Pasadena, Newfoundland and Labrador

Swiftsure Snags $55,000 Prize At BioInnovation Challenge

A Newfoundland company developing a new technology to help patients on ventilators has won BioNova’s 10th annual BioInnovation Challenge (BIC) business pitch competition.

With the win, Swiftsure Innovations scooped up a $55,000 prize that included $25,000 of seed funding and an advisory services package worth $30,000.

Swiftsure was founded by Deanne McCarthy, a nurse who’s developing an endotracheal tube that will “revolutionize oral care” for mechanically ventilated patients. The project is particularly timely, as ventilators are often used to help treat patients with severe Covid-19 symptoms.

“The BioInnovation Challenge gave us the opportunity to really hone our business plan and strategy,” McCarthy said. “We have benefited not only from winning but from the program and training provided as a whole.”

McCarthy won out over seven other semi-finalists for the BIC prize. Together, all eight semi-finalists have raised more than $1-million dollars since the start of the year, making 2020 one of the most competitive years in the competition’s history.

The BIC has run for 10 years and is one of the longest-running business competitions in Atlantic Canada. More than 50 companies have gone through the program since 2011, many going on to raise millions. ABK BioMedical, the first-place winner of BIC 2011, raised a record-setting $30-million of venture capital in 2019.

The challenge ran this year during BioNova’s BopPort conference, which took place in Halifax this week and is the largest health and life sciences event in Atlantic Canada.

“This year’s competition highlights the strong leadership and innovation coming from health and life sciences startups in the region and the need for continued support programs like the BioInnovation Challenge,” Scott Moffitt, the executive director of BioNova, said in a news release.

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