage industrial bio-products, 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.


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