He found a business opportunity in affordable medicines
Creating jobs for Islanders -
Mohammed Moin remembers the brush with illness that set him on a path to founding bioscience company Somru BioActives.
“I was in my last year in high school - at home in Bangladesh - when my father became seriously ill with esophageal cancer,” Moin said. “The medicines required cost much more than my family could afford to pay.
“I remembered this, and when I came to Canada as a foreign student I was interested in seeing how medicines can be made more affordable and accessible to more people.”
Today, Moin is an experienced IT professional and co-owns Somru, which recently expanded at Charlottetown’s Biocommons business park. He co-founded the company with his brother, and together they have built a business that helps companies test medicines and conduct research that will meet the standards of Canadian and U.S. pharmaceutical regulators.
“Our primary clients are companies interested in producing ‘biosimilars’, which are generic versions of medicines,” he said. “We offer a testing kit which can save them millions of dollars in research, meaning the medicine can go to the public sooner and be available more affordably.”
The success of Somru has meant an increase in terms of both value and employment. The company began with Moin and his brother employing a single scientist at the National Research Council incubator space on the UPEI campus. Today the company has 14 employees and moved into a new 5,000 square foot building at the Biocommons in summer 2017
Moin said the company has been careful to expand without going into major debt. This includes using modular design for its building that can be expanded by 5,000 square foot increments while still operating.
“We’re looking now at a situation where we can realistically expand to 20,000 square feet and to 200 employees in five years,” he said.
Moin said he has been consistently impressed by the support he has received from the Island community.
“I have found the university community, the business community, and the government to be eager to help you succeed,” he said. “I came to UPEI because they had a co-op program that let me work as a foreign student. When I started my business, I had the incubator space where I could get access to expensive equipment that I only needed temporarily.
“Government has been there to encourage and assist me with my business launch and growth.”