Highlights from the TEC Edmonton Health Summit and Health Venture Forum
It was a bit of a love-in all the way round at the first TEC Edmonton Health Summit on Nov. 23, 2015, as national bio-tech industry leaders, service partners, industry sponsors and innovative health-company clients all praised TEC Edmonton’s TEC Health Accelerator program on the occasion of its first birthday.
The message being delivered in Edmonton’s Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s Empire Ballroom was simple. After one year, the TEC Health Accelerator program, as run by TEC Edmonton’s Business Development division, has accomplished all it set out to do in Year One and more.
An understanding of health market needs and opportunities: Guest speaker Chirfi Guindo, President of Merck Canada spoke about the new model of health care product development – that everything today is about partnering and collaboration and how an organization like TEC Edmonton helps Merck find worthwhile partners, in turn bringing life-saving and life-altering drugs to patients at reasonable cost.
Liaison with global medical/biotech corporations: In addition to Merck’s Guindo, representatives from Gilead Alberta and DynaLIFE were on hand as sponsors and because of an appreciation for the synergies being created. DynaLIFE CEO Jason Pincock announced his company’s sponsorship of a new health company prize in TEC Edmonton’s 2016 TEC VenturePrize new business competition.
DynaLIFE CEO Jason Pincock announcing the new DynaLIFE VenturePrize Health competition stream
Creating interest from within the Alberta Health system in support of medical innovation being created in its own backyard: Dr. Breanne Everett, CEO of diabetes solutions company Orpyx, spoke glowingly of opportunities for Orpyx to conduct trials of its foot-ulcer detection systems within the Alberta Health Services’ diabetes Strategic Clinical Network.
Access to experts: In addition to a hefty increase in bio-tech business specialists working through TEC Edmonton, sponsor Tom Sides of Dentons elaborated not only on the growth of startup/ramp up legal specialists within his Edmonton office, but also of Denton’s world-wide legal affiliations, smoothing out the usually turbulent issues resulting from technology companies opening new out-of-country markets.
The afternoon presentations were by new companies deemed investment-ready after extensive consultation with TEC Edmonton’s expert assessors. They made their investment pitches to both TEC VA Angel members and delegates at the day-long summit.
Leaderboard pitched a real-time, easy-to-use data analysis software system for extended-care facilities, able to, for instance, identify residents who were frequently falling, and the cause of such accidents.
Salu Design Group introduced its Salu LifePulse wearable that measures not only individual fitness metrics, but health indicators such as pulse, stress and estimated blood pressure.
Salu’s wearable LifePulse technology.
VibeDx represents a possible quantum leap forward in the diagnosis of back pain, using seismic-like technology to determine where the damage has been done, where back pain is coming from and providing a more accurate prediction of the outcomes of back surgery.
VibeDx’s technology can potentially improve the quality of for millions of back pain sufferers.
MTI (Metabolomic Technologies Inc.) PolypDx test can, through easy-to-obtain urine analysis, accurately detect the presence of early-stage polyps in the colon, cutting down on the need for awkward, time-consuming and expensive colonoscopies and preventing colon cancer through timely removal of pre-cancerous polyps.
Finally, Biotabalance CEO and former veterinarian Dr. Jake Burlet talked about applying years of pain-staking research done by Biotabalance parent company Canbiocin towards species-specific pet probiotics to improve the gastro-intestinal health of cats and dogs.
These companies – Leaderboard, Salu, VibeDx, MTI and Biotabalance – all reflect the recent much enhanced quality of investment-ready startup/ramp up companies being assessed by the high-worth individuals within the TEC Venture Angels group.
The five companies are just the tip of the iceberg as TEC Edmonton works with triple or quadruple that number to assess and then prepare them to make their pitches to investors in 2016.
“Alberta has been placing much emphasis on diversifying its economy,” said Merck Canada’s Guindo. “This is the way to do it. The TEC Health Accelerator and its partnerships are improving both the health and wealth of Alberta.”
Just a year ago, TEC Edmonton launched its TEC Health Accelerator program (located within TEC Edmonton’s Business Development Group) with the then-ambitious goal of assisting in the creation or growth of at least 50 health-related companies in the province of Alberta by 2020.
It wasn’t so much about creating companies. Alberta, and in particular Edmonton, has long been a centre of bio and medical technology, thanks to research from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and research hospitals in the region. Plenty of companies have been set up over the years to commercialize health-related research and new products.
What was missing was a dynamic and complete provincial ecosystem for health product commercialization.
There were just too many gaps: Missing was life sciences business expertise; access to capital and financing; an understanding of health market needs and opportunities; liaison with the R&D divisions of global medical/biotech corporations.
On top of all of this was an oft-repeated comment from local technology companies – that the Alberta Health system, focused on cost containment, had no pathways to support medical innovation created in its own backyard.
That was one year ago.
TEC Health Accelerator Program Director Jason Ding at the program launch in 2014.
The goal of 50 companies in five years has already been surpassed. In its first year, the Health Accelerator program had signed contracts with 47 young companies, and been in discussions with 124 more. The TEC Health Accelerator is also working closely with post-secondary institutions, including the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, to commercialize promising medical research.
Thanks to funding from the federal government’s Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), TEC Edmonton has been able to expand its expert services to life science technology clients. Staff additions include specialists in medical/bio intellectual property services, a medical-specialty Executive-in-Residence based in Calgary, a biomedical engineer, two software developers, two regulatory experts and two product-pull specialists.
On the investment side, nine health-related companies raised $2.2 million from the TEC Venture Angels investment network. Bloom Burton & Co., Canada’s largest health care investment banking firm, has extended several financing offers to TEC Health Accelerator program clients. Two other venture capital funds are working with TEC to identify health investment opportunities
Industry collaboration has taken a mighty leap forward. Executives from industry partners Genzyme, Johnson & Johnson and Merck Canada will have all made three visits to Edmonton and Calgary before the upcoming Health Summit. They are all looking at collaboration opportunities with companies and researchers in the province.
Alberta Health Services is working with Alberta’s small-to-medium-sized health-product companies through its specialized and effective Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs). Within SCNs, Alberta’s medical professionals work together in specific areas, such as diabetes or joint replacement, to improve patient outcomes and “bend down the cost curve” through innovation such as TEC Health Accelerator program clients are offering. Funding for pilot projects between SCNs and several Alberta health-related companies has been made available.
“We’ve made great progress,” says TEC Edmonton Executive Vice President of Business Development, Dr. Randy Yatscoff. “There’s a long way to go, but the TEC Health Accelerator program is working as intended.”
TEC Edmonton Health Summit & Health Venture Forum
November 24, 2015, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm
Fairmont Hotel MacDonald
TEC Edmonton Health Summit: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Since its launch in 2014, the TEC Health Accelerator has helped speed the growth of Alberta health technology companies.
On November 24, join leaders from the Alberta health care system, the medical research and business communities to hear the latest stats, successes and future plans of the TEC Health Accelerator program.
Speakers will include:
Keynote: Chirfi Guindo (President & Managing Director, Merck Canada Inc.)
Robin Nichol (General Manager, Gilead Alberta ULC)
Breanne Everett (CEO, Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc.)
Michael Palmer (Executive Vice President, Pace Wellness Inc.)
Health Venture Public Forum: 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Hosted by TEC Venture Angels, five of Alberta’s emerging health product companies, Leaderboard, Salu, VibeDx, Metabolomic Technologies Inc. and Canbiocin, will present to investors.
TEC Venture Angels combines two of Canada’s largest angel investor networks (TEC Edmonton and VA Angels).
You may also be interested in the BioAlberta AGM & Awards Gala being held that same evening at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Register Online for BioAlberta’s AGM & Awards Gala
TEC Edmonton Health Summit and Health Venture Forum Event Sponsors:
Gilead Dentons DynaLIFE DX
TEC Health Accelerator program sponsors
Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions
Bloom Burton & Co.
CTI Life Sciences Fund/Fonds CTI Sciences De La Vie
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
TEC Edmonton Sponsors
Partner Level: Alberta Innovates Technology Futures
Edmonton Economic Development
University of Alberta
Platinum Level: DynacorMedia
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs
In 2005, the University of Alberta boldly purchased and renovated the long-empty Hudson’s Bay department store in downtown Edmonton.
Re-christened as Enterprise Square, the building re-opened in 2007 as the University’s portal to the city’s business community.
The fourth floor has particular significance.
Built on what was the Hudson’s Bay rooftop, the TEC Centre houses both the offices of the high-tech business incubator and accelerator TEC Edmonton, plus 34,000 square feet of laboratory, manufacturing and administrative space for early-stage, technology-based Edmonton companies.
TEC Edmonton was a grand innovation unto itself. For the first time in Canada, a university and a city partnered to create a single agency to support those emerging Edmonton-based technology companies, be they spun out from University research or coming from the community at large.
Among its many roles, TEC Edmonton manages the TEC Centre space. Of the 22 companies occupying the TEC Centre as tenants in November, 2015, half are commercializing technologies based on University of Alberta research.
The TEC Centre is an attractive proposition for a start-up company just getting on its feet. TEC leases the space at favourable rates. New tenants have immediate access to TEC’s many business services, including advisors, mentors, intellectual property protection, business education, financial brokering and networking. Part of the magic of an incubator is the informal networking and interaction between entrepreneurs working within hailing distance of one another.
Who stays, who goes? TEC Edmonton works with each tenant to determine milestones written into their leases. “Each tenant starts with a scorecard and milestone predictions,” says TEC’s operational director of entrepreneur development, Bob Marshall. “If the company is having difficulty meeting its milestones, TEC Edmonton can help out through its business expertise. A company could downsize, for instance, into a smaller space. If the company consistently can’t deliver on its milestones, TEC can end the lease.”
Over eight years, many companies have “graduated” from the TEC Centre, moving into larger facilities to accommodate growing space requirements
Others, such as LoginRadius (online customer management), Exciton (innovative wound coverings) and Delta Genomics have moved within the TEC Centre as they’ve grown from two-to-three person startups to 10 to 20 employees each.
The “graduation” of several growing companies has opened up some smaller spaces within the TEC Centre. If you are interested, or would like to determine your new company’s eligibility, please contact Bob Marshall at bob.marshall@TECEdmonton.com. We urge you to move quickly. Based on past experience, when TEC Centre space becomes available, it quickly fills up.
TEC Centre tenants, as of November, 2015
CARE Inc.(Canadian Research and Education in Arthritis)
Exciton Technologies Inc.
German Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research
Isobrine Solutions Inc.
Meier & Associates
NRC IRAP – Govt of Canada
OneSoft Solutions Inc.
Style Box Media
VibeDx Diagnostic Corp.
TEC Edmonton’s Technology Management team offers expert advice on intellectual property matters which often lead to new patents, licensing agreements and company spin-offs.
Optimization of a yeast platform for biosynthesis of hexadecanol and octadecanol
The Technology Management team has helped Dr. David Stuart secure a $125,000 NSERC I2I phase I grant entitled “Optimization of a yeast platform for biosynthesis of hexadecanol and octadecanol.”
The grant will fund scale up of a fermentation platform for producing fatty alcohols from carbohydrates using genetically-engineered yeast. At present, fatty alcohols are produced primarily from palm oil in Asia and are used in a wide variety of consumer products. This technology may offer a reliable, greener, and cost-competitive source of fatty alcohols.
Method of Fabricating Nano-Tips with Controlled Profile U.S. Patent No. 9,102,190
Dr. Robert Wolkow of the University of Alberta’s Department of Physics and of Canada’s National Institute for Nanotechnology received an issued U.S. patent on August 11, 2015.
U.S. Patent No. 9,102,190 entitled “Method of Fabricating Nano-Tips with Controlled Profile” describes a novel method of fabricating a nanotip to be used in scanning probe microscopy applications such as scanning tunneling or atom force microscopy.
These tips are essential for the imaging and machining of nanotechnology devices for applications in the semiconductor industry such as computing and micro-electronics.
CQuest Partners LLC of Wellington, FL have acquired from the University of Alberta the global commercial development license to the patents and intellectual property that cover the processes that synthesize graphene-like carbon nanosheets from bio-precursors such as hemp fiber, peanut shells, and other organic matter.
Developed by Dr. David Mitlin(now of Clarkson University) and his team, these bio-derived carbon nanosheets (CNS) have demonstrated outstanding properties for applications in the energy storage market and beyond. Compared with graphene, graphite and other activated carbons, CNS show superior performance and capability at a fraction of the production costs. Simple, safe and inexpensive, CNS production from various agricultural products and waste can be readily scaled for commercial use. Their light weight, high surface area and ultra-high capacity when used for electrodes in batteries and supercapacitors have significant potential to make possible next-generation storage devices with higher energy and faster charge rates that could have a major impact on the future of renewable energy and energy storage.
CQuest Partners is joining with Dr. Mitlin to begin production of CNS and to develop additional IP related to this technology for a wide range of commercial applications. The market potential for CNS is enormous. Energy storage is increasingly crucial to industries including electronics, utilities, transit, military, automotive, aerospace, oil & gas, medicine, real estate and more. With applications for batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells and hybrid devices of all sizes, CNS are perfectly suited to satisfy the demands of an industry that is aggressively pursuing designs and materials that improve performance, safety, and cost-effectiveness to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding market.
CQuest Partners was founded in March 2015 for the expressed purpose of pursuing this venture and is currently in the process of raising capital and building out its R&D and production facility in the vicinity of Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY.
For information related to investment or product licensing, contact CQuest Partners via Gary Charboneau – President || firstname.lastname@example.org
Alberta healthcare entrepreneurs can compete for a shared
prize package of over $35,000 to support their innovative solution
Edmonton, AB – November 12, 2015 – Business accelerator TEC Edmonton announced today a new partnership with leading health diagnostics company DynaLIFE Dx. The partnership introduces a brand new healthcare stream for the TEC VenturePrize business plan competition, inviting Alberta healthcare entrepreneurs to compete for $35,000 to grow their business.
Now entering its 14th year, the TEC VenturePrize program offers cash, resources, business training and mentorship for Alberta-based entrepreneurs. The program culminates in the VenturePrize competition where entrepreneurs submit their business plans to compete for prize packages of cash and in-kind services.
The new DynaLIFE VenturePrize competition is the first VenturePrize competition stream to focus on innovation in the Alberta healthcare industry. It will award a cash prize of $25,000 to the winner and $10,000 to the Runner-Up. In addition, the winner and their company may have an opportunity to access expertise from DynaLIFE and their network of health care professionals.
“Promoting Alberta health and business innovation has always been a top priority for us,” said TEC Edmonton CEO, Chris Lumb. “Partnering with an industry leader like DynaLIFE allows us to offer advanced opportunities for entrepreneurs in the healthcare space, which leads to improved quality of life as well as economic growth.”
“DynaLIFE specializes in top quality medical laboratory testing and diagnostics but our overall vision is to enhance health and wellness within the community,” said Jason Pincock, DynaLIFE CEO. “Supporting regional innovation and entrepreneurship is key, and no one is more committed to that than TEC Edmonton. Expanding on our existing Health Accelerator Partnership with them was a natural fit for us, and we’re excited to introduce the new DynaLIFE competition stream to VenturePrize.”
The VenturePrize program – including the new DynaLIFE competition stream – is now open for registration. The VenturePrize Seminar Series begins Thursday, November 19, and offers business training workshops to local entrepreneurs.
TEC Edmonton helps technology entrepreneurs accelerate their growth. In addition to being the commercialization agent for University of Alberta technologies, TEC Edmonton operates Greater Edmonton’s largest accelerator for early stage technology companies, including both university spinoffs and companies from the broader community.
TEC provides client services in four broad areas: Business development, funding and finance, technology commercialization and entrepreneur development.
TEC’s ~128 active clients are an outstanding group of companies. Since 2011, TEC clients have generated $472M in revenue, raised $232M in financing and funding, invested $142M in R&D, grown employment by 25% per year and now employ over 1750 people in the region. In addition, TEC has assisted in the creation of 22 spinoffs from the University in the last five years.
In 2014, TEC Edmonton was identified by the Swedish University Business Incubator (UBI) Index as the 10th best university business incubator in the world, and was also named Canadian “Incubator of the Year” at the 2014 Startup Canada Awards.
About DynaLIFE Dx
DL is Alberta’s largest privately owned Clinical Laboratory. DL is headquartered in Edmonton and employs over 1200 medical, technical, and support staff in Edmonton and throughout central and Northern Alberta. DL performs over 15 Million publicly funded laboratory tests annually for 1.5 Million Albertans in its state of the art laboratories. DL is recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and is recognized consistently as one of Alberta’s Top 65 Employers. DL is accredited by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and carries international accreditation through the College of American Pathologists. DL is a key training facility for laboratory training in Western Canada. For more information please visit: www.dynalifedx.com
Global Insights: Celebrating the future of academic incubators
UBI Awards in North America: Innovate Calgary and TEC Edmonton rank among top five in North America.
CALGARY/EDMONTON, AB, CANADA – November 6, 2015 – Alberta’s two leading university business incubators, Innovate Calgary and TEC Edmonton have been named the third and fourth best university business incubators in North America by the 2015 North American UBI Global Awards.
UBI Global is a global benchmarking company for business incubators and accelerators. Using established performance markers, its UBI Awards recognize and rank top performing university business incubators, both in regions around the world and then internationally.
The North American awards ceremony, held on November 3, 2015 in Toronto, announced the 2015 top performing university business incubators in North America.
The third-ranked Innovate Calgary was praised for exceptional performance in competence development and post incubation performance indicators. According to the awards, Innovate Calgary is making a significant contribution to the development of the local economy and has a great potential to incubate growth companies.*
TEC Edmonton ranked fourth in North America as a high performance business incubator. TEC Edmonton performed well in providing value for client indicators, in addition to positively developing the local economy by catalyzing job creation.**
TEC Edmonton and Innovate Calgary are leading innovation to help diversify Alberta’s economy by working together to deliver services across the province, and through support provided by a number of funders.
“This award demonstrates the value of organizations such as Innovate Calgary and TEC Edmonton in supporting the University of Calgary and University of Alberta to extract economic and social value from the outstanding research at each institution in addition to driving the entrepreneurial spirit within our community,” says Peter Garrett, president, Innovate Calgary.
“The UBI Index awards to TEC Edmonton and Innovate Calgary are a key indication that Alberta’s university business incubators are effectively contributing to the diversification of Alberta’s economy, increasing our provincial economic growth and helping to build Alberta’s reputation as a great place to grow a business,” states Chris Lumb, CEO, TEC Edmonton.
The North American 2015 UBI Awards held special significance for Canada. Not only did Innovate Calgary and TEC Edmonton rank third and four respectively for North America’s university business incubators, Ryerson University’s DMZ incubator in Toronto ranked #1.
There’s a crucial difference between a “startup” company and a “ramp up” company.
A startup company is at the beginning of its life cycle. The product or service may be new and untested, the inventor/founder inexperienced and in need of basic business guidance.
But as time goes by, the successful startup carves out a market niche. Revenues are being generated from sales. Investors sit up and take notice. Leadership settles down. Staff expand and expertise grows. The product itself improves.
At a certain point of economic development, the “startup” company is no longer a startup. It’s moving into a ramp-up phase. The time has come to take the company from provincial sales to national or international sales. More staff need to be hired. Costs will grow immensely, but so will revenues. The company in its next five-year-business plan may have set a goal of raising revenues from $1 million per annum to $10 million.
As the Alberta economy grows, many startup companies are moving into ramp-up territory.
TEC Edmonton’s business advisory team is evolving with the changing economy, still involved in the start-up sphere, but increasingly working with innovative Alberta companies ready to ramp up. TEC Edmonton’s mandate is to encourage the growth of innovative, high-technology companies to benefit Alberta as a whole. When a company grows 10-fold, expands, hires more skilled individuals and pays more taxes, we all benefit.
TRAK Kayaks, an Airdrie manufacturer of high-end, high-technology kayaks, has been in existence for some 10 years. A TRAK kayak has the unique ability to easily change shape, for optimal performance in both flat and moving water. It’s extremely portable, so light and flexible that it can be folded up into an easily transportable rolling travel bag.
The technology is evolving nicely, says TRAK Kayaks CEO Nolin Veillard. The business voyage, as is expected, has taken many twists and turns involving the original inventors, a move to the Calgary area from Saskatchewan and the outsourcing of the actual manufacturing to a reputable outdoor gear manufacturer in the Philippines.
For Veillard, today’s challenge is all about sales ramp up, increasing kayak sales from the hundreds per year to the thousands. And sales is all about marketing.
“Until now, we never did a lot of market research,” says Nolin, an avid kayaker in his own right. “Today, we have to bring a scientific approach to marketing.”
The challenge is not difficult to articulate. The TRAK kayak is a high-performance 16-foot kayak with those unique features that sells for $2,800 US. Hard-shell kayaks range in price from $300 to $4,500, most being in the $1,300 to $2,500 range. How can TRAK Kayaks reach a broader target market that would include outdoor enthusiasts not yet exposed to the TRAK product? How can it grow its sales to create enough profit margin to make the business sustainable in the long-term?
Enter TEC Edmonton: TRAK Kayaks has been working closely with TEC Edmonton Executive-in-Residence and marketing expert Ric Williams. “TRAK had tried a number of different marketing angles, had done secondary research and talked to many qualified people,” says Ric. “But there was a lack of a focused strategy.
“We’re helping TRAK Kayaks undertake a major survey to determine who is their potential market, and then to identify the right segment of the market, how we find them and how we market to them.”
While conventional wholesaling to specialty outdoor stores is one avenue, TRAK Kayaks is exploring direct on-line marketing options, such as inviting kayakers to kayaking holidays featuring TRAK kayaks, creating a sense of belonging, a family around the TRAK brand, making the brand something special in the kayaking world and offering potential buyers a trial try-out period.
“There’s no reason TRAK Kayaks can’t meet its sales goals,” says Williams. “The feedback from its existing customers is extremely positive. They love the product.”
Telebivudine to Abrogate Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
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A Point-of-Care Diagnostic Tool to Replace Chest X-Ray for the Diagnosis of Childhood Pneumonia
Description University of Alberta researchers have discovered a novel set of biomarkers which can be used to diagnose pneumonia in children. The biomarkers include chitinase-3-like-1 (CHI3L1), lipocalin-2 (LCN-2), C-reactive protein......
Novel Cell Isolation Method for Bio-engineering Artificial Cartilage
Description University of Alberta researchers have developed a new method to isolate cells from knee joint (meniscus). The isolated cells are non-contractile in nature and do not form scar tissue.......
Novel Composite Monolith as a New Solid Phase Extraction Material for Environmental Analysis
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Self Assembling Peptide for Activating Human Mast Cells
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An Innocuous Structured Scaffold for Prion Disease Vaccines and Antigens
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Method for the Production of Z-Olefins from 1,3-Dienes
Description Dr. Rylan Lundgren has developed a process for formate-mediated production of Z-olefins (also referred to as cis-alkenes) in the presence of a rhodium-based catalyst. The process is highly selective......
A Novel Method to Produce Pitched Kefir for Reducing Cholesterol
Description Researchers at the University of Alberta and TEAGASC have jointly developed a pitched-based method to produce kefir (a fermented milk beverage) that when consumed reduces blood cholesterol levels. The......
Novel F-18 Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid Radiotracers for PET Imaging
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A Novel Method for CryoPreservation of Cells in Monolayers
Description Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a novel method to cryopreserve cells while adhered in a monolayer configuration. This method can preserve cells on a substrate and......
Train-Triggered Alert System for Conditioning and Warning Wildlife
Description Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a novel, inexpensive, and compact system to alert wildlife to approaching trains, increasing the time available to avoid a collision. Rail-caused......