MaRS Innovation statement on the 2015 Federal Budget

mi_logo_squareTORONTO, ON (April 23, 2014) — MaRS Innovation congratulates the Federal Government’s deepened commitment to support Canadian research and innovation, particularly in the healthcare sector. In particular, the $42 million over five years dedicated to support the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation at Baycrest Health Sciences, which includes $32 million in support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev).

Baycrest is a founding member institution of MaRS Innovation.

“As a Baycrest partner and long-time champions of the commercialization potential of its world-class science in brain and geriatric health care, MaRS Innovation welcomes this news,” says Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein, president and CEO. “We look forward to advancing existing neuroscience projects in partnership with Baycrest, such as The Virtual Brain, and to collaborating on new start-up companies and licenses related to dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

Other promising budget allocations for the innovation sector include: (more…)

Life Sciences Ontario’s statement on the 2015 Ontario Budget

LSO Building Blocks

TORONTO, ON (April 23, 2015) — Life Sciences Ontario (LSO) applauds the government’s continued commitment to supporting life sciences through the Ontario Health Innovation Council and its accompanying $20 million innovation fund, programs to support job creation for Ontario’s highly educated young workforce and a new approach to providing the venture capital needed to support the commercialization of technologies and growth of companies in the life sciences sector.

Specifically, LSO notes the following commitments from the 2015 budget that will help drive innovation in Ontario:

  • Endorsing the Ontario Health Innovation Council report, which will establish a $20 million Health Technology Innovation Fund and appoint a chief innovation strategist to act on the report’s recommendations.
  • Funding the TalentEdge Program, which provides internships for graduate and postgraduate students and is integral to boosting campus-linked industrial research while developing and commercializing the innovative ideas of young researchers.
  • Committing $23.5 million over five years to help establish the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation Centre at Baycrest Health Sciences, a world leader in cognitive neuroscience, and $25 million over five years to support the recently established Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM). (more…)

Triphase Accelerator Corporation initiates phase I study of marizomib and bevacizumab in patients with Glioblastoma

Triphase-logo-WebTORONTO and SAN DIEGO, (April 22, 2015) — Triphase Accelerator Corporation, a private drug development company dedicated to advancing novel compounds through Phase II proof-of-concept, today announced that it has initiated a Phase I proof-of-concept clinical study of marizomib. The study is evaluating an intravenous (IV) formulation of marizomib, a novel and highly potent proteasome inhibitor, in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin®) in patients with glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive malignant primary brain tumor.

The study is recruiting and enrolling patients at the UC Irvine Health Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at the University of California, Irvine, with Daniela Bota, M.D., Ph.D., and at The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Hospital with Annick Desjardin, M.D. (more…)

Onyx Motion’s digital coach Swish featured on Canada AM

Swish, by Onyx Motion, is a wearable virtual coach that helps basketball players improve their shooting technique while emulating their hardcourt heroes.

Swish, by Onyx Motion, is a wearable virtual coach that helps basketball players improve their shooting technique while emulating their hardcourt heroes.

UTEST company Onyx Motion‘s lead product, Swish — a basketball virtual coach that currently works with Android Wear smartwatches to help basketball athletes to improve their shooting technique and emulate their heroes — was featured on Canada AM this morning.

Watch the clip of Onyx Motion’s Swish on Canada AM, CTV’s flagship morning show. Product feature plays after advertisements and begins at 1:40 mark.

Think you’ve got an equally great software-based idea for a start-up? UTEST is currently recruiting for its fourth cohort.

Tom Emrich, a Toronto-based consultant and blogger who specializes in mobile, tablets and wearable technology, presented Swish to Canada AM hosts Marci Ien, Beverly Thomson and Jeff Hutcheson using a Sony SmartWatch 3.

“The application takes your form, measures it and, using the motion sensor of the smartwatch, compares it to experienced players’ data and provides you with a tip,” Emrich explained. “It’s really trying to make sure your next shot is going to be a slam dunk.”

Onyx Motion is part of UTEST’s third cohort. The incubator program, which MaRS Innovation co-directs with the University of Toronto. UTEST is currently recruiting companies to its fourth cohort. (more…)

Globe and Mail features UTEST company eQOL’s home dialysis technology

EQOL logo“When Binh Nguyen, then a graduate student in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto, was working in the renal engineering department of a local hospital, he was struck by what he felt was a suboptimal setup for dialysis treatment,” writes Jordana Dixon in “Health startup helps patients become more independent,” for the Globe and Mail on April 13, 2015.

eQOL Inc. is a University of Toronto and MaRS Innovation start-up company that participated in and graduated from the University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) program’s second cohort.

UTEST is currently accepting applications for its fourth cohort.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Taking these complications into consideration, Mr. Nguyen envisioned an all-encompassing lateral system that would optimize the process of in-home dialysis utilizing technology, but most importantly, improving patient experience. (more…)

How to get accepted into the UTEST start-up incubator: Drive and differentiation

UTEST is now accepting applications to Cohort 4

utestEditor’s note: As of today, the University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) program, which MaRS Innovation co-directs with the University of Toronto, is accepting applications for Cohort 4. The full application is available on the UTEST website.
 In meantime, it’s our pleasure to reprint Brianna Goldberg’s “day-in-the-life-of-an-entrepreneur” feature on Cohort 3 company Nvest, published for U of T News.

Jackie Yan focuses on tweaking his PowerPoint slide deck despite the chaos unfolding around him.

Nvest team at work in front of a computer

Near the entrance to the office space he shares with teams from the six other startups that are part of the UTEST accelerator program, a phone spits distorted tones of an investment-related conference call at Hanna Tomory, CEO of a fatigue-management start-up called Syncadian, as she scratches a list of notes.

A few steps down the hall, Marissa Wu, founder of the digital sports coaching wearable startup called Onyx Motion, goes over presentation notes with her co-founder Vivek Kesarwani. They discuss the finer points of athlete training with the intensity of so many layup drills performed on the basketball net propped against the wall of their desk space.

Across the table in the conference room where Yan is feverishly editing his slides, James McCrae pieces together 3D sculptures of horses, wasps and dinosaurs created with software from his start-up, FlatFab.

“We’re hoping to make more stable structures with our 1.0 design, maybe integrating finger-joints,” McCrae explains as he prepares to demo FlatFab’s wares for a video crew from the Privy Council Office in Ottawa, Ontario.

The videographers are producing a video about MaRS Innovation today, which co-directs the UTEST accelerator program with the University of Toronto, and are capturing b-roll of UTEST founders at work on their ventures. With seven companies currently sharing the working space, there’s always something happening. (more…)

Smartphones and mobile tablets becoming mainstays for clinicians

VitalHub’s partnership with Microsoft and Intel for Seattle Children’s Hospital pilot and British Columbia contracts featured in Canadian Healthcare Technology

VitalHub logo: Patient Care, Evolved “As hospital invest continue to invest in mobile solutions, doctors and nurses are more likely to be texting on their smartphones or swiping their fingers across a tablet PCs than tapping away on desktop computers,” Dianne Daniel writes in the April 2015 issue of Canadian Healthcare Technology in an article titled, “Smartphones and mobile tablets are becoming essential tools for clinicians” (page 12-13 of the print edition).

VitalHub Corp, a Mount Sinai Hospital spun-off through partnership with MaRS Innovation, is among the healthcare technology companies delivering services to hospitals as part of this trend.

Daniel writes:

One company that is giving clinicians the option to use their preferred device — whether iOS, Android, or Windows 8, smartphone or tablet — is VitalHub Corp, a Mount Sinai spin-off launched in Toronto in 2009. “We have found that many hospitals provide their nurses with mobile devices and can therefore select the platform they would prefer for those users, but physicians are generally expected to be BOD,” said VitalHub CEO Lisa Crossley. “So for a mobile solution to be practical, it has to be cross-platform.” (more…)

UTEST company Nvest is bringing accountability to investment recommendations

Nvest LogoNvest, a University of Toronto company, is gaining traction as a financial technology (or fintech) start-up to watch. Nvest is part of the third UTEST cohort, which is an early-stage technology incubator program co-directed by MaRS Innovation and U of T (read more about the UTEST program in our portfolio section).

utestIn the last month, Nvest has been profiled in both TechVibes and Investment Executive as a company to watch both as a social network for stock picking and as a tool to bringing accountability to investment recommendations.

Jacob Serebrin writes for TechVibes:

Fredrick Zhou says there’s something wrong with the way people recommend stocks online.

“People don’t take responsibility for their actions, their words and their recommendations,” Zhou says.

He’s the co-founder and CEO of Nvest, a new social network for stock pickers that he says will bring accountability and transparency to a broken system. (more…)

Sunnybrook forms new industry partnership to advance WaveCheck technology

Co-development agreement, brokered by MaRS Innovation, to advance ultrasound chemotherapy monitoring technology as clinical tool

WaveCheckTORONTO (March 12, 2015) — Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and MaRS Innovation today announced a co-development agreement for WaveCheck, an ultrasound technology that transforms conventional equipment so that physicians can monitor a breast cancer tumour’s response to chemotherapy.

This announcement was covered in Biotechnology Focus, Aunt Minnie.com (radiology blog), dotmed.com, Bio-Medicine.org, Bloomberg Business and Research Views.

The partnership with GE Healthcare, brokered by MaRS Innovation, seeks to develop WaveCheck as a clinical tool that gives clinicians rapid, improved transparency to determine if breast cancer tumors are responding to chemotherapy.

WaveCheck image

In early clinical testing, WaveCheck’s inexpensive, non-invasive, image-guided technology (shown here) shows promise as an accurate, efficient way to monitor tumour response. Sunnybrook has partnered with GE Healthcare to co-develop WaveCheck as a clinical tool.

WaveCheck is a clinical technique invented, refined and tested by Dr. Gregory Czarnota, chief of Radiation Oncology at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre, and Michael C. Kolios, professor of Physics and associate dean, Research and Graduate Studies, in Ryerson University’s Faculty of Science. Their technology uses ultrasound to visually demonstrate whether chemotherapy is destroying a breast cancer tumour at the beginning of chemotherapy treatment in as little as one week. If applied to the clinic, this knowledge has the power to transform patient experience, since existing breast cancer patients typically wait until the end of treatment, anywhere from four to six months, to know if their tumor has responded.

In early clinical testing, WaveCheck’s inexpensive, non-invasive, image-guided technology shows promise as an accurate, efficient way to monitor tumour response, opening the door to tailored treatment.

The agreement leverages GE Healthcare’s extensive ultrasound technology and market expertise in bringing new ultrasound innovations to global hospitals and clinics with Sunnybrook’s leadership in oncology research and cancer care through the Odette Cancer Centre. (more…)

ChipCare closes oversubscribed $5 million series A financing

With lead investment from Puffin Partners, the Ontario, Canada-based company is taking lifesaving blood-testing technology to low- and middle-income countries

ChipCare device

ChipCare’s technology will provide simple-to-use, mobile, lab-quality blood testing for remote health settings. The University of Toronto start-up company’s first HIV-related test, targeted at linking people with HIV to appropriate treatments, is scheduled to hit the market in late 2016.

TORONTO, March 3, 2015 — ChipCare Corporation, a University of Toronto start-up company commercializing a handheld, blood-testing platform for HIV and other infectious and non-communicable diseases has closed a $5.045 million Series A financing to bring its first-generation product to market while further developing the platform’s next generation products.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Venture Capital Dispatch blog, Yonge Street Media, BetaKit and PEHub covered this announcement, along with the University of Toronto’s news site. Information about past ChipCare  investment rounds and other company information is available in our ChipCare news archive.

Insufficient access in remote health settings to simple, accurate and affordable diagnostic tests makes it difficult to provide timely, evidence-based clinical care. Current technology within central laboratories cannot fulfill the existing need in remote health settings, including community level health facilities, remote communities, emergency departments, ICUs and doctors’ offices. The result is millions of preventable deaths from infectious and non-communicable diseases globally, reduced economic growth, and limited human development.

Chipcare CorporationChipCare’s technology will provide simple-to-use, mobile, lab-quality blood testing in remote health settings. The company’s first HIV-related test, targeted at linking people with HIV to appropriate treatments, is scheduled to hit the market in late 2016. The company is developing other products that leverage unique attributes of ChipCare’s technology.

Puffin Partners, LP, of Dallas, Texas led the financing round, which includes existing investors MaRS Innovation and Maple Leaf Angels, and new investors, including the Winfield Venture Group, Epic Capital, and additional Canadian and U.S. Angel investors. (more…)

Welcome to MaRS Innovation

MaRS Innovation commercializes the most promising research breakthroughs from 15 of Toronto’s top universities, institutions and research institutes. Our portfolio, built through over 1,000 intellectual property disclosures from our member institutions, turns discoveries into businesses through industry partnerships, licensing arrangements and start-up companies.

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