Life Sciences Projects

A non-invasive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) molecular diagnostic procedure to detect Helicobacter Pylori

Spartan Bioscience is a leading biotechnology company located in Ottawa, ON, which develops point-of-care medical device platforms for DNA diagnostics. Through this collaboration with Dr. Frank Merante from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry, Spartan will expand their product offering to include a non-invasive test for H. Pylori, the cause of 60% of all stomach cancers, and the third leading cause of cancer death in China. Spartan will sell this new diagnostic test into China, opening up a new international market for the company.

Spartan Logo

 

Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Alternative reagent formulations enhancing room temperature stability for high sensitivity/specificity immunoassays

ChipCare is a Toronto-based company developing a highly versatile point-of-care (POC) diagnostics platform which will enable an unparalleled sample-to-action workflow in the clinic. The analyzer utilizes a patented approach for analyte detection and can perform multiple key assay formats including cell surface markers, proteins and nucleic acids. ChipCare is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to optimize the performance and extend the shelf-life of key components contained within single-use microfluidic cartridges. Successful completion of this project will enable ChipCare to distribute their diagnostic tests without the need for refrigeration during shipping or storage, enabling physicians to easily implement true test-and-treat options for their patients, significantly enhancing the overall quality of care. The platform and assays ChipCare is developing will improve access to affordable diagnostics, benefitting urban, rural, and remote communities.

Funder: The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Custom Cosmeceutical Formulation Exhibiting Anti-Aging and UV Protective Properties 

Starlight MedSpa, a Vaughan, Ontario based company, is a medical spa specializing in permanent hair removal and fostering efficacious skincare. Starlight is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to develop an efficacious custom cosmeceutical formulation, enabling Starlight to fulfill an unmeet need in their product pipeline and proprietary menu offering. The main properties of the product formulation are protection from damaging UV light, readily utilizable antioxidants, and potent anti-aging, skin repair components. While many cosmeceutical compositions provide one level of efficacy, the blended formulation resulting from this collaboration will provide a broad range of desirable effects and components in a single composition enabling Starlight to expand their menu offering and increase their marketplace competiveness.

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Development and optimization of downstream process for recovery of natural aldehydes from fermentation media

Ardra Inc. is a biotechnology company that manufactures high-purity, non-toxic, natural ingredients, which are suitable for use in natural flavours, perfumery and cosmetics formulations. Ardra's products, produced using fermentation of natural sugars, offer significant cost and sustainability advantages over traditional plant-based extractions. Additionally, since the products do not rely on botanical raw material, their supply is stable and devoid of seasonal variations. One of the challenges with fermentation-based production of natural ingredients is their isolation from the fermentation broth, and following purification to meet industry standards.

To solve this challenge, Ardra is collaborating with Professors Jamie Cote and Barkev Keoshkerian, from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (SBSAC). Along with their research assistants from SBSAC, Professors Cote and Keoshkerian have been working closely with Ardra to understand the existing purification process, and design and optimize new purification processeses that will further reduce production cost, and also provide a higher-purity product.. This resulting process will be directly adopted by Ardra, thereby providing immediate benefit to the company.

 

 

Funder: The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Development of Taq Stabilization Excipients and Bst DNA Polymerase

Evik Diagnostics Corp. www.evikdiagnostics.com, specializing in providing solution to room stabilized enzyme and reagents, wishes to capitalize and penetrate the progressively growing market demand for isothermal associated and polymerase chain reaction based diagnostic reagents.  Evik is collaborating for a third time with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to continue to develop and expand custom excipient and excipient-blends, enabling the diversification of enzymes and associated reagents that can be provided as ready-to-use, room stable kit friendly products. The molecular and associated diagnostics industry is poised to be one of the strongest growing sectors in the Point-of-Care (POC) markets. The continued development of excipient stabilized enzymes, reagents and kits, will be integral to the success of this industry. The availability of room temperature stable components, which includes enzymes, oligonucleotides, co-factors and buffer components will enable Evik to continue to be at the forefront of the industry as a result of its collaboration with Seneca.

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Discovery of best stabilizing agents for lyophilized enzyme and antibody reagents in long-term room temperature storage conditions

Ottawa-based Evik Diagnostics manufactures lyophilized/freeze-dried reagents for a large US environmental testing company. They are now ramping up pilot manufacturing to support entry to other export markets, including Canada. Through this project, Evik will collaborate with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) to develop of a point-of-use immunoassay employing reagents with an extended shelf life at room temperature that will complement the existing Evik product pipeline. The research focus will be on investigating novel ways to create prolonged stability through the introduction of excipients to the base reagents, and will concurrently provide the opportunity to enhance enzymatic activity and associated assay performance.

Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Formulation of cosmetics incorporating GlycolastinTM as the active ingredient

Sussex Research Laboratories Inc. is a specialty chemicals company in Ottawa, Ontario with expertise in synthesis and characterization of carbohydrate-based systems and stable isotope-labeled molecules. Sussex recently discovered that their proprietary glycopeptide GlycolastinTM has anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties; this presents an opportunity to expand into the cosmetics market. Sussex is collaborating with Professor Sharon Robertson and research assistants from the Cosmetics Science Graduate Certificate program to develop cosmetic formulations of an eye cream, face cream, and facial serum incorporating GlycolastinTM. These new formulations will enable Sussex to enter the cosmetics market and, through initial licensing deals, the company will be able to fund the development of further cosmeceutical actives and become an established brand in the cosmetics marketplace.

 

 

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Helicobacter pylori Nucleic Acid Detection from Gastric Matrix – Clinical Diagnostics Primer Set Development and Optimization

Spartan Bioscience Inc. in Ottawa Ontario is a leading biotechnology company, which develops point-of-care medical device platform and associated molecular tests for DNA-based diagnostics including pharmacogenomics and infectious disease tests. Spartan is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to design an accurate, sensitive and fast method to detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori using state-of-the art bioinformatics derived design and testing using molecular tools. H. pylori is associated with gastrointestinal diseases, such as chronic active gastritis, peptic ulcer and often, most importantly gastric adenocarcinoma. Commonly, non-specific tests of low clinical specificity are utilized, such as the presence of urease activity in the gastric tract, or highly invasive testing using gastric mucosa biopsy. A rapid, accurate, non-invasive, immediately deployable molecular test enables clinically actionable results and treatment while the patient is at the physician’s office or testing facility.

 

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Immunodiagnostics and Microfluidics Point–of–Care Testing

ChipCare Corporation is currently developing a versatile diagnostic platform, comprising a benchtop device with interchangeable cartridges capable of running molecular diagnostics, immunoassays, and cell quantification assays for testing at the point-of-care. ChipCare is collaborating in this second project with Seneca under the guidance of Dr. Frank Merante and Professor Jim Cooper and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry. The goal of the collaboration is to identify and source high-performance antibody conjugates, optimize on-cartridge performance, and incorporate novel mechanisms of blood processing in order to enhance the capabilities of ChipCare’s platform technology.

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Production of a Recombinant Improved Bacillus stearothermophilus DNA Polymerase for DASL Isothermal Amplification

Custom Biologics, an established developer of bioanalytical assays, has in-licensed a patented, isothermal, nucleic acid amplification and detection technology from GeneBio Systems Inc. The technology, known as DASL RAPID, is a rapid, sensitive and specific molecular test platform requiring the use of DNA polymerase enzymes. Custom Biologics is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to develop, utilizing protein engineering and recombinant expression technology, a more efficient Bacillus stearothermophilus (Bst) DNA polymerase, to replace the expensive, inefficient, generic enzyme currently used in Custom Biologic's DASL RAPID tests. The result will be an optimized technology platform, which will increase test speed, sensitivity and cost profile.

 

 

Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Stabilization of Amplification Associated Enzymes & Reagents Associated with Point of Care Testing

Ottawa-based Evik Diagnostics provides complete design and development services for new diagnostic products, and continuously look to increase the products and services that they can offer. To this end, Evik has collaborated with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) on further development of a custom excipient and excipient-blends to stabilize enzyme and reagents for rapid-point-of-source diagnostic testing. Current undertakings include research into the use of excipient stabilized nucleic acid thermostable amplification enzymes. This study greatly complements Evik’s primary business unit enabling the expansion of enzymes and associated reagents that can be provided as ready-to-use, room stable kit friendly products.

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

The Investigation of the Effectiveness of RealAtoms Model Kits

RealAtoms, an Etobicoke-based company, has produced the first and only molecular model kit designed to accurately demonstrate chemical reactions. RealAtoms’ models use magnets, allowing users to seamlessly change the models’ structures and geometries without having to pull apart balls and sticks. This model mimics the way molecules behave in real life, preventing common misconceptions perpetuated by conventional molecular models. RealAtoms is collaborating with Dr. Lesley Rutledge and student researcher Vimanda Chow from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to research the benefits the molecular model kits play in improving students’ understanding of chemical structures and reactions. The results of this study will measure the effectiveness of RealAtoms’ model kits against other commercially available kits; and will ultimately be used to make design improvements to the models, improve the instruction guide that teaches students how to use the product, and optimize RealAtoms’ marketing strategy.

 

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Validation of Bioinformatically Guided Supplement Design Paradigm & In vitro Efficacy Testing via a Cultured Keratinocyte Stem Cell Culture 

Mitronite, a Toronto based company, is a health science and sports nutrition supplement supplier. Their business strategy is based on the development of scientifically validated health supplements utilizing an evidence fostered development processes. Mitronite is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to formulate, validate and expand their current product menu of mitochondria targeted athletic support supplements. Mitronite, a Health Canada approved formulation (NPN 80070757 ) represents the flagship product whose performance claims were validated by a combination of in vivo (athlete studies) and in vitro (cultured muscle cells) procedures assessing mitochondrial performance, athletic performance and post-exercise recovery. Menu expansion products include Mitronite-PLUS formulations and two novel amino acid formulations for skin health and muscle augmentation derived from a tripartite collaboration among Faculty, Industry and Seneca’s Post-Graduate Bioinformatics Independent Group Project students.

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Seneca Applied Research
Seneca Innovation