Using Nanotechnology to Transform Diagnostics and Healthcare
This Sona Nanotech Inc. profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
Sona Nanotech Overview
Sona Nanotech Inc. (CSE:SONA) is a nanotechnology life science company that has developed two unique gold nanorod products: GeminiTM and OmniTM. These products allow individuals to take control of their health and help fight some of the world’s deadliest diseases. GeminiTM is a CTAB-free gold nanorod product that enables multiplexing of lateral flow diagnostic tests for multiple analytes on just one device that provides accurate results in minutes.
Lateral flow diagnostic testing platforms can confirm the absence or presence of a target analyte or contaminants. The tests are widely used in human health point-of-care testing and have a variety of other applications across numerous industries due to their versatility. Sona Nanotech’s technology offers numerous advantages over current labels when incorporated into lateral flow assays, including multiple distinct colors for simple identification and quantification measurement as well as increasing test performance by improving limits of detection and time to results.
The company has also developed OmniTM; a non-toxic gold nanorod, which is also CTAB-free, that could be used In-vivo (inside cells) for medical applications such as drug delivery, photothermal therapy and cell imaging.
Aside from its gold nanorod products, Sona Nanotech offers additional services that utilize its technology, including conjugation services, lateral flow test development and lateral flow test production. The company also offers a complete end-to-end lateral flow test solution with its partners that includes a lateral flow test reader and a mobile smartphone app that collects and stores results.
Sona Nanotech generates revenue from its products in four ways: reagent sales, contract development services, licenses and royalties and test manufacturing. Through its four revenue channels, Sona Nanotech expects to generate $35.9 million in revenue by 2025. Most of the company’s revenue is generated through its licensing and royalty agreements, where licensees pay an annual or one-time fee per license and royalties are collected each quarter on an on-going basis.
Sona Nanotech continues to develop and apply its proprietary technology to improve existing multiplex diagnostic testing platforms in the market and has partnered with numerous organizations with this in mind. The company has partnered or collaborated with others to advance its technology, reduce overhead costs and expand its distribution network.
Sona Nanotech has a commercial agreement with Expedeon AG (FWB:EXN,ISIN:DE000A1RFM03) for the distribution of the company’s technology and a collaboration agreement with Soma Bioscience for the development of two test kits. Some of the company’s other partners include Romer labs, Operon, Cape Breton University, Bond Digital Health Solutions, OLM Diagnostics and Anteo Technologies.
Sona Nanotech Company Highlights
- Sona Nanotech has developed two gold nanorod products: GeminiTM and OmniTM.
- Sona’s CTAB-free GeminiTM is a CTAB-free gold nanorod product that enables multiplexing of lateral flow diagnostic tests for multiple analytes on just one device that provides accurate results in minutes.
- GeminiTM rods offers numerous advantages over current labels when incorporated into lateral flow assays, including multiple distinct colors for simple identification and quantification measurement as well as increasing test performance by improving limits of detection and time to results
- OmniTM, a non-toxic gold nanorod, which is also CTAB-free, that could be used In-vivo (inside cells) for medical applications such as drug delivery, photothermal therapy and cell imaging.
- Sona Nanotech generates revenue through licenses and royalties as well as reagent sales, contract development services and test manufacturing.
- The company expects to generate $35.9 million in revenue by 2025 through its four revenue channels.
- Continuous product development is a cornerstone of Sona Nanotech’s business model and has led to numerous partnerships and collaborations.
- The company has partnerships in place with Expedeon, Romer labs, Soma Bioscience, Bond Digital Health, Cape Breton University, Operon and Anteo Technologies, among others.
The Market for Lateral Flow Diagnostic Testing
Lateral flow diagnostic tests are diagnostic devices that are used to confirm the absence or presence of a target analyte or contaminants. The most commonly known type of lateral flow test is the over the counter home pregnancy test. The tests typically contain one or more target lines associated with the disease or analytes you are trying to detect, as well as a control line to make sure that the device is working properly.
The tests are widely used in human health point-of-care testing and can be performed by healthcare professionals or individuals. The devices have a variety of other applications due to their versatility and are used across a variety of industries including pharmaceuticals, environmental testing, animal health, agriculture, and substance abuse.
Markets and Markets predict that the lateral flow assay market could reach US$8.7 billion by 2023. The kits and reagents and lateral flow reader segments of the market accounted for the largest portion of the market in 2017 as more kits are being used in point-of-care testing. The rise in population levels, prevalence of chronic diseases, growing pressure to reduce healthcare costs and increasing demand for patient-centric care are playing a role in the growth of the point of care testing market.
Sona Nanotech’s Gold Nanorod Technology
Traditional procedures for symptom diagnosis can take days to weeks to obtain a diagnosis, as patient samples are tested in central labs, creating patient stress and delaying treatment. The rise in lateral flow diagnostic tests being undertaken by health professionals and individuals is helping to combat this issue and has led to a greater demand for better performing tests that are easy to use and interpret. Sona Nanotech has developed gold nanorod technology that can be integrated into lateral flow assays that can improve the performance of existing tests and simplify the interpretation of results via color differentiation or quantification and data generation.
Other Products and Services
In addition to its gold nanorod technology, Sona Nanotech offers additional services that utilize its technology, including conjugation services, lateral flow test development and lateral flow test production.
Through its partners, Sona Nanotech offers an end-to-end lateral flow test service including a lateral flow test reader that is small, compact, user-friendly, wireless and cost-effective and a mobile app that collects and stores results for monitoring, predictive analysis, and epidemiology purposes.
Sona Nanotech’s Revenue Channels
Sona Nanotech generates revenue through four avenues: license and royalties, reagent sales, contract development services and test manufacturing.
The majority of Sona Nanotech’s revenue is generated through its licensing and royalty agreements. Many of the company’s partners have to pay an annual or one-time licensing fee to use the gold nanorod technology. The company also retains a royalty on any in-market sales of the tests, creating a continuous sales and revenue generation system for Sona Nanotech.
Through the company’s supply agreements, purchase orders and distribution network, Sona Nanotech makes money on the reagent sales of its gold nanorods and conjugates to lateral flow developers and researchers.
As for the contract development services, customers pay a monthly fee for the development of a lateral flow test, which can take up to 18 months to complete depending on the project. Sona Nanotech also offers test manufacturing services where the company outsources the test manufacturing to a third-party manufacturer.
Through its four revenue channels, Sona Nanotech expects to generate $35.9 million in revenue by 2025.
Sona Nanotech’s Partnerships and Agreements
As part of the company’s business model, Sona Nanotech has partnered or collaborated with others to advance its technology. By partnering with others, Sona Nanotech can reduce its time-to-market while accelerating R&D initiatives for new products, build a better product offering by providing third-party verification for in-house development data and distribute its products through its partner’s distribution channels. The company also cuts its overhead costs by forming partnerships, letting Sona Nanotech focus on the production of its gold nanorods and integration of the rods into partner’s tests.
To date, the company has partnered with Bond Digital Health Solutions, Soma Bioscience, opTricon (now owned by Chembio) OLM Diagnostics, Operon, Anteo Technologies, Romer labs, Cape Breton University, Clemson University and China Agricultural University (Now Beijing University).
In October 2018, Sona Nanotech signed an agreement with Expedeon AG, a global provider of innovative technologies and services for the life sciences and diagnostic industries. The deal gave Expedeon the exclusive rights to promote and market Sona Nanotech’s Gemini and Omni products to life science researchers and diagnostic companies through its extensive global distribution network and sales channels.
Sona Nanotech later entered a commercial agreement with Expedeon in August 2019 to address limitations in the development of point-of-care lateral flow assay diagnostic tests. Under the terms of the agreement, Expedeon will provide spherical gold nanoparticle and bioconjugation technologies and Sona Nanotech will provide its lateral flow assay development services and nanorod technology.
The agreement is expected to provide near-term and ongoing revenue generation for both companies. It will also allow for the rapid development of more complex and multiplex immunoassays as Sona Nanotech is exposed to Expedeon’s global consumer base.
In September 2018, Sona Nanotech signed a collaboration agreement with Soma BioScience to produce new diagnostic tests. Soma is a UK-based life sciences company that specializes in real-time, saliva-based analytics using lateral flow technology for professional athletes, sports clubs and associations. The companies are working on two projects together: one to improve the performance of an existing test in Soma’s current product range and one to develop a new test that Soma is expected to launch to market in 2020 to expand its product offering, grow its existing market (elite sports) and open new markets in the clinical and animal health markets.
“Soma sells its products into global territories including Malaysia, Australia, the UK and Europe. Integrating Sona’s gold nanorods with Soma’s unique lateral flow platform in existing products offered in the market and their new product pipeline opens up a new market segment (elite sports) for Sona and I’m excited to build on its potential with a trusted partner in Soma,” said Sona Nanotech CEO Darren Rowles.
Sona Nanotech’s Management Team
Darren Rowles — President and CEO
As a commercially minded scientist, Darren Rowles joined Sona after 14 years of experience in the diagnostic and nanoparticle industry. He previously worked for one of the leading providers of technologies to the global diagnostics market, where he specialized in product manufacture and development in the area of noble metal nanoparticles and lateral flow diagnostics.
Rowles is a key opinion leader at industry seminars and conferences and acts as an advisory board member to the World Gold Council. Enthusiastic, driven and goal-oriented, he is ideally suited to lead Sona into its next phase of growth. His knowledge and experience will be vital as the company develops its product range and introduces them to new markets.
Kulbir Singh — CTO and Founder
As one of the original founders of Sona, Kulbir Singh is an expert in metal nanoparticle fabrication and surface chemistry. He has 15 years of experience in colloidal chemistry and is a named author on 35 research papers and patents. At Sona, he is responsible for new product development and leading experimentation projects with collaboration partners. As a business-minded scientist, Singh has co-founded another consumer company that has developed and commercialized innovative, scent-free and environmentally-friendly products for the education, sports, oilfield and consumer products markets.
Mike McAlduff — Director of R&D and Production and Founder
As one of the founders of Sona, Mike McAlduff has 15 years of experience in surfactant and colloidal chemistry, including cancer research. He is a named author of six research papers and two patents. At Sona, he manages the production of the company’s gold nanorods and is responsible for quality assurance and quality control.
Robert Randall — CFO and Corporate Secretary
A Chartered Accountant with more than 25 years of experience. Background in public company reporting, offshore structuring, mining and exploration. Strong working knowledge of complex transactions, including gold sales, financial derivatives, equity financing, IFRS conversion and implementation, consolidation and fair value adjustments. Skilled at implementing internal/external financial reporting systems, including establishing remote access at off-site facilities. Strong leader with a natural ability to organize, motivate and lead teams.
Wade Dawe — Chairman
Wade Dawe is an accomplished entrepreneur, financier and investor, who strategically approaches each new business opportunity with measured risk-taking to drive value and strong shareholder returns. During his career, he has completed deals valued in excess of $1 billion for both private and public companies. He has also founded or co-founded many successful companies, including Keeper Resources Inc. (2003), which was sold for $51.6 million in 2008, and Brigus Gold Corp (2010), which was acquired by Primero Mining Corp in 2014 in an all-share deal valued at $351 million.
Since 2005, Dawe has been actively involved as the principal financier of TSX-listed biotechnology company Immunovaccine Inc. He is also CEO and a Board Member of Torrent Capital, and serves as Board Chair of Pivot Technologies. He is currently the Principal, Chairman and CEO of Numus Financial. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Memorial University, where he established and personally funds the annual James R. Pearcey Entrepreneurial Scholarship, and also serves on the Advisory Board to the Faculty of Business Administration.
Dan Whittaker — Director
Dan Whittaker is a financial executive with more than 30 years of experience in the investment industry with broad public market exposure. He served over 10 years with one of Canada’s largest financial institutions and has played an integral role in the founding, financing, growth and management of several publicly-listed junior resource companies, including Jilbey Exploration, Ucore Rare Metals Inc. and GoGold Resources Inc. He is currently chairman, president and CEO at Antler Gold Inc., a gold exploration company.
Whittaker holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics Degree and a Masters of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He has also held the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst from the CFA Institute since 1995.
Robert McKay — Director
Robert McKay is an accomplished entrepreneur having successfully owned and operated businesses in the hospitality industry for over 25 years, where his proficiency in cost control and meticulous attention to detail has delivered long term success. He is currently the president of two private companies that have commercial and residential property interests in northern and southern Ontario and in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He was previously on the board of Stockport Exploration Inc. since 2012, prior to its RTO with Sona and currently owns and operates a La Carnita franchise in Toronto. McKay received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Economics) from the University of Western Ontario and currently resides in Espanola, Ontario.
Michael Gross — Director
Dr. Michael Gross has extensive capital markets experience, having served as either an executive or as a director with a number of venture-stage companies. He was a founder of Linear Gold and Linear Metals and stayed through the development of the company to Brigus Gold before its sale to Primero. He is now a board member of Fortune Bay. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Boomerswork, a startup company working to provide a platform of benefits for Boomers as they transition from work to retirement.
Dr. Gross has been a professor of orthopaedic surgery for over 40 years. He has consulted extensively in the design of prostheses and implantation techniques with the orthopaedic manufacturing industry. Dr. Gross is also the founder of a startup company specializing in post-surgical discharge out patient management, for which he has recently received independent investment funding. He received his degree in medicine from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in England. He obtained a Fellowship in Surgery in London and a Canadian Fellowship in Orthopaedic Surgery in 1981. Dr. Gross has completed the Rotman Directorship program and is a member of the Institute of Directors. He is the Medical Director of the Regional Tissue bank which is ISO-certified.
Zephaniah Mbugua — Director
Zephaniah Gitau Mbugua is a founder member and currently the Chief Executive Officer of Abcon Group of Companies, a diversified group of companies involved in industrial products and water treatment. He is also a Director on the board of Proctor & Allan E.A. Ltd., Zeniki Investments Limited, Impax Business Solutions Ltd. (as Chairman), Wananchi Group (Holdings) Ltd., Trans-Africa Energy Ltd. (as Chairman) and Strathmore University Foundation (as Chairman). He also sits on the Advisory Board of Strathmore Business School.
Mbugua holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Makerere University where he graduated in 1975. He has also attended various management courses including the advanced management program offered by Strathmore College in conjunction with IESE Business School, Spain. He is passionate about creating enterprises and has helped mentor a lot of young entrepreneurs.
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