Negatives into positives

Delivra CEO credits Prince Edward Island for much of his success

Published on August 2, 2015

By Margaret Magner-Special to The Guardian

Was faced with a deeply personal challenge. His wife, suffering from painful nerve damage, had been bedridden for 14 months. Pain specialists were unable to relieve her discomfort. Oral medications had undesirable side effects, and topical medications were often unpredictable.

Gabriele was determined to discover an alternative approach to pain management. With a Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology, he collaborated with a skin chemist to create a better way to deliver medication. The result is Delivra, a natural yet revolutionary transdermal delivery technology that penetrates deep into the skin to reach muscles, joints and other tissue.

Six years later, Delivra Inc. is an emerging world leader in transdermal delivery in the pharmaceutical and natural-health industries. Dr. David Baranowski, director of research for its Charlottetown-based R&D, says “Delivra’s mantra is pain relief. With a proprietary transdermal product of natural ingredients and extracts, we can focus on regionalized pathologies rather than the entire body.”

Delivra has products for nerve pain relief, wound healing, varicose vein circulation, and joint pain due to inflammation – now found in 5000 Canadian stores and number-one best sellers. Delivra’s LivSport pre- and post-workout creams maximize performance and improve recovery.

Gabriele credits Prince Edward Island for much of his success. “In P.E.I., it’s all about innovation. The climate here is integrative with the bioscience sector and all levels of government working together. We’re pursuing a common goal.”

Baranowski agrees. “The level of science in P.E.I. is equal to any province. Our analytical and preclinical research is done locally, supported by UPEI expertise and resources. Active engagement of funding agencies is also crucial, with PEI BioAlliance assistance.” Delivra is looking to identify local sources for its natural ingredients, grown and processed in P.E.I.

Gabriel’s wife has improved so significantly she’s doing yoga on a regular basis. “She fluctuates,” says Gabriel, “but there are many more good days than bad. She can live with that.” Gabriele also sent product samples to hockey legend Bobby Orr for his career-related sports injuries. Days later, Gabriele received Orr’s enthusiastic call, “I think this stuff works!” Orr has endorsed the product ever since.

All of this is good news for Gabriele, his company, and his family. “I was desperate to make a negative into a positive in my life, and it turned into this business with the right people and revenue. We’re thrilled.”

TAG: Margaret Magner, Ph.D., is a freelance journalist in Charlottetown ( This is one in a series of articles on P.E.I.’s bioscience sector.

 Better than a pill:

- Delivra Inc. is developing products for sleep loss, migraine headaches, and osteoarthritis for both the Canadian and new U.S. markets. The company is also expanding into the animal health sector with veterinary products.

- Delivra has proven in clinical studies that it delivers six times stronger absorption than key competitors. It accommodates polypharmacy and multi-drug formulations and is capable of delivering larger molecules to affected areas of the body than previously thought.

- Pills are a highly imperfect method for delivery of drugs and active ingredients in the body. They do not enable delivery to a targeted area, and a mere 10 percent of active ingredients survive passage through the gastrointestinal tract. Side effects are sometime severe.

- The pharmaceutical industry is aggressively seeking better delivery systems. Transdermal and injectables are now the fastest growing trend, offering greater safety and new technologies that can deliver a broader range of molecules with deeper penetration.

- The primary challenge to transdermal delivery is that a limited number of drugs are conducive to administration via this route. Delivra has broken these barriers to unlock new transdermal markets.

- Delivra is a unique delivery system because it contains organic compounds free of synthetic parabens, propylene, menthol glycol, or other harsh chemicals.

- Delivra harnesses the body’s own processes to ensure a greater depth of penetration in transporting healing substances.

- Delivra does not mask the problem; it acts as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.