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.
Access to capital and financing: The second half of the program featured five companies – Leaderboard, Salu, VibeDx, Metabolomic Technologies Inc. (MTI) and Biotabalance (CanBiocin) pitching their investment worthiness to the TEC Venture Angels, a group of investors who have made a total of 126 investments, 27 of them in the past year, worth $42 million in innovative startup companies, mostly in Alberta.
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.
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.
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.
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.”