MaRS Innovation and St. Michael’s Hospital revitalizing commercialization process

St. Michael's Hospital LogoFor principal investigators, a key component in taking their research ideas from the bench to the market is knowing what commercialization resources exist and when to use them.

Through the MaRS Innovation’s Technology Transfer & Scouting division (MITTS), manager Sahail Shariff is connecting with principal investigators (PIs) at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto on the front-line to better understand and advance their research.

Of the 180 PIs at the hospital, the majority are clinician scientists who spend a portion of their time caring for patients.

In collaboration with Samar Saneinejad, project director in the Office of the Vice-President, Research at St. Michael’s, Shariff established a research commercialization committee with regular monthly meetings to stay connected to PIs and their research status. He’s also taken note of the time constraints facing clinician scientists, making a point to provide them with more one-on-one time.

Sahail Shariff

MaRS Innovation’s Sahail Shariff walks the halls at St. Michael’s Hospital to provide better commercialization resources to its researchers.

Invention disclosures from researchers at St. Michael’s have increased by almost 50 per cent since October 2013, when Shariff joined MaRS Innovation. He has played a key role in this success and has also helped the hospital to acquire five commercialization-related funding applications and assisted in 12 interactions between PIs and industry members.

“Walking the halls has been really valuable for investigators who have great ideas and have spent a lot of time on their research and inventions, but don’t have excess time to devote to finding the right way to develop it further,” says Shariff. (more…)

The Varsity on UTEST and start-up culture at U of T; Whirlscape launches new Minuum smartwatch demo

utest“Start-up culture is fast taking hold at U of T, with an array of incubators and accelerators providing student entrepreneurs the resources and mentorships required to get their businesses up and running,” writes Ameya Charnalia of The Varsity, the University of Toronto’s student newspaper.

Charnalia’s article focuses on new student-focused incubators, such as the UTEST program, which provide entrepreneurs cash, access to in-house expertise, working space and mentorship to advice their ideas.

It appeared in the same week that recent UTEST graduate Whirlscape released a new demo video showing their Minuum keyboard technology running on a LG G watch, which is also an Android Wear device. The announcement was covered in TechCrunch, engadget, Pocketnow, Android Police, SlashGear, BGR, Mobile Syrup, 9to5Google, and DroidLife, among other tech blogs.

(more…)

Xagenic announces second closing of $25.5M Series B financing

Xagenic 2014 logoTORONTO, July 14, 2014 - Xagenic Inc., a molecular diagnostics company developing the first lab-free molecular diagnostic platform with a 20 minute time-to-result, has announced a second closing of its recently announced Series B financing, bringing the total raised in this round to $25.5 million.

In conjunction with this closing, new investor BDC Capital joined as an investor and Dion Madsen, senior managing partner at BDC Capital, will join Xagenic’s Board of Directors.

From our archives: MaRS Innovation’s lead start-up completes $20 million Series B.

This announcement was covered in Biotechnology Focus, TechVibes, PE HUB, BetaKit, GenomeWeb and CrunchBase.

Shana Kelley, co-founder of Xagenic Inc.

Shana Kelley, founder and CTO of Xagenic Inc.

“Securing this additional financing from high-quality new and existing investors demonstrates confidence in the Xagenic X1™ platform. We look forward to continuing our development program in anticipation of our analytical and clinical study start later this year,” said Shana Kelley, founder and CTO of Xagenic. “Our enzyme-free molecular diagnostic platform will provide significant advantages in patient care by bringing nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT)-like performance to the physician office with a testing time of 20 minutes.” (more…)

WaveCheck campaign part of new study on crowdfunding medical research

MI’s Fazila Seker also interviewed in National Post article on what prompts medical researchers to consider crowdfunding

waveThe WaveCheck crowdfunding campaign, which raised $53,390 on Indiegogo to support clinical trials for a clinical technique invented by researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Ryerson University, was included in a new Canadian-led study on the merits of crowdfunding to support cancer and rare diseases.

Crowdfunding drug development: The state of play in oncology and rare diseases,” was published in Drug Discovery Today‘s June issue.

MaRS Innovation has confirmed with lead author Professor Nick Dragojlovic of the University of British Columbia that WaveCheck was among the campaigns included in the study. (more…)

Whirlscape releases demo of Minuum keyboard on the Moto 360 circular smartwatch

Whirlscape logoAs part of their ongoing efforts to explore the future of wearable typing, UTEST grad Whirlscape released a demo of the Minuum keyboard working on a Moto 360 smartwatch.

This news builds upon Whirlscape’s activities in the wearables space; the company had previously announced a partnership with Omate Smartwatches that was covered in TechVibes.

This news was covered in the Los Angeles Times, Tech Crunch, Droid Life, Mobile Syrup, Digital Trends, SlashGear, Android Community and GigaOM. See also this article speculating on possibilities for the future of Canadian mobile wearable technology, also by Mobile Syrup.

MOTO360

Why would you need to type on a smartwatch? CEO Will Walmsley addressed the topic on input, the Minuum blog: (more…)

Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator to Partner with BDC Venture Capital

MaRS Innovation co-partner in pan-Canadian effort to help create up to 20 leading start-up companies

Accel-Rx logoCEBIO International Conference, San Diego – June 25, 2014: BDC Venture Capital and the Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator (Accel-Rx) announced today a collaboration to provide critical seed funding to new and emerging Canadian health sciences companies.

This announcement was covered in TechVibes, PE HUB and BetaKit.

Accel-Rx AnnouncementTogether, Accel-Rx, BDC Venture Capital, and CDRD Ventures Inc. (CVI) which will provide the initial management to launch Accel-Rx operations, would focus on maximizing new health sciences company creation, and ensuring start-ups have the resources they need to grow and become a new generation of strong health sciences companies.

Accel-Rx brings together five of Canada’s leading health sciences Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) to foster cross-Canadian cooperation and directly addressing the health science company creation challenge in Canada. They include:

The accelerator will help make a connection between: promising technologies; experts in drug development, clinical/regulatory affairs, deal-making and finance; entrepreneurs and mentors; and R&D infrastructure and resources. (more…)

Globe and Mail: Strong incubators are key to driving innovation

utestJeff Cates’ op-ed in the Globe and Mail‘s Small Business/Digital Innovation section on June 19, 2014 argues that incubators have a key role to play in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and growing new industries in Ontario.

Cates states this is particularly true when incubators when they provide programs and services to help young entrepreneurs succeed.

The University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology program (UTEST), co-managed with MaRS Innovation, is one such program. UTEST is set to announce its third cohort within the next month.

(more…)

U of T researchers demonstrate new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle

University of TorontoNew research emerging from the University of Toronto’s Edward S Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is developing and demonstrating a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle.

MaRS Innovation is working with Professor Ted Sargent, his research team and U of T’s Innovations and Partnerships Office (IPO) to incubate and commercialize this and other solar technologies. Their work was recently published in Nature Materials.

The paper’s publication was widely covered in the technical trades, including CNET.com, Tech Times, Compound Semiconductor.net and Gizmag, among others, and on the university’s website.

Here’s an excerpt from power-technology.com:

Led by post-doctoral researcher Zhijun Ning and Professor Ted Sargent, the research work resulted in the development of a new form of solid, stable light-sensitive nanoparticles, known as colloidal quantum dots.

Developed in collaboration with Dalhousie University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the solar-sensitive nanoparticles are cheaper than the traditional panels, large and rectangular.

In addition to being cheaper, the colloidal quantum dots are more flexible solar cells, and better gas sensors, infrared lasers, infrared light emitting diodes and more. (more…)

U of T names inventors of the year, celebrates top innovators

UTEST companies and MaRS Innovation partnership recognized along with this year’s honourees

University of Toronto

A better keyboard for mobile devices, intelligent traffic lights to tackle traffic jams, a more ecofriendly way to make nanoparticles for applications such as solar cells and agriculture, and an artificial neural network that improves the way computers learn.

These four inventions took top honours May 21 at the University of Toronto Celebrates Innovation event.

Mobile Syrup covered Whirlscape’s involvement in this event. Read the story.

utestThe annual event, which has previously honoured the university’s top inventors of the year, has widened its scope. This year, in addition to naming the top inventors of the past year, U of T honoured people and companies working on everything from apps to help the disabled to a printer that prints human skin for wound dressing. It also recognized the financial support of the Connaught Fund for several programs that support innovation.

“This year is extra special,” said Professor Paul Young, U of T’s vice-president, research and innovation. “We decided to bring into the fold some of the other competitive innovation programs. U of T is home to some of the world’s most creative and entrepreneurial innovators, so these competitions were fierce.”

The 2014 inventors of the year are:

  • Will Walmsley, a recent graduate of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, who was cited for his development of the Minuum keyboard. Dubbed “the small keyboard for big fingers,” it provides a full keyboard for mobile devices using very little space, allowing users to type quickly and use gesture shortcuts. (more…)

Flybits selected as a Red Herring Top 100 North America Winner

Flybits Corporate LogoTORONTO, Canada (May 20, 2014) — Red Herring has selected Flybits as one of its 2014 Top 100 North America award winners. Flybits was recognized for its leading-edge, context-aware computing solutions.

Red Herring Top 100 America recognizes innovation from outstanding entrepreneurs and promising companies. Its “Top 100 North America” award winners were selected from among approximately 3,000 tech start-ups financed each year in the U.S. and Canada.  Past winners include companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Salesforce.com, YouTube, Marin Software, Palo Alto Networks and eBay, and many others that have changed how we live and work.

“In 2014, selecting the top 100 achievers was by no means a small feat,” said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. “We believe Flybits embodies the vision, drive and innovation that define a successful entrepreneurial venture. Flybits should be proud of its accomplishment, as the competition was very strong.” (more…)

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