Virica Biotech


Virica Biotech (Ottawa) is a medical sciences company using biotechnology to improve the production of cell and gene therapies.

What they’re doing: Using patented innovation, Virica has developed a library of molecules that can be used to combat challenges that naturally occur in the cell therapy production process.

How will this be used in the real world? This ground-breaking approach can help make cell therapies cheaper and easier to produce so more patients can get access to potentially life-saving treatments.

Spectra Plasmonics


Spectra Plasmonics (Kingston) is perfecting a helpful safety tool for the food and beverage industry.

What they’re doing: Spectra is reworking their successful drug chemical analysis equipment to create biotechnology-based bacteria sensing tests for food producers to assess the quality of their products.

How will this be used in the real world? Commercial kitchens and plants can get on-site, quick and accurate results on the safety of their food before it gets sent out to customers, lessening the chances of food-related illnesses and product recalls.

QurCan Therapeutics


QurCan Therapeutics (Toronto) is developing technology to boost the effectiveness of cancer-fighting medicines.

What they’re doing: Using genomics innovation, QurCan has created a proprietary nanoparticle drug technology that helps make genetic medicine more affordable and effective with less side effects.

How will this be used in the real world? The new technology allows medicine to target specific parts of the body so it goes exactly where it’s needed, to improve the health outcomes and quality of life for patients.

Escarpment Labs


Escarpment Labs (Guelph) supplies cutting-edge yeast strains to craft brewers.

What they’re doing: This company of brewers, scientists and fermentation enthusiasts uses genomics technology to create unique liquid brewing yeast and dry yeast for both professional and homebrewers to produce exceptional beverages.

How will this be used in the real world? Escarpment is already supporting the craft beverage industry in Canada, US and Europe with their yeasts that add next level flavour to brews and ensure easier fermentation during the beer making process. 

Performance Plants Inc.


Performance Plants Inc. (Kingston) is using genetic engineering to produce climate change-resistant crops.

What they’re doing: Their Gene Discovery and Trait Development Platform combines modern and traditional genetic engineering toolboxes to produce higher yielding crops regardless of climate challenges. The modularized technology enables the custom design of crops based on market needs, from single target gene editing to multiple trait stacking. During this project, the goal is to improve production and yield of soybeans, the third largest principal field crop in Canada.

How will this be used in the real world? Successful deployment of this product will benefit Ontario farmers while enhancing the economic output of Canadian agriculture.

Liven Proteins


Liven Proteins (Toronto) is producing animal-free protein ingredients for the food industry.

What they’re doing: They’re using unique precision fermentation technology to produce animal-free collagen in yeast from plant-based raw material for the functional beverages market. Liven plans on scaling up this technology to produce sufficient samples for validation by customers.

How will this be used in the real world? Producing collagen ingredients to provide affordable, and sustainable solutions to make delicious and nutritious food and beverage products without the need of the animal industry.

Kraken Sense


Kraken Sense (Oakville) is developing new technologies to speed up detection of new and existing variants of different viruses and bacteria to maintain public health and safety.

What they’re doing: Their automated and autonomous qPCR-based pathogen detection system eliminates the need for manual sample processing and they’re working on expanding automated technologies to also identify possible new variants, all in under an hour.

How will this be used in the real world? Future applications include the quick detection of existing and new variants of different viruses (i.e. SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza virus) and bacteria!

Index Biosystems


Index Biosystems (Burlington) is working on BioTag technology to make food products safer and cut down on food recalls by verifying sustainability, product quality and source-of-origin.

What they’re doing: BioTags are microscopic fingerprints made from baker’s yeast that are applied directly to products to track them. They’re primarily used to verify sustainability, product quality, place-of-origin and food safety. Index Biosystems’s goal is to develop detectable BioTags, methods for their production and identification protocols for successful commercialization.

How will this be used in the real world? BioTags have the potential to dramatically reduce the impact of product recalls in Ontario’s food systems by tracing agri-food products and identifying the source of problems faster. They can also be used to verify the ethical and sustainable sourcing of products.

Genecis Bioindustries


Genecis Bioindustries (Toronto) has engineered a bacteria that breaks down food waste to make cheaper bioplastics.

What they’re doing: Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biodegradable polymers that are ideal substitutes for petroleum-based plastics but are too expensive to produce. Genecis is working to improve the performance of bacterial strains used on low-value organic waste to produce cost competitive PHAs.

How will this be used in the real world? Genecis’ engineered strain that produces PHAs has dramatically reduced the cost of making bioplastics by using a zero-cost feedstock, rather than expensive carbon sources.



Ceragen (Kitchener) is helping farmers increase crop yields through microbiome engineering.

What they’re doing: This biotech company is developing probiotics for plants to increase hydroponically grown lettuce, kale, cucumbers, and basil crop yields by 20-30%. The plant growth promoting bacteria in this product helps increase nutrient uptake and improve plants’ response to environmental stress.

How will this be used in the real world? These products have the potential to increase food production in Ontario by at least 36,000 tons, which represents an $83 million annual revenue increase for farmers.