ABOzymes, ABOzymes Biomedical, ACTO, Acuitas Therapeutics, adMare BioInnovations, Alberta Innovates, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Big Mountain Foods 2, Bioimaging Research Solutions, Canada's Ocean Supercluster, Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet), Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship, College of North Atlantic, COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN), ECO Canada, Ecopia AI, Eupraxia Pharmaceuticals, FedDevOntario, federal government, Genome BC, Government of Canada, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Industry Energy and Technology, Health Canada, HEC Montreal, Innovative Solutions Canada, Joint Economic Development Initiative, Life Sciences British Columbia, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Minister of Natural Resources, Molecular Genetics and Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory, National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (NCFDC), Nova Scotia Community College, Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO), Precision NanoSystems, Public Health Agency of Canada, Quebecor, Questa Capital, Resolve Growth Partners, Silk Way Services, St. Michael's Hospital, Startup Genome, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Temerty School of Medicine, Thrive Health, Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network, University of British Columbia, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and Upstream Lab



The Short Report - July 13, 2022: Dr. Mona Nemer reappointed as CSA, U of T & partners mount research response to monkeypox outbreak, a record for Canadian angel investment in 2021, and more.

Cindy Graham
July 13, 2022


The University of Toronto and its partner hospitals, including Sunnybrook Research Institute, Unity Health Toronto and the University Health Network, are leading a rapid research response to the global monkeypox outbreak, which has infected 300 people in Canada since May, to better understand disease symptoms, the virus' genetic evolution, and transmission risks. The research will be centred in the Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium (EPIC), which includes a Combined Containment Level 3 Unit — a lab equipped to safely and securely study infectious pathogens. Dr. Darrell Tan and Dr. Sharmistha Mishra from the Temerty School of Medicine are operational co-leads and projects will include an observational cohort study to understand the range of symptoms, viral shedding, transmission risks and the social, economic and psychosocial impacts of infection; an immunological study to understand how the immune system responds to infection; a genetics study to examine how the virus is evolving; and transmission studies to understand the potential and risks of surface and aerosol transmission. U of T

The Canadian Glycomics Network's (GlycoNet) Vancouver-based biomedical startup company, ABOzymes Biomedical, has received a substantial amount of seed financing (amount undisclosed) to develop a proprietary technology platform that enables blood transfusions and life-saving organ transplants, regardless of patients’ blood type, by converting blood group antigens to group O, the universal donor type. The platform, which has the potential to address critical shortages of universal organs and blood in Canada and around the world, was built upon discoveries by GlycoNet investigators Drs. Stephen Withers, Jayachandran Kizhakkedathu, and Peter Rahfeld at the University of British Columbia. GlycoNet

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Health Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada are collaborating on a $10-million initiative to create a pan-Canadian platform researching the effectiveness and clinical challenges of new COVID-19 treatments in non-hospitalized patients. The project is being carried out in collaboration with patients, community partners, and research networks across Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union, with the Canadian arm of the project, Canadian ADAptive Platform Trial of COVID-19 Therapeutics in Community Settings (Can-ADAPT COVID), being led by Dr. Andrew Pinto, director of the Upstream Lab at St. Michael's Hospital. Pinto will investigate outpatient medications for COVID-19 such as nirmatrelvir/ritonavir and provide insights into whether treatments prevent hospitalization and post COVID-19 condition or long COVID. GOC MUHC MUN

The federal government is contributing $950,000 through its Innovative Solutions Canada program to small businesses in Ontario and Quebec to respond to challenges safeguarding food, plants and animals. Bioimaging Research Solutions (Guelph) has received $150,000 to develop an automated tool that scans specific lymph nodes within carcasses to identify tissues at higher risk for presence of bovine tuberculosis; Silk Way Services (Toronto) has received $150,000 to use advanced diagnostic imaging systems to identify tissues at higher risk for presence of bovine tuberculosis; Shaddari (Montreal) has received $350,000 to apply artificial intelligence (AI) in determining the best vaccines to use during a foot-and-mouth outbreak of the disease, and Sensoreal (Montreal) has received $300,000 to complete a prototype for a rapid screening device that detects paralytic shellfish toxins found in Canadian coastal waters. Cision


Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is contributing nearly $460,000 to create a system of professional advancement for ocean companies by combining a peer mentorship program with traditional mentor-mentee relationships. The Blue Mentorship and Leadership Pathways Project, valued at $920,000, is being led by ECO Canada from Alberta with Atlantic-based project partners the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship, the College of North Atlantic, Nova Scotia Community College, and the Joint Economic Development Initiative. The project focus is on building capacity for emerging leaders from underrepresented groups who are aspiring to train for a career in the oceans sector. COS [Related: Spawning start-ups for Canada's blue economy]

Alberta Innovates has made $9 million available for new water innovation projects, with the program supporting up to 50 per cent of the total project costs and applicants eligible to receive up to $750,000. Priority areas of interest include integrated approaches to water management, management of climate change impacts, and water and wastewater management in rural, Indigenous and remote communities. Expressions of interest (EOI) are due September 14, 2022. Alberta Innovates

Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson has announced an $81.5-million call for expressions of interest to support research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) as part of efforts to lower emissions from heavy industries. The call is being funded through the Energy Innovation Program and will include three intakes to advance CCUS technologies: capture, storage and sequestration, and utilization. Expressions of interest for carbon capture RD&D projects will remain open until October 3, 2022. GOC

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced more than $1.4 million in funding for Big Mountain Foods 2 (Delta, British Columbia) through the AgriInnovate Program. The funding allows the company to add custom, fully automated robotic equipment to the facility and increase commercialization of a plant-based, soy-free tofu product made from Canadian grown and milled chickpeas. GOC

The Government of Canada has launched a partnership with location-based AI software services provider Ecopia AI (Toronto) that will see $8 million invested through Sustainable Development Technology Canada to create high-precision 3D vector maps of 100 municipalities across the country. The creation of such standardized maps could increase the efficiency and accuracy of decision-making within these cities, with applications spanning government, insurance, telecommunications, transportation, and public safety. The project also supports the federal government’s plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Ecopia

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) is making a non-repayable contribution of $10 million through the Jobs and Growth Fund for the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO) to expand its Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN) program. The program connects health science companies with access to capital, business resources, and coaching, which will match commercial-ready health technologies with health organization members. The FedDev contribution will expand a network of more than 20 hospitals across southern Ontario, so more companies can access the initiative and validate their technologies in a working health care environment. GOC

Meanwhile, FedDev Ontario is contributing $7.7 million to the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (NCFDC) to deliver thriveFORWARD — an initiative to help southern Ontario businesses in the technology sector to scale up their operations, as well as supporting the transition of industrial-sector businesses to greener processes. New technology companies are eligible to receive up to $25,000 to help bring their products to market and accelerate their growth, while businesses in the industrial sector can receive up to $100,000 to support the cost of adopting new digital or clean technologies. GOC

Memorial University of Newfoundland has received funding for a new centre for artificial intelligence on its St. John’s campus. The centre will build partnerships with industry and the province’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through collaborative projects, outreach, and continuing education with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and computer related courses. The total project cost is nearly $2 million with $995,000 from the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; $432,000 from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Industry Energy and Technology, and $498,000 from Memorial University. Memorial University


Canada’s professional association for angel investors, the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), reported a record for angel investment in Canada in 2021 with 635 investments made, a 53 per cent year-over-year increase and up from 416 in 2020. Among the key findings: Ontario and Quebec account for 67 percent of 2021 investments, Atlantic Canada 5 percent, Western Canada 27 percent, and the Yukon 1 percent. Women comprised 27 percent of the members of Canadian angel organizations, a 13 percent increase compared to 2020, and a 60 percent rise relative to 2019 and 2018. Betakit Report Highlights

ACTO (Toronto), an education platform startup that offers easily-accessible, remote-based learning options for pharmaceutical representatives and healthcare providers, has raised $23.5 million in Series B, equity capital. The Series B funding came from Questa Capital (Washington, D.C.) and Resolve Growth Partners (Baltimore), the latter of which led ACTO’s $15 million Series A round in 2020. Betakit

Montreal-based media and telecommunications company Quebecor has donated $1 million to HEC Montreal's business school through its Quebecor asterX Digital Entrepreneurship Program. The funding will provide digital strategy assistance to startups, enabling HEC Montréal’s Research Chair in User Experience (UX Chair) to support 100 entrepreneurs over a 10-year period. Companies will benefit from UX Chair resources, expertise, and laboratory time to enhance their ability to test products and services before they market them. Quebecor


San Francisco-based research and policy advisory organization Startup Genome (SG) has ranked the Toronto-Waterloo corridor as the leading site in Canada for start-ups and among the fastest growing in North America. SG's Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022 ranks the corridor 17th in the world, after it  experienced growth of 128 per cent this year, while a record $7.7 billion went to regional start-ups. The report finds that the same five ecosystems remain at the top of the ranking as in 2020 and 2021, but Beijing has dropped one place, with Boston taking its former place at #4. Silicon Valley is #1, followed by New York City and London tied at #2, Boston at #4, and Beijing at #5. SG UWaterloo


Dr. Mona Nemer has been reappointed as Canada’s Chief Science Advisor for a term of two years, effective September 25. Nemer is a medical researcher in the field of molecular cardiology, and has served as Canada’s Chief Science Advisor since 2017. She was professor and vice-president of research at the University of Ottawa and director of UOttawa's Molecular Genetics and Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory. She has served on national and international scientific advisory committees and boards, including Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. GOC

Life Sciences BC (LSBC) has announced the recipients of its 24th Annual Life Sciences BC Awards, recognizing achievements of individuals, companies, and organizations that have advanced successful health innovations and contributed to BC’s life sciences ecosystem. Dr. Pieter Cullis received the Global Impact Award for his scientific entrepreneurialism and advancement of life sciences research. Among the individual awards, given for LSBC's 2022 award winners, Dr. Simon Pimstone and Dr. Lauchlan Fraser received the Dr. Don Rix Award for Lifetime Achievement in Life Sciences and the Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence, respectively. Company awards went to Precision NanoSystems (Deal of the Year); Eupraxia Pharmaceuticals (Emerging Life Sciences Company of the Year Award); Thrive Health (Medical/Digital Technology Company of the Year), adMare BioInnovations (Milton Wong Award for Leadership); Genome BC (Strategic Life Sciences Partner of the Year) and Acuitas Therapeutics (Life Sciences Company of the Year). LSBC


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