The Proof of Concept Program

July 12, 2019

NPC offers a dedicated resource to help Canadian companies and research institutions validate their products or technologies. NOTE: This article reflects program updates that came into effect December 2020.

Natural Products Canada’s new Proof of Concept Program (POC Program) addresses a consistent gap within the Canadian natural product ecosystem; funding to validate commercial applications of natural products or technologies.

“Our network has been telling us that proof of concept testing is a real challenge,” says Shelley King, CEO of Natural Products Canada. “They need to validate their products, but it’s difficult to find the funds from either government programs or private capital.”

“The program targets projects that go beyond basic research or early product development,” says King. “We’re looking at things like preliminary animal, field, demonstration or human trials that verify the commercial potential of the technology.”

The POC Program offers up to half of the project costs to a maximum of $250,000. For companies, 50% of the funds are conditionally repayable based on gross revenues generated by the resulting product or technology. For research institutions, funds are conditionally repayable based on licensing agreements.

“Repayability lets us support the developers through these commercialization hurdles so they can achieve success in the marketplace,” says King. “And when they can pay us back, we will recycle it into the next opportunity so there’s a sustained pot of money for current and future opportunities.”

King thinks the POC Program will be a game-changer for Canadian companies with promising products or technologies.

“Large corporations and investors always emphasize the need for some type of validation that the product does what it’s intended to do. It’s often their first question,” says King. “We think the POC Program is going to make it easier for more Canadian companies to rise to the top of those innovation and investment searches.”

Applications for the POC Program are accepted on an ongoing basis and can be completed online.

The Proof of Concept Program is one of three new Commercialization Programs offered by Natural Products Canada to members of Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster. For more information about the Commercialization Programs, contact Kim Johnstone, Programs Director. For more information about the Cluster, contact Sue Coueslan, VP Communications and Stakeholder Relations.