Photodynamic-Fenol Farm – Halifax

PhotoDynamic founder Sherri McFarland is a world leader in the chemistry of light activated molecules and their applications in human health, specializing in the design of photo-activated antimicrobials and anticancer agents. In a moment of inspiration she decided to investigate whether invasive plant species including one that grows well in Nova Scotia might also be a repository of photoactive agents with therapeutic potential. In fact, she reasoned, photodynamic compounds synthesized within these plants and activated by sunlight may explain the capacity of these plants to prosper in environments that they were not adapted for, including exposure to a wide variety of unfamiliar plant pathogens. Sherri screened some of these species in her lab and discovered a particular plant extract with photodynamic inactivation efficacy greater than many well known single synthetic compounds. This plant also had a long history of safe use and an exemplary safety profile. Since that initial discovery extensive in vitro and in vivo animal studies has confirmed that this plant has these characteristics: Potent antbacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity with exposure to visible light; Able to break down biofilms such as dental plaque; Desirable safety profile and non irritating in animal studies; Formulated in a shelf stable product with a minimum two year expiry.

PhotoDynamic filed two patents to protect this discovery and recruited a world class board of directors. After raising $330K in equity PhotoDynamic developed a prototype oral light emitting device and photoactive dental foam and sponsored a human clinical study at the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, MA. The results of that study were better than expected, with statistically significant benefits realized in the oral health of difficult to treat subjects. The next step is to revolutionize oral health care starting with brace wearers by bringing them a convenient way to keep their braces clean and their gums healthy during orthodontic treatment.