The Sona Story
From an idea formed in a small laboratory in a university to a globally distributed product range, the Sona story is one of people, passion, and perseverance.
It started in 2013 when Dr. Gerrard Marangoni, professor of chemistry at St Francis Xavier University, launched a research project into gold nanorods, intrigued as to why they weren’t being used more widely.
“I quickly discovered that the presence of cytotoxins in the gold nanorods is a very important barrier to their adoption,” he said.
The presence of the cytotoxin CTAB (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) meant gold nanorods could not be used in-vivo.
For more than a decade, manufacturers of gold nanorods had been approaching the CTAB problem by coating, removing or exchanging it and hoping for the best, but Dr. Marangoni had a simpler solution:
“Why not make gold nanorods without CTAB altogether?”
So, Dr. Marangoni tasked his research associates, Dr. Kulbir Singh and Dr. Mike McAlduff, with developing toxin-free gold nanorods that could be manufactured cost-effectively and at volume.
After four months of experimenting with different methods and chemicals, the team had its ‘eureka’ moment when it finally succeeded in developing gold nanorods free of CTAB.
That’s when Sona Nanotech was born – Sona being the Hindi word for gold. Sona’s inception was followed by two years of hard work to perfect the process and develop the ability to synthesize high volumes of high-quality gold nanorods.
In 2015, Sona engaged Numus Financial Inc. to act as a funding partner and to provide business consulting support. Over the next three years, Numus worked privately with Sona to prepare the company for its public listing, including recruiting Darren Rowles and David Regan, establishing the Company’s Board of Directors and governance policy, assisting with regulatory requirements and submission, as well as supporting Sona with accounting and administrative services. Numus led a successful listing for Sona on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) in October 2018. Numus’ EMD, Numus Capital Corp., has completed multiple private placements on Sona’s behalf. Numus continues to work as a strategic advisor to Sona and is expected to be an important financial partner going forward.
Today, in addition to its COVID-19 rapid antigen test, Sona has two gold nanorod products – Gemini, for diagnostic uses, and Omni, for medical applications – and is in communication with researchers in academia and industry across the world about commercializing its breakthrough development, with several collaborations already underway.
Sona’s President, Darren Rowles, has 15 years of experience working closely with gold nanoparticle technology, as well as a business-focused mentality, a combination that will take the company to new heights.
In 2018 Sona did a reverse merger with Stockport Exploration, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and relocated to new laboratory space at the Innovacorp Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The journey to bring the company where it is today has been tough and rewarding in equal measure, but the journey ahead promises to be even more exciting.