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Home > About > News > NanoTess – an AICE-Validate success story
September 26, 2022
In a conversation with the CEO and COO of NanoTess, learn how accelerator programs like AICE are helping innovative ideas become successful solutions.
CALGARY, ALBERTA, September 26, 2022 – We recently sat down with NanoTess CEO, Megan Leslie and COO, Julian Mulia, to talk to them about their company and their journey through the commercialization process.
Specifically, Jon Hagan, Senior Business Partner in Marketing and Communications at Alberta Innovates, wanted to know how their access to Alberta Innovates’ Accelerating Innovation into Care (AICE)-Validate program helped NanoTess along the way.
Watch the interview with both Megan and Julian and discover something new about this innovative company and how Alberta Innovates’ programs of support might benefit your own organization.
Tell us who you are?
My name’s Megan Leslie. I’m a co-founder and CEO of NanoTess Inc.
My name is Julian Mulia and I’m a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of NanoTess.
Tell us about NanoTess Inc.
Megan Leslie: It actually was a beautiful Calgary story. Our third co-founder, Dr. Tessy Lopez, started her career in oil and gas as a specialist in catalysts. She worked with some of the bigger companies to help them refine their processes through catalytic nanoscience. From there, she ended up pivoting her career into medicine, and saw that the body was made out of similar bonds that she was manipulating within the oil and gas environment. We are now in a field that she’s created that is on the bridge of nanomedicine and catalytic designs within nanomedicine.
What are chronic wounds and diabetic foot ulcers?
Megan: Chronic wounds are a huge problem. They are so common and the problem impacts so many people, but the amount of people who actually know about it, it seems to not align to the size of the problem. Diabetic foot ulcers are just one type of chronic wound. They’re so big that every 20 seconds someone will lose a limb in the world. And from those who lose a limb, almost 70% will end up passing away within the next five years because the mortality rate of amputation is actually second only to lung cancer. So it has a higher mortality rate than any other form of cancer.
How is NanoTess tackling this problem?
Julian Mulia: Our product is called NanoSALV. It’s an antimicrobial gel that is designed as a liquid dressing. The advantage of a liquid dressing is that it moves away from all the challenges of solid dressings and patches that they never fit a wound. So you need something that conforms to all those concave surfaces or really hard to reach surfaces. That is what NanoSALV allows us to do. It creates a conforming surface that becomes a barrier for elements that would harm the wound.
Megan: We were purposeful in the design of the product in that we wanted it to be designed with the human at the center. So not thinking about it from the perspective of what is traditional within wound care and patch solutions like bandages, but really thinking about it from the perspective of how would a user want to have a product. It narrowed the field right into being a gel because concavity is an aspect of chronic wounds. They need to be able to penetrate within the wound bed and not just on the top, like our intact skin would. With the gel, we’re able to get into all those nooks and crannies within the wound.
The other piece is designing it so that it has a non-oily feel. Ours is designed with a water base so that you really have a nice, clean feeling wound. It’s part of a perception, but also a benefit of having a liquid wound dressing like a gel.
How did Alberta Innovates’ Accelerating Innovation into Care (AICE-Validate) assist NanoTess Inc.?
Julian: It would be, like the name says, validate the technology. All technology starts in the laboratory perspective, and as you keep going, there’s a lot of other challenges like manufacturing, piloting, expanding. So taking that laboratory technology all the way to pilot scale, proof of concept with certified manufacturing, it’s a huge step for our company to do in under two years that we’ve been in existence. So being able to take healthcare technology to where we are at, thankfully, it was done and supported by the programs from Alberta Innovates.
Megan: We were able to move very quickly and gain the right amount of mentorship, so we were able to design and implement a quality management system directly for NanoTess, which was then audited by a third party notary officiary in order to get our ISO for manufacturing. So we’re now able to actually manufacture medical devices from that ISO.
What’s your hope for NanoTess Inc.?
Megan: Our hope for NanoTess is that we can scale this technology so that it’s globally accessible. As a social enterprise, we have two main components to what we really want NanoTess to be, and that’s a company that has affordable products that are also accessible to all. So a balance between being a for-profit company that sustains growth, but also allowing our products to be accessed to anyone who needs them, and having different mechanisms and channels in which we can fulfill that promise to our customers.
Senior Business Partner, Health Innovation