R-Biopharm invests $250k to create allergen management centre

Photo L-R: Kurt Johnson, R-Biopharm Inc.; Samuel Godefroy, INAF; Jesse Vincent-Herscovici, Mitacs; Renée Michaud, INAF; Carl Viel, Québec International; Yannick Riou, Diana Food; and Yves Desjardins, INAF.

R-Biopharm is to create a food allergen management centre with Université Laval’s Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF).

The firm is setting up a new entity, based in Quebec City: R-Biopharm Canada, and investing an initial US$250,000 to support applied research efforts to develop, validate and disseminate allergen detection methods.

The investment will help fund post-doctoral fellows and graduate students as well as targeted research in allergen management, under the leadership of Dr Samuel Godefroy, a professor of Food Risk Analysis at the Department of Food Sciences of Université Laval and a researcher of INAF (Institut sur la nutrition et les aliments fonctionnels).

Food allergen expertise

Dr Godefroy said it was an encouraging start for a centre of expertise on food allergens at INAF.

“We are hopeful that our partnership will lead to a platform on food risk analysis, equipped to address emerging food safety issues in Canada and internationally.”

The R-Biopharm Canada/INAF partnership is starting operations this month and has contacted partners domestically and internationally to maximize the impact of research outputs.

Kurt Johnson, CEO of R-Biopharm Inc. in the US and R-Biopharm Canada, said there was potential development through investment in new areas of risk analysis in support of formulating science-driven food regulatory policies.

“As a leading food diagnostics company, investing in enhanced food allergen management, offers us the opportunity to better contribute in improving the safety of food products offered to allergic consumers not only in Canada, but worldwide.”

The announcement was made at BENEFIQ 2016, a meeting on health ingredients organized by INAF in Quebec City in October.

Quebec International, which supports establishment of foreign investors in the region, emphasized the importance of translating research initiatives into business opportunities.

Partnership to support research

At the same event, Mitacs, a Nestlé partner, Université Laval and Altrove Innovation partnered to support industry-academic research.

The national not-for-profit research and training organization said the move will fund a business development position in Quebec City.

They will work to identify and develop R&D opportunities in Canada for joint projects between Mitacs, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF) at Université Laval, Altrove and Nestlé.

Renée Michaud, executive director of development at INAF, said it was ‘proud’ to be part of the partnership which improves connection between research and business.

“It will contribute to the emergence and development of the next generation of foods for tomorrow. Nestlé’s interest is not only in the expertise we have, but also in our national and international network's strength.”

Eric Bosco, chief business development officer at Mitacs, said: “This partnership is a testament to the growing potential of Quebec and Canada’s research expertise in nutrition, nutraceuticals, and functional foods, which Mitacs is eager to support.”

Altrove Innovation is a management consulting company, creator of the digital tool AIM (Altrove Innovation Measurement).

Diana Food, which acquired Nutra Canada, was also at the event due to a research partnership with INAF.

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