Nearly 200 people from the Southern Ontario’s growing life science ecosystem, gathered virtually for the final showcase event for Innovation Factory’s ninth annual Synapse Competition, Ontario’s premier life science pitch competition.
Following an intense three-month training and commercialization program, 14 of Ontario’s innovative early-stage life science companies unlocked a $5,000 grant to support their commercialization journey to business success.
At the competition finale, the top three Synapse Competition finalists; Tenomix, Goji Technology Systems Inc, and Kultura Diagnostics went on to deliver their pitch to the esteemed judging panel and compete for their share of over $105,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, while the remaining eleven finalists competed in a “Quick Pitch” – a pre-recorded, short pitch presentation for $2,500 which Tenomix won last year.
This year, Tenomix was named the grand prize winner, taking home a prize of $50,000 in cash along with an in-kind prize package courtesy of Shift Health, an in-kind legal package from Ridout & Maybee LLP, and a one-year membership with Life Sciences Ontario and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.
The startup was founded by Saumik Biswas, PhD’20, Eveline Pasman, Sherif Abdou and Michael Lavdas, MESc’20, as one of their projects in the 2020-21 Western Medical Innovation Fellowship. The founders joined up with two students, Nicholas Pehme (Western) and Kyle Jackson (McMaster), to complete their competition team.
Tenomix’s mission is to develop novel technologies that target inefficiencies in the pathology workflow, optimize cancer care, and reduce healthcare costs. Their dedicated team of engineers, medical doctors, and clinical scientists is currently working on Tenomix’s flagship device, which autonomously searches for lymph nodes in surgically removed colorectal cancer tissues and marks their locations for efficient extraction.
This bench-top device replaces the existing tedious and unreliable manual lymph node finding process and greatly improves the speed and reliability of the cancer staging process. This enables clinicians to make better-informed treatment decisions, resulting in fewer patient complications and fatalities, and ensures hospitals continuously meet their quality metrics.
“The Tenomix team is incredibly proud and beyond excited to have placed first in the 2022 Synapse Life Science Competition,” said Biswas, CEO of Tenomix. “The cash prize and in-kind services received from this competition will help us reach our next critical milestones, which are to finalize our beta-prototype and conduct a clinical pilot study. Receiving this recognition also helps us get one step closer to our vision, where we plan to be at the forefront of pathology innovation, providing pathology staff with the right tools to help deliver the best patient care,” he continued.
Since the inaugural Synapse Life Science Pitch Competition in 2013, Innovation Factory has worked with more than 100 companies and awarded over $600,000 in cash and in-kind resources through the support of its sponsors.
Each year, the innovators selected as finalists, form teams with post-secondary students. Together, the teams participated in three months of intensive training, where they produced commercialization plans and investor pitches for their ventures.