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University of Alberta & Merck accelerators launch at TEC Centre Labs

Edmonton, AB (October 26, 2018) – Today marks the official opening of TEC Centre Labs and the launch of two accelerators programs: the Merck Invention Accelerator and the University of Alberta (UAlberta) Health Accelerator. With a goal to save and improve lives around the world, dozens of health companies and researchers will have access to 8,000 square feet of newly constructed collaboration, office and wet lab space in Edmonton’s innovation corridor.

“The Government of Canada is working to position our country as a global centre for innovation by making smart investments in collaborative partnerships that fuel growth,” says the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “By connecting health technology companies to the health research expertise of industry and academic leaders like Merck and the U of A, we’re helping to create an accessible entry point for companies and innovators to continue to bring new ideas to our healthcare system.”


“Making life better in Alberta includes taking on health conditions and diseases by focusing on complex treatments in a collaborative way,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Alberta Economic Development and Trade. “I am proud of the Alberta government’s partnerships with community leaders like University Hospital Foundation, TEC Edmonton, the University of Alberta and Merck in improving health outcomes while creating unique opportunities for investment and diversification.”


TEC Centre Labs

  • 8,000 square feet of newly constructed wet lab, office and collaboration space for health technology entrepreneurs and researchers
  • 58 spaces in the co-working collaboration space
  • 44 lab chairs in the new state-of-the art wet lab space

“With a world-class laboratory and access to targeted programming, TEC Centre Labs is the place for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive,” says Chris Lumb, CEO, TEC Edmonton. “Its connection to UAlberta and industry through Edmonton’s innovation corridor will be a great asset for researchers.”

Merck Invention Accelerator
The first partnership of its kind for Merck, this accelerator has a goal to advance the success of emerging health technologies to save and improve lives around the world. Health sciences entrepreneurs and early-stage pharmaceutical or health technology companies can access personalized input from Merck and TEC Edmonton experts to develop novel scientific innovations.

“Merck Canada is proud to partner with TEC Edmonton to create an innovation incubator that will help Alberta-based, health-focused scale-up companies connect with industry and the province’s health system. We believe that collaboration is the key to the future of innovation in the health sector,” states Jennifer Chan, Vice-President, Policy and External Affairs, Merck Canada Inc.


University of Alberta Health Accelerator
The University of Alberta Health Accelerator will support and inspire professional, entrepreneurial and commercial activities within the health sciences. The program has two streams:

  1. Primary investigator/researcher stream that focuses on identifying and advancing early-stage commercial opportunities from UAlberta research,
  2. Trainee stream that trains the next generation of innovators by providing UAlberta graduate and postgraduate learners with professional development opportunities in business, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We want to help train an entire generation to take their research discoveries and move them into the healthcare system,” said Richard Fedorak, Dean of UAlberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. “Rather than taking researchers who have made a fabulous discovery, celebrating them and sending them back to their lab, we want to move their intellectual property and their spin-off companies into an area where they can blossom and grow. The UAlberta Health Accelerator within TEC Centre Labs is the landscape for that opportunity.”

Since both programs will operate out of TEC Centre Labs, participants in each program benefit from world-class laboratory space, in addition to collaboration opportunities with other innovators in the health technology sector.


  • Government of Canada funding was used to retrofit lab space and purchase and install equipment to support the development and commercialization of innovative health technologies.
  • Merck supplied operating funding for the Merck Invention Accelerator as well as assisting the companies participating in the program.
  • The University of Alberta and the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry provided capital funding and brought leadership and in-kind project management leading to the completion of the space and launch of the UAlberta Health Accelerator.
  • Edmonton Economic Development and the City of Edmonton provided capital funding to the project.
  • Funding was provided by the Alberta Merck Innovation in Health Fund, a collaboration between Merck, the University Hospital Foundation and the Government of Alberta, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. This goal of this fund is to advance long-term health outcomes, quality of life and economic prosperity for Albertans. The fund will support the development of exciting new careers in Alberta.


For more information:

Jennifer SheehanDirector, Marketing & Communications, TEC Edmonton

Ross Neitz, Communications Associate, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta

Dominique Quirion, External Consultant, Merck

Narmin Hassam-Clark, A/Manager, Consultation, Marketing and Communications 
Western Economic Diversification Canada – Alberta Region



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 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 over $1 billion in revenue, raised $504M in financing and funding, invested $278M in R&D, and grown both revenue and employment by 37 per cent per year and now employ over 2,200 people in the region. TEC has assisted in the creation of 37 spin-off companies from the University of Alberta in the last seven years.

TEC Edmonton was named the 3rd best University Business Accelerator in the world by the University Business Incubator (UBI) Global Index in 2018. For more information, visit www.tecedmonton.com.

About Merck

For more than 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, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About University of Alberta

One of Canada’s top research universities, the University of Alberta shapes the future through research, teaching and innovation. We are home to advanced research and teaching facilities, over 400 research labs, over 170 graduate programs and 200 undergraduate programs across 18 faculties; and are one of three Canadian AI hubs. We have more than 38,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff, an annual budget of $1.9 billion, and attract over $500 million in sponsored research revenue annually. Our alumni have founded over 70,000 organizations, employ 1 in 5 Albertans and generate $348.5 billion annual revenue. Our strong commercialization and technology transfer record is illustrated by more than 110 spin-off companies still operational; ranking 14th in North America and 2nd in Canada according to Association of University Technology Managers, for spin-off companies still operational.