The three Maritime provinces have teamed up with the Business Development Bank and a private-sector technology fund to create a regional venture capital fund.

There's $48.5 million in the "Build Ventures" fund. Governments in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia each invested $15 million, while P.E.I. added $2.5 million.

The fund will make investments between $1 to 5 million in early-stage companies with products or services in the life science and information technology sectors.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said he first proposed the idea because the region wasn't capitalizing enough on the work being done at universities.

"Despite the fact that we have these extraordinary research institutions all around us, we don’t have access to venture capital funding that allows that intellectual capital to be set free," said Dexter. "That’s a tragedy as far as I’m concerned."


Dr. Daniel Boyd, centre, and his team meet with the premier in their ABK lab. (Jennifer Henderson/CBC)


The decisions about which companies will receive financing will be made by the fund's private sector managers and not the governments involved.

"We're putting it into a bigger fund, it leverages more money. We are getting government out of the way and we are putting it in the hands of private sector fund managers," said the premier.

Dr. Daniel Boyd's company produces tiny biodegradable beads that stop blood flow to shrink tumours.

ABK Biomedical has received more than $1 million from ACOA and Innovacorp.

He said the new fund could get the product to market.

"We can get it to a certain point and then to try and raise the multiple of millions of dollars to mobilize the globalization of the technology is difficult right now," he said.

Dexter said he is still hoping to convince Newfoundland and Labrador to participate.