Food safety is product No. 1 for tech commercialization team
Food safety is product No. 1 for tech commercialization team More…
TEC Edmonton, Merck Canada launch health tech incubator More…
Edmonton, AB (June 27, 2017) – TEC Edmonton and pharmaceutical company Merck Canada Inc. are partnering up to create a business incubator connecting Alberta-based health technology companies to the health research expertise of Merck. The goal is to create an accessible entry point for health-focused startup companies to connect with industry and Alberta’s healthcare system.
The partnership is part of the Alberta Merck Innovation in Health Fund (AMI in Health Fund), a larger collaboration between Merck Canada, the University Hospital Foundation and the Government of Alberta Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
“Merck Canada’s expertise will provide a great asset for startup companies operating in Alberta’s health innovation space,” said TEC Edmonton CEO Chris Lumb. “We look forward to working with Merck going forward.”
“Working in partnership with TEC Edmonton to provide both scientific expertise and funding to this new business incubator will help propel Alberta-based, health-focused startups to new heights, all the while fostering the innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness of the region,” said Mr. Chirfi Guindo, President and Managing Director of Merck Canada Inc. “This type of collaboration with promising, key players is essential to the future of the health sector, as we work together to provide meaningful benefit to patients.”
“Alberta’s health innovators are making our province proud – attracting international attention and investment. By supporting our researchers and entrepreneurs to create new products and businesses based on Alberta discoveries, we’re creating healthier lives for people around the world – and new jobs and a more diversified economy here at home,” stated Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.
About TEC Edmonton
TEC Edmonton is a business accelerator that helps emerging technology companies grow successfully. As a joint venture of the University of Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, TEC Edmonton operates the Edmonton -region’s largest accelerator for early-stage technology companies, and also manages commercialization of University of Alberta technologies. TEC Edmonton delivers services in four areas: Business Development, Funding and Finance, Technology Management, and Entrepreneur Development. Since 2011, TEC clients have generated $680M in revenue, raised $350M in financing and funding, invested $200M in R&D, grown both revenue and employment by 25 per cent per year and now employ over 2,400 people in the region. In addition, TEC has assisted in the creation of 22 spinoff companies from the University of Alberta in the last four years.
TEC Edmonton was named the 4th best university business incubator in North America by the University Business Incubator (UBI) Global Index in 2015, and “Incubator of the Year” by Startup Canada in 2014. For more information, visit www.tecedmonton.com.
About Merck Canada Inc.
For over a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca and connect with us on YouTube and Twitter @MerckCanada.
The idea of Edmonton as “Canada’s Health City” has been around for a little over a year now, but what is “health city” and what does it mean for Edmonton? That’s what was answered last Thursday, June 15, at the official launch of the Health City Initiative. From the overall strategy to specific goals to branding, the Health City was introduced to leaders in Edmonton’s business, academic, government and health community.
Edmonton’s business support network, robust integrated health system and large post-secondary community make it an advantageous place for health innovation to flourish. Creating a common, unifying strategy creates easy entry points for innovators and entrepreneurs to access the necessary resources for their projects to thrive.
The overarching vision of Health City is that Edmonton is a world class health innovation city. The four main goals of the initiative were also introduced at the event:
Foster a health innovation ecosystem that provides an unparalleled environment for success for health innovation and industry participants.
Edmonton becomes a destination of choice for health innovators, leaders, entrepreneurs and researchers.
Create a policy environment that accelerates the development and growth of the health innovation continuum, from discovery to commercialization and application.
Accelerate access to finance, capital, and institutional investment whilst removing financial barriers to growth.
Solidify Edmonton’s reputation as a leading health innovation ecosystem.
“Goals give us a way forward, but we need determination and disruption to bring the vision to life,” said Karen Wichuk, Executive Lead of Health City.
We’re up for the challenge.
TEC Edmonton is thrilled to be a partner organization. Learn more about the health city initiative here and the TEC Health Accelerator here.
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When Elliot Gatt was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 17, it was difficult news for him and his parents to take. Even more difficult was the almost prohibitive cost of insulin and test strips that, without employer-provided benefits, had to be paid out of pocket.
There are some programs that aim to help families shoulder the cost of supplies, but they often take a long time (up to two years) to get into, or only cover a fraction of the total annual cost of supplies for one person. As a result, approximately 57 per cent of Canadians with diabetes don’t follow their prescribed treatment due to cost.
Guessing your levels could lead to drastic health consequences,” Elliot explains. “If you don’t test, guessing could lead to dangerous lows, or highs that can have a serious impact on your sight, your general health, and could eventually lead to loss of life.”
Like many entrepreneurs, Elliot saw opportunity in his family’s struggle. Admiring businesses operating on a monthly subscription model as well as companies that give back to those in need, Elliot approached diabetic test strips the same way. The result is Good Glucos: a company that provides high-quality, low-cost diabetic test strips on a monthly subscription basis. For every 12 new subscribers, Good Glucos supplies a 12-month subscription to someone in need. “[The program is] the only one of its kind in the world,” says Elliot.
To qualify for the 12 for 12 program, potential recipients fill out an application form on the website. “We sort through them based on need,” explains Elliot. The company prioritizes those who are the most in need (for example, those having to choose between buying groceries and paying for test strips) for the program. To date, Good Glucos has given subscriptions to people across North America, Morocco, and Gambia.
“We’re being disruptive in a positive way,” Elliot explains.
Since January, Elliot has been operating Good Glucos out of TEC Innovation District as a part of the launch program. “We’ve created a six-month plan focusing on building the right team, acquiring customers, and having the right partners and processes in place,” Elliot says. “People here have helped keep us on track.”
According to Elliot, one of the biggest challenges the company faced so far is the perception that what they’re doing is too good to be true. “It’s not what people are used to,” Elliot explains. “People think because of the price point, it must be cheap, which is not true. It’s the most accurate glucometer within the subscription market.”
The next challenge for Good Glucos is to get the infrastructure in place to grow its customer base. “We’re growing our presence at a rapid pace in Canada and the USA,” Elliot says. “We’ve sold in over 24 states so far, and we want to hit them all.”
Elliot is spending the next 60 days biking East to West across the United States as a part of a Bike Beyond team to raise money for Type 1 Diabetes research. Elliot’s team of 20 has raised $100,000 for the cause. “The purpose is to raise funds and raise awareness that diabetics can do anything they want,” says Elliot.
If you know someone who’s diabetic or an educator, please share. Keep in touch with Good Glucos on Twitter, and follow the bike journey at @teambikebeyond.
Apply to be a part of the TEC Innovation District Launch Program here!
When two organizations with common goals and interests come together, exciting things happen.
Last week, Ms. Bo Liu, President of TusStar VC, the seed and investment arm of Tsinghua University’s subsidiary TUS Holdings, paid TEC Edmonton a visit as a follow-up to an April MOU signing between TEC Edmonton and TusStar.
The visit provided an opportunity for Ms. Liu to get some face time with the TEC Edmonton community, including entrepreneurs, innovation service providers, and investors.
TEC Edmonton and TusStar also further planned how they will work together to provide services to entrepreneurs, linkages to investors, and other trade organizations to develop closer Chinese business connections.
“We look forward to working with China’s leading network of incubators, including both its services and investment arms, to develop new market opportunities for entrepreneurs from both countries,” said TEC Edmonton CEO Chris Lumb.
As a result of the agreement, TusStar has created a Canadian subsidiary to operate at TEC Innovation District as a one-stop shop for businesses in the region to receive help accessing the Chinese market.
“My visit to TEC Edmonton developed stronger linkages to the Alberta entrepreneur and funding environment,” says Bo Liu, “It was a very positive experience, and I look forward to strengthening our partnerships with Alberta innovators.”
Stay tuned for more updates on the outcomes of this partnership!
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