Fibria acquires 18 per cent of Spinnova Fibria, a Brazilian forestry company and producer of eucalyptus pulp from planted forests, has signed an agreement to acquire a minority interest in Finnish-based Spinnova and partner in the development, production and marketing of new materials using its technologies. Spinnova is a startup that develops “low-cost and environmentally sustainable technologies” for making fabrics. The technologies uses wood fibres to produce filaments and yarns that can replace cotton, viscose and other raw materials in both woven and nonwoven applications. Fibria will pay five million euros for 18 per cent of Spinnova’s capital. Under the shareholders’ agreement, Fibria will have the right to appoint one member to Spinnova’s board of directors. “The partnership strengthens Fibria’s positioning for the development of new high-value products that go beyond the commodity concept and complement our global leadership in eucalyptus pulp production. The acquisition of an interest in Spinnova strengthens our portfolio of investments in companies with the capacity to offer solutions for problems related to climate change and the low-carbon economy,” said Fibria CEO, Marcelo Castelli. “The new partnership with Fibria will help Spinnova grow our business faster and significantly enhance our global competitiveness,” added Janne Poranen, Spinnova CEO and founder. “We value highly this win-win partnership with a lot of strategic level synergies and a shared vision. We have been impressed with Fibria’s ability to work with a small technology company when actively looking for new business opportunities.” The agreement signed between the Brazilian forestry company and the Finnish startup features a joint investment in the development of a pilot production line for testing the feasibility of Spinnova’s technologies and production on a pre-commercial scale. If the project reaches the commercial phase, the two companies could create a joint venture for producing and marketing products. “The partnership strengthens our competitive innovation DNA and puts us at the technological forefront in the production of wood-based textile fibres,” said Fibria technology and innovation director Fernando Bertolucci. BioInnovation Challenge announces semi-finalists The semi-finalists have been chosen for the 2017 edition of The BioInnovation Challenge (BIC). Scott Moffitt, managing director of BioNova, the host of BIC, has named the semi-finalists who will take part in the program have been selected. The semi-finalists will receive professional pitch training between now and the semi-final run off, which will be held in Halifax on October 17. The program is part of a regional collaboration between BioNova, BioNB and PEI BioAlliance, its sister organizations in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The program allows up and coming life sciences companies to compete in the challenge and kick start their success. “We’re very excited about this year’s BioInnovation Challenge,” said Moffitt. “We have a number of brand new semi-finalists which shows that, year over year, this region is producing great life science ideas and great innovators.” Moffitt also notes that, “we are continuing to see exciting, new innovations as the BioInnovation Challenge evolves to offer more and more support for early stage companies.” The semi-finalists are: • Tieös Pharmaceuticals Inc. from New Brunswick • Neck Tronics Inc. from Nova Scotia • IPSNP Computing Inc. from New Brunswick • Heterogeneous Nanosystems Ltd. from Nova Scotia • Zecken Laboratories from New Brunswick • ADDtext Inc. from Nova Scotia • Pfera Inc. from New Brunswick • Canuevo Biotech Inc. from New Brunswick The winner of the BioInnovation Challenge will receive a $15,000 seed investment and a package of support services and mentoring valued at more than $30,000. The 2017 BIC is presented by BioNova in partnership with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, BioNB, Emergence, Dalhousie University Industry Liaison and Innovation, Springboard Atlantic, Jennifer Cameron PR, JLT, Sandler Training and Grant Thornton. BIC will take place over two days in October. The eight semifinalists will present to a panel of judges on October 17 at the Life Sciences Research Institute. The winner will be announced at the close of BioPort Atlantic on October 18. Enerlab to produce insulation panels using lignin An insulation manufacturer based in St- Mathieu de Beloeil, Que., has received federal funding for its project to replace petroleum-based raw materials with lignin. Enerlab 2000 plans to use its iso-lignin technology to produce insulating and structural panels made with lignin from pulp and paper processes. The project is expected to cut Enerlab’s production cost of raw materials by 20 per cent, as well as reduce the company’s environmental footprint. Natural Resources Canada’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program announced $1.34 million in funding to Enerlab 2000 to support the lignin project. “[This] announcement is a further example of our government’s dedication to supporting renewable resources to further the advancement of clean technology in Canada. By using a waste product of the pulp and paper process in place of petroleum-based raw materials, Enerlab is helping address the challenge of climate change,” Michel Picard, MP for Montarville. The IFIT program was given $55 million over three years on June 1 as part of the $867 million the federal government committed to support workers and communities affected by the U.S. duties on softwood lumber.
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