Bioscience Community Honours Sylvar Technologies with New Brunswick Bioscience Achievement AwardJenn O'Donnell September 30, 2016
Fredericton, New Brunswick (September 30th, 2016) – BioNB, New Brunswick’s bioscience agency, awarded Sylvar Technologies the New Brunswick Bioscience Achievement Award on Friday, September 30th at the annual industry event Innovation at the Station. 130 members of the business and research community gathered for the presentation of the award and the celebration of the substantial growth experienced by the province’s bioscience sector in recent years.
Sylvar Technologies is a New Brunswick-born company that develops and distributes environmentally safe technologies for pest management in agriculture, forestry, and urban-forest settings. They have commercialized two types of products, baculoviruses and pheromone technologies. These technologies control pests with the safety and precision that only biotech can provide.
“Baculoviruses are naturally occurring diseases usually found within insect populations at low levels until conditions are right,” says Sylvar CEO Stefan Richard who accepted the award on behalf of the organization. “If one out of a thousand insects gets it they pass it on, and then they pass it on, and so on and so on until the population crashes. We have been able to isolate these viruses for certain given insects.”
Sylvar is the North American leader in baculovirus products for forest protection. Their products are sprayed on agricultural or forested land to eliminate an insect population. But the baculovirus is not harmful to the environment, other animal or plant life.
“They don’t infect people and they don’t infect any other animals, only the very specific insects we are trying to control. The virus has no toxicity properties and has to be ingested by the insect to be effective.”
When the balsam fir sawfly was ravaging Newfoundland’s forests in 2005, the New Brunswick forest industry realized it was only a matter of time until this pest invaded forests at home. Understanding the threat is one thing and mitigating it is quite another, Forest Protection Limited decided to find a solution. Enter Sylvar Technologies, the “child” of Forest Protection Limited and BioNB who would produce and commercialize the tool to take out these nasty pests.
Sylvar has come a long way as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. Through strategic research partnerships, Sylvar was able to accelerate product development and grow their business. They eventually garnered the attention of Andermatt Biocontrol, a multinational biopesticide company who now counts Sylvar as a member of their group of companies. “We really want to increase our product portfolio,” Stefan stated, “and add two to three production lines focusing on agriculture. We’re in a really good position to take advantage of both our experiences and the experiences of Andermatt Biocontrol.” Based in Fredericton, Sylvar sells their products throughout North America and are working toward entering markets in Europe and South America.
The New Brunswick Bioscience Achievement Award is given out every year to an individual or organization in recognition of their contribution to the growth and promotion of the sector. Among the long list of previous winners are LaForge Bioenvironmental and LuminUltra Technologies. This year’s award was presented at Innovation at the Station, the bioscience community’s flagship networking event and celebration of Global Biotechnology Week (September 26th – October 2nd).
BioNB, celebrating its 20th anniversary, hosted Innovation at the Station with the support of the following sponsors: Grant Thornton, Opportunities NB, LuminUltra Technologies, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, the Research and Productivity Council, le Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and Ignite Fredericton.
In addition to the awards celebration, Innovation at the Station featured the launch of ExportNB, an online resource from Learnsphere to help New Brunswick companies sell into new markets; a showcase of local food from Buy Local NB, part of the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries; and the reveal of a small batch potato beer created by the Picaroons Brewtique and CCNB’s brewing technology team.
BioNB is the trusted bioscience authority in New Brunswick for government, industry, and media, translating and communicating the business opportunities behind the science. BioNB builds and enhances businesses, supports technology transfer from public institutions and the private sector, and works to build a community and enhance collaboration among sector stakeholders. BioNB is celebrating its 20th anniversary and 20 years of growth in bioscience.