Tell us about Ceapro. You have a unique product you produce here in the Edmonton region.
Yes, we produce oat Avenanthramides and Beta Glucan from a special oat grown here in Alberta. Consumers would best recognize the product Aveeno. We are the suppliers of the active oat extract in those products. If you use Aveeno then you have our product in your home.
More technically, Ceapro is a biotechnology company. We develop and commercialize innovative active ingredients for human and animal health markets. As we innovate, we are working with researchers such as Dr. Bernhard Seified with technology invented here in Alberta—PGX Technology or Pressurized Gas eXpanded liquids—which might be of benefit to many industries including nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals.
We are very proud of the advancement we have made with the investment in this technology and we are pleased to have the financial support of partners like the German-Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research for the commercialization of the technology here with our partners, including the University of Alberta.
You announced in September 2016 that grand opening of your new 30,000 sq ft bioprocessing extraction and manufacturing facility here in Edmonton; why did you decide to stay in this region?
We explored nine different city options for setting up our production facility and, after looking at all variables, we decided that the Edmonton region was the best location for us.
Highly-skilled labour, excellent research partnerships, close proximity to our feedstock supply, a favourable taxation environment, and excellent access to the airport for people and product were key elements in our decision-making to remain in this region. Edmonton is home to a supportive business eco-system, and working with Edmonton Economic Development and other local partners, we have been able to realize our growth potential here.
How would you describe the support you received from EEDC throughout your growth process?
Working with people at EEDC, like Brian Dumsday—an expert in supply chain management—and the team has been exciting. Brian and the EEDC team have been great supports helping us to identify opportunities, connecting us with information and partners and being solution-finders for challenges. For example, we connected with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) through EEDC and are now looking at a specialized training program for extraction technologies.
Growing a business is risky and having partners who understand that risk and will work with you on a regular basis to help—whether you are growing here or expanding to new markets—is key to making the entire effort a success.
What is next for Ceapro innovation? Anything on the horizon that excites your team?
We have made a multi-million dollar investment to further innovate our
extraction process. We use ethanol in our process and we are installing a new
system that will allow us to recycle the ethanol in the process rather than
dispose of it, and we believe this is a benefit for not only us—as a cost
reducing measure long-term—but also for the environment and the community we
are in. We are committed to minimizing waste and to developing lean
manufacturing processes that produce eco-friendly green products.