Ontario Agri-Food Alliance announces latest recipients of Gryphon’s LAAIR grants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 22, Guelph, ON—As part of Canadian Innovation Week, The Research Innovation Office at the University of Guelph (UofG), funded by the Ontario government through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, hosted the first annual Gryphon’s LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition. The event, held on May 21, celebrated the amazing innovators who are putting knowledge into action in ways that have an impact on the Ontario economy and beyond. During the event, six corporations who have roots in the UofG research community pitched for a chance to win $17,500 in cash prizes.

“The Gryphon’s LAAIR program helps UofG researchers to launch innovations into the marketplace. Having supported more than 50 projects since 2014, Gryphon’s LAAIR funding has turned university knowledge into valuable outputs that have generated new enterprises, enhanced business productivity, created jobs, and improved prosperity and people’s lives,” notes Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President Research at the University of Guelph.

LifeScanner was chosen by a jury of high-profile industry judges as the $7,500 grand prize winner of the Gryphon’s LAAIR Innovation Pitch. We Vitro Inc. was chosen as the People’s Choice winner and will receive $5,000 to invest in the growth of their venture. Other pitch teams included FloNergia Inc., Griffinix Inc., SP Nutraceuticals Inc., and eQcell Inc.

Earlier in the day Dr. Sherri Cox, Executive Director of Research Innovation and Knowledge Mobilization, announced the latest recipients sharing a total of $420,000 in Gryphon’s LAAIR funding. Made possible by the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, Gryphon’s LAAIR Grants are ideal for identifying target markets and testing concepts with end users.

“Developing and bringing new agri-food products, practices and services to market creates jobs, grows our economy and helps farm businesses succeed,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By investing in research innovation and commercialization, our government is helping to keep Ontario’s agri-food sector strong and competitive.”

The province is investing $420,000 towards ten Gryphon’s LAAIR projects to help students and researchers conduct market research and create new technologies, such as:
· Developing of a soy-based fermented cheese
· Manufacturing plant-based meat
· Developing compostable vegetable packaging
· Assessing the market an equine stem cell service and therapeutic biobank
· Evaluating the market for a maple syrup protein capsule
· Assessing the market for protein-rich peach crisps and powder.


The Gryphon’s LAAIR
The Gryphon’s LAAIR (Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research) is an Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance funding program that began in 2014 as a collaboration between the Ontario government and UofG to support the commercialization of research findings. The program accelerates the development of new products, processes and technologies based on innovative research results, which will benefit the Ontario agri-food and rural sectors.

About The Research Innovation Office (RIO)
The Research Innovation Office moves on-campus discoveries out to the communities where they will have the most impact. RIO offers four main service streams – Industry Liaison (making connections between faculty and industry), Technology Transfer (advising faculty, staff and students on intellectual property rights), Knowledge Mobilization (helping to translate UofG research into real world applications through connection and knowledge exchange with decision makers), and New Venture Creation (help bring product or service ideas developed by researchers to market).

About Canadian Innovation Week
Powered by the Rideau Hall Foundation, the annual Canadian Innovation Week brings together partners and stakeholders from the innovation ecosystem to connect, cultivate and celebrate Canadian innovation.


MEDIA: Interviews and more information available upon request.

Lori Bona-Hunt, Director, Integrated Communications at the University of Guelph
519 824-4120, Ext. 53338


FloNergia Inc.
Named by the Globe and Mail as an important Canadian Clean Tech Company to Watch in 2019 and achieving finalist status in Fast Company’s 2018 World Changing Ideas Award competition, FloNergia Inc. is commercializing airlift pumps that substantially reduce energy use in aquaculture, hydroponic, and aquaponic production systems.
· Aquaculture, Aquaponics, Hydroponics methods and industry barriers
· Energy conservation

Biolytica Inc.
DNA sequencing and analysis is made more accessible and portable by Biolytica Inc. Their lead product the Lifecanner Species Identification Kit and companion App is empowering ‘citizen scientists’ and others to use new tools and information to better understand and document the diversity of life around them.
· DNA barcoding
· Food fraud
· Food Traceability
· Wildlife Fraud

Griffinix Inc.
Using an artificial intelligence based controller system that provides timely and efficient responses to cyber-attacks, Griffinix Inc. is helping to build more secure, predictive and resilient computer systems. Their technology has applications across industries and sectors and can be used to protect sensitive information for parties as diverse as agricultural groups, health care providers and the Department of National Defence.
· Cyber security
· Cyber Forensics
· Threat Intelligence

We Vitro Inc.
Targeting large scale cannabis producers and their needs for product consistency, the We Vitro growth system is a novel yet versatile plant tissue culture devices ideally suited to commercial settings needing to scale plant production. By redesigning traditional equipment, We Vitro Inc. has created space saving, low labour and maintenance solutions, putting them at the forefront of the tissue culture industry.
· Plant variety preservation (bananas, orchids, cannabis)
· Plant tissue culture propagation

SP Nutraceuticals Inc.
Through the discovery and development of novel food and plant-based molecules, SP Nutraceuticals Inc. is developing natural products designed to improve the lives and health of people who would otherwise need prescription medications. They are working with the molecule Avocatin B, which has demonstrated an ability to kill leukemia stem cells, delay the onset of insulin resistance and aid in weight loss.
• Nutraceuticals
• Plant derived health therapies for cancer, diabetes, kidney stones
• Health properties of avocadoes

eQcell Inc.
eQcell Inc. gives veterinarians and trainers an opportunity to repair injured equine athletes with cutting edge stem cell therapies. eQcell technology not only reduces the suffering of these animals but allows them to return to their intended careers with high functionality to live productive lives.
· Equine health: racing, equestrian athletics, etc.
· Humane animal care
· Stem cell immune therapy