London Inc. Weekly 07 • 19 • 2019

Comet Bio secures new round of equity financing, establishes Chicago office 

Photo: Comet Bio’s new round of equity financing will allow the company to further commercialize its two flagship products

COMET BIO, A London-based manufacturer of sustainable ingredients for use in supplements, foods and beverages, has closed a round of equity financing with current investors that will allow it to commercialize its flagship products, Arabinoxylan Plant Fiber Extract and Sweeterra syrups, both of which are made from crop leaves and stalks leftover after a farm’s harvest.

Existing investors Sofinnova Partners, based in Paris, France, and PM Equity Partner, the corporate venture capital and private equity investment arm of Philip Morris International, participated in the financing.

“Our products are in high demand because they address consumers’ interest in gut health and sugar reduction,” said Comet Bio CEO, Rich Troyer. “We are pleased to have the ongoing support and confidence of our investors to successfully bring these products to market.”

Comet Bio will use the funds to deepen their partnerships to serve food and beverage customers, launch supplement and health food products, complete additional clinical trials to further establish the healthy features of the company’s products and expand its supply chain to meet increasing customer demands.

The company has also established their U.S. headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, which will house the company’s administrative and commercial functions. Comet Bio chose Chicago for its U.S. headquarters because of the significant number of food and nutrition companies headquartered in the city.

Based in London and Schaumburg, Illinois, Comet Bio upcycles crop leftovers into healthy and sustainable ingredients for use in supplements, foods and beverages. The company’s two flagship products are Sweeterra syrup blends and Arabinoxylan Plant Fiber Extract dietary fibre.


London Chamber to host Canada’s Trade Accelerator Program

Photo: The London Chamber is hosting the Trade Accelerator Program for the first time in London in October 

THE LONDON CHAMBER of Commerce has announced that it will be hosting the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) for the first time in the city this coming October. 

TAP provides companies with access to Canada’s top exporting advisors, resources and contacts, giving them the training and support they need to become successful international traders in their specific business sector. TAP is a four-day program held over a six-week period.

Although small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and service professionals make up 99 per cent of all businesses in Canada, only 4 per cent of them are exporting. TAP aims to change that by helping SMEs overcome barriers to international trade.

“Local businesses are looking for ways to scale up, and global trade is one of the fastest and most effective ways to achieve that growth,” commented Gerry Macartney, CEO of London Chamber of Commerce. “Since the TAP program has seen tremendous success in other parts of Canada, it made sense to offer this program to support the business community here in London.”

This four-day session (October 10, 11, 18 and November 22) is extremely hands-on, and features a combination of workshops, case studies, presentations and one-on-one mentoring. By the end of the session, program participants will complete a written comprehensive export plan and begin its implementation.

Launched in the Greater Toronto Area in 2015, TAP has helped more than 500 Canadian companies trade globally. TAP graduates report an average growth of 42 per cent in export sales one year after participation, and more than 85 per cent of participants have entered new markets since completing the course.


Sernova Corp. advances proprietary Cell Pouch System

Photo: Sernova Corp. president and CEO, Dr. Philip Toleikis

LONDON-BASED SERNOVA Corp. announced this week that its human Phase I/II U.S. clinical trial for type-1 diabetes is advancing with additional patients for device and cell transplantation.

Sernova is developing regenerative medicine therapeutic technologies using a medical device (Sernova’s patented Cell Pouch System) and immune protected therapeutic cells (human donor cells, corrected human cells and stem-cell derived cells) to improve the treatment and quality of life of people with chronic metabolic diseases such as insulin- dependent diabetes and blood disorders through replacement of proteins or hormones missing or in short supply within the body.

Sernova’s Cell Pouch transplanted with islet cells demonstrated initial safety, as well as key efficacy measures, including glucose-stimulated blood levels of C-peptide, insulin and additional measures of glucose control in the first study patient with type-1 diabetes and severe hypoglycemia unawareness.

“The preliminary clinical data achieved in this patient with our pre-vascularized implanted Cell Pouch represent an early clinical validation for our regenerative medicine technologies as we pursue safe, efficacious and transformative treatments for patients with hypoglycemia unawareness in type-1 diabetes,” said Dr. Philip Toleikis, president and CEO of Sernova Corp. “With these data from our current clinical trial, in conjunction with our advancing hemophilia A, hypothyroid and diabetes stem cell programs, we believe Sernova is closer to achieving significant advancements in regenerative medicine treatment.”

Sernova says it will continue to actively recruit and enroll subjects in the clinical study, and is expecting to report further data in the second half of 2019.


London first North American municipality to launch app-free parking technology

Photo: The new HonkTAP technology uses near-field communication technology for payment

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HonkMobile (Honk), the City of London is the first city in North America to roll out the HonkTAP option to pay for parking on all on- and off- street parking locations.

HonkTAP uses near-field communication (NFC) technology for payment, allowing drivers to simply tap their phone on the designated NFC-enabled signage and walk away. This makes paying for municipal parking faster and easier.

“This is an innovative and welcome addition for London residents—especially those who work, live or shop downtown,” said London Mayor Ed Holder. “The more options we have for parking, the easier it is for people to enjoy all our city has to offer.”

To pay for parking using the service, drivers simply tap their phone on Honk’s NFC-enabled signage that can be found on every parking meter (digital display and coin operated) in the City of London.

Drivers are then automatically directed to a guest checkout page where they can input their license plate number and select the amount of parking desired.

“We’re very excited to partner with London once again and become the first city in North America to bring tap-to-pay NFC enabled payment to parking,” said Honk founder and CEO, Michael Back. “This is truly a game changer for municipal parking. HonkTAP has the same performance of a pay station without the prohibitive cost, and all the functionality of the app without the download and registration. More choice ways to pay for drivers is a huge win for everyone in London—residents and visitors alike.”

The service accepts Apple Pay, PayPal and all major credit cards. Drivers can opt-in to receive text notifications when their parking is set to expire, and can add time remotely from their phones.

Purchase history, changing vehicles and many other features can be accessed by signing up for a free Honk account. Older smartphones that do not accommodate NFC get the same great experience from scanning a QR code with their phone’s camera.

Toronto-based Honk is North America’s leading provider of both on-demand mobile payments and advance reservations for parking, accepted at over 2,000 locations representing 250,000 parking spaces across Canada and the United States.


Featured Business Event

Christopher Clark — In-Store Author Signing | July 28, 2019, 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Local writer and frequent London Inc. contributor Christopher Clark will be meeting readers and signing his latest novel at Chapters, 1037 Wellington Road, on Sunday, July 28, from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Tangled Strings is a thriller about international gambling and tennis match-fixing. “Players in small tournaments with little prize money often are approached to throw a match or a game,” Clark explains. “Gamblers pay them more than they could earn in the tournament and then win millions betting on guaranteed outcomes. It happens all the time and has proven impossible to stop.”

This is Clark’s second novel. His first, Pulling Strings, is about baseball, murder and U.S. presidential politics.

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