An Eye On: Front Line Medical

on November 21, 2019

Founded in 2017, Front Line Medical Technologies has developed a medical device named COBRA-OSTM (Control Of Bleeding, Resuscitation, Arterial Occlusion System) that could save countless lives. The device prevents patients from bleeding out from internal bleeding in emergency trauma situations and gives patients more time to receive emergency life-saving surgery. Dr. Adam Power, a vascular surgeon based at Victoria Hospital and Dr. Asha Parekh, a Western Medical Innovation Fellowship alumna, invented the technology.

Front Line got an initial boost in spring of 2017 when the company was accepted to the first cohort of TechAlliance’s BURST program, an innovative incubation program for high-potential medical technology startups that provided the fledgling company with $70k worth of funding and mentoring. The company was also selected to participate in the second cohort of the Western Accelerator, another incubator that includes funding and various workshops.

COBRA-OSTM is currently undergoing testing for regulatory approval.

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Awarded Western Innovation Funds

on November 21, 2019

Supported by the office of the Vice-President (Research), the Western Innovation Fund (WIF) awards are intended to support projects that will advance innovative research development towards application and commercialization. This competition is for one-time projects based on existing research initiatives.

RoD Printing of Frequency Selective Surfaces

$100K – Jun Yang
React-on-demand printing of frequency selective engineered surfaces for 5G application

Frequency-selective surfaces (FSS) are thin, repetitive surfaces designed to reflect, transmit or absorb electromagnetic fields. To take advantage of new higher 5G radio frequencies, specially designed FSS materials can be placed throughout buildings to enhance the transmission and manage interference. There are many technical and economical challenges to overcome to allow for the large-scale deployment of FSS. To realize the potential of FSS on a large commercial scale, new low costs electronic printing techniques are required. This WIF project builds upon a new patent pending react-on-demand (RoD) technique for printing high-performance flexible electronics. In partnership with The Communications Research Centre (CRC) and Formi 3DP, which has optioned the technology, the focus of this project is to further develop the RoD method of printing conductive circuits to build and test FSES based upon CRC’s geometries. This project aims to move the RoD technique closer to commercialization through testing, validation and scale up of the technology.

Neuroprotective Monoclonal Antibodies

$91K – Gregory Dekaban
Neurotrauma anti-inflammatory CD11d monoclonal antibody immunotherapy

Traumatic injuries to the brain and spinal cord are a leading cause of death among young people. Patients who are fortunate to survive the initial injury often deal with lifelong neurological impairment. With incident rates on the rise, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord (SCI) are poised to become a major contributor to the global epidemiological and economic burden among traumatic injuries.
Greg Dekaban and a team of researchers have developed a suite of neuroprotective monoclonal antibodies targeting protein CD11d which plays a role in immune and inflammatory responses. These antibodies have potential applications in spinal cord and traumatic brain injury along with a host of other injuries that deal with neuroinflammation throughout the body. The WIF will help develop a pharmaco-economic strategy to advance the suite of antibodies to study the efficacy, safety and quality of the innovation, an important step if it is to become market ready and help patients suffering from traumatic injuries in the future.

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WORLDiscoveries Asia

on November 21, 2019

Established 10 years ago to strengthen and cultivate the connections between local organizations and Asian industry, WORLDiscoveries Asia has grown its services provincially and nationally to deliver on its mandate by building a robust business network across Asia and increasing the number of clients served in Canada.

Having successfully completed a one year pilot project thanks to funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, WD Asia validated its business model of providing services to not just local enterprises but to Canadian provincial and national ones as well. During the course of the pilot project, WD Asia brought 24 organizations into its portfolio and 91 technologies from various Ontario organizations including Western, McMaster, MaRS, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Sunnybrook Research Institute. In the last year those numbers have increased to 36 organizations and 119 technologies. The technologies range from medical devices to software used in the development of nuclear power plants.

In the past year, WD Asia has facilitated dozens of interactions between Canadian companies and potential partners in Asia. These interactions included several delegations trips – one led by the former Deputy Director of Jiangsu S&T Commission with executives from Ontario’s sister province, Jiangsu, China’s innovation sectors. WD Asia organized a visit to IBM Canada headquarters and MaRS Centre in Toronto for the delegation.

A key connection facilitated by WD Asia led to a multi-million dollar equity investment and manufacturing agreement for a Toronto-based medical technology company, also generating substantial revenue for WD Asia to bolster its operations and growth.

Through federal funding, WD Asia is expanding its operations in Canada and Asia by opening an office in Montreal and Japan, adding to the London, Toronto, Hong Kong, and Nanjing based operations. This will allow WD Asia to serve more Canada-based organizations through promotion and helping them make connections across Asia. Federal funds will also go towards the development of a new web-based application that will help match Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises with partners globally.

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Proteus Innovation Competition

on November 21, 2019

Three institutions come together

Going into its fourth year, the Proteus Innovation Competition saw 29 registered teams, comprised of 73 individuals compete for three $5,000 prizes and the opportunity to license their selected technology and launch a startup company.

The 2018/19 competition was led by a partnership between WORLDiscoveries®, Western Entrepreneurship, Western Research Parks, TechAlliance, McMaster University, and the University of Windsor. The competition brought together community members and challenged them to create a strategy for taking their choice of technology to market.

For the first time in competition history the competition selected three technologies from three universities. Competitors could choose from one of three innovations: Western’s suite of neuroprotective monoclonal antibodies, McMaster’s artificial placenta, and the University of Windsor’s fused deposition modelling process. Each innovation saw a successful commercialization plan developed by a winning team.

Team Celsus Biomedical composed of Jeffrey Levine and Christopher Leclerc developed the winning business plan and pitch for the suite of neuroprotective monoclonal antibodies. The team’s go-to-market strategy included marketing to hospitals and the military departments as the end user of the product would be paramedics and combat medics who would administer the antibodies to trauma victims.

Team Placentologix was composed of both McMaster and Western students Tim Han, Michael Wong and Joshua Dierwolf. The trio delivered the winning business plan and pitch for the Artificial Placenta which consisted of a 10 year strategy that included product development, human trials, and sales strategy that would market the technology to the directors of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation units across North America.

Finally, the CAM Fusion Technologies team produced the winning business plan and pitch for the fused deposition modelling process. The team’s plan consisted of developing partnerships with the leading 3D printing manufacturers with a special focus on using the technology in the auto, aerospace and medical manufacturing industries.

Proteus has continued to provide an opportunity for business minded individuals to develop top notch plans and strategies for commercializing the innovations coming out of Southern Ontario’s top research institutions. The competition has also served as a hallmark of Western’s entrepreneurship ecosystem with participants also partaking in the Graduate Student Innovation Scholars program and the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship.

“The Proteus competition was an extremely positive experience that allowed me to combine my research expertise in medical innovation with business training from mentors at WORLDiscoveries, to make a compelling pitch for a real-world surgical technology. Proteus has served as a springboard for me to connect with the broader entrepreneurship community at Western, and develop skills to become a strong candidate for my current role as a Medical Innovation Fellow.”

Adam Paish, Western PhD candidate; Proteus participant and winner; former Graduate Student Innovation Scholar; current Medical Innovation Fellow
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Graduate Student Innovation Scholars

on November 21, 2019

A program that promotes and champions skills development for graduate students, Western’s Graduate Student Innovation Scholars (GSIS) program equips grad students with improved career skills both in and outside of academia. Awarded to those students who have exhibited the creation and development of new ideas, personal entrepreneurship, promising career growth, and a solid work ethic, the GSIS offers not only a financial award but a learning opportunity as well.

Consisting of a series of lectures on topics ranging from intellectual property and patents to technology assessment and entrepreneurship, the program aims to broaden the minds of grad students and show them a glimpse into the world of commercialization, entrepreneurship and knowledge mobilization.

A program that promotes and champions skills development for graduate students, Western’s Graduate Student Innovation Scholars (GSIS) program equips grad students with improved career skills both in and outside of academia. Awarded to those students who have exhibited the creation and development of new ideas, personal entrepreneurship, promising career growth, and a solid work ethic, the GSIS offers not only a financial award but a learning opportunity as well.

Consisting of a series of lectures on topics ranging from intellectual property and patents to technology assessment and entrepreneurship, the program aims to broaden the minds of grad students and show them a glimpse into the world of commercialization and knowledge mobilization.

Fall 2018 Scholars

Spencer Chambers
Matthew Demmings
Jina Kum

Christopher Leclerc
Catherine Graves
Michael Lavdas

Jaclyn Longo
Moneca Nicols
Michael Tessier

Winter 2019 Scholars

Dillon Richards
Neneh Thapar
Hugh Huynh

Pankhuri Malik
Kapil Ray
Ian James Villamagna

Ryder Britton
Andrea Petrella
Tim Han

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Western Entrepreneurship

on November 21, 2019

As one of the pillars of Western Entrepreneurship, WORLDiscoveries® has spearheaded several programs that contribute to the overall entrepreneurship ecosystem and culture on campus. These programs include the Innovation Ambassadors, the Graduate Student Innovation Scholars program, and the Proteus Innovation Competition.

Innovation Ambassadors are self-identified researchers from across campus who have experience and expertise in entrepreneurship, commercialization or knowledge mobilization. They are charged with a mission to connect great ideas from their areas into the ecosystem. Through their work in faculties and departments across campus, they are dedicated to developing and supporting an entrepreneurial mindset at Western.

It is also the mandate of the program to provide peer-to-peer networking, peer-to-student mentoring, advice to senior leadership on program or ecosystem initiatives and recognition and acknowledgement of achievements in this area. In the past year, there have been two Faculty Interdisciplinary networking events and a cross campus event on Artificial Intelligence and the Future for Society, which featured a keynote presentation and question and answer panel. These events brought together hundreds of faculty members, graduate students and staff from across campus to engage in an ethos of innovation at Western.

The program also strives to create opportunities for interdisciplinary research and cross-faculty collaboration. Starting with 14 ambassadors at the time of the launch in Fall 2017, Western now has >50 Innovation Ambassadors across campus with at least one ambassador in each faculty with the ultimate goal of having one in each department.

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Innovator of the Year

on November 21, 2019

Duncan Hunter, PhD

Three decades in the making, the cancer drug Azedra, developed by Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc. and based on the work of Duncan Hunter, Western Chemistry professor emeritus, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with rare tumours of the adrenal glands.

The compound used in the drug was first developed 30 years ago by Hunter and his lab team. After undergoing various forms of development, a patent was filed by Hunter and grad student researcher Richard Xizhen Zhu with the help of Western’s technology transfer office, now known as WORLDiscoveries®.

It was challenging finding an industry partner to help further developer the compound for use in a pharmaceutical application as it has radioactive components and working with such a substance involves expensive procurement, security and safety protocols. “There were very few companies in the world that specialize in radiopharmaceuticals. It’s highly specialized work,” Hunter said.

After years of effort to secure a partner, the compound was licensed to a Boston-based drug development company which began clinical trials, and after that company folded, Progenics Pharmaceuticals stepped in and carried the research, licensing and commercialization to fruition, the drug that would be called Azedra.

In summer of 2018, the FDA approved this new drug – which is administered intravenously to patients who have adrenal tumours that cannot be removed surgically and require systemic anticancer therapy. Once injected, the drug acts as a magic bullet, targeting the tumour specifically, shrinking it down, alleviating the symptoms these tumours can cause including hypertension, headaches, rapid heart rate, weight loss, and nausea.

It is for his patience and persistence in the pursuit of science, having developed a compound that will benefit the lives of thousands of patients, that Duncan Hunter has been named the winner of the fourth-annual WORLDiscoveries Vanguard Innovator of the Year award.

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Celebrating Innovation

on November 21, 2019

As the technology transfer and business development office for Western University, Robarts Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, WORLDiscoveries® is pleased to present the annual Vanguard Awards.

This celebration recognizes local researchers, who, through partnership with WORLDiscoveries, have achieved various market-readiness milestones.

2019 Vanguard Award winners

Innovator of the Year

Duncan Hunter

George Gadanidis (Nominee)
Anand Prakash (Nominee)

Patent Issued Award

Jordan Bisanz
Jeremy Burton
Hugo de Lasa
Bo Fan
Elizabeth Gillies
Richard Hone
Ruth Martin

Sarah Mattonen
Marc Monachese
David Palma
Anand Prakash
Gregor Reid
Abhishek Shukla
Peter Soros

John Trant
Aaron Ward
Andrew Wong
Chunbao (Charles) Xu
Zhongshun (Sean) Yuan
Yongsheng Zhang

License Agreement Signed Award

Hwayong An
Marta De Felice
Maria Drangova
Daniel Gelman
Hassan Hassan

Chil-Yong Kang
Gyoung Kim
Steve Laviolette
Tingjie Li
Caroline Schild-Poulter

Kamran Siddiqui
Allan Skanes
Kunyu Wu
Jun Yang

Direct Sales Over $1000 Award
George Gadanidis
Lisa Floyd

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ecommCelebrating Innovation

Innovation Starts Here

on November 21, 2019

Western Medical Innovation Fellowship Program

The Western Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) immerses talented young scientists, engineers and clinicians in training and research environments that build innovation leaders and create novel medical technologies. The 2018-19 cohort of fellows accomplished this in spades.
As part of their program, the fellows completed the Medical Innovation Commercialization Bootcamp at the University of Minnesota and later consulted with clinicians across the local healthcare industry and developed two projects to address needs they discovered that fit within their areas of expertise.

These two projects are being spun-off into two London-based innovative medical startups thanks to the support of BURST, an incubation program for high-potential medical technology startups through the TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario.

Both of the projects – ONPoint Medical and Tune-Out Medical – received an award valued at 70k each to help incorporate the businesses, develop prototypes and further enhance the technologies for market.

ONPoint Medical is a medical device company focused on developing products to improve diagnostics and treatment outcomes in physiotherapy and rehabilitation clinics. Tune-Out Medical aims to help ophthalmologists and patients undergoing eye surgery by providing a way to mask ocular sensation in order to prevent disruptive reflexive movements that can lead to surgical complications and cancellations.
“Being awarded these funds really helps the fellows pave the next phase of their entrepreneurial path post MIF program” said Souzan Armstrong, the director of the program. BURST will provide mentoring to the fellows, focusing their efforts on four main pillars: market validation, company structure, intellectual property and investor readiness.

Entering its fifth year, the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship – in partnership with Western’s BrainsCAN – attracted six talented scientists, engineers, and clinicians to take part in the intense 10.5 month program. The goal is to shape inventive and creative leaders that develop novel medical technologies that solve complex problems faced in healthcare. The 2019-20 cohort will focus on neuroscience, pediatrics, and surgery thanks to support from BrainsCAN, WORLDiscoveries®, the Ontario Brain Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

From L to R: Upon completing the 2018-19 program Ibrahim Marwa founded Tune-Out Medical, which provides solutions for ophthalmologists to mask ocular sensation. Bartosz Slak went on to join Ultrahaptics as a research and development engineer and Mahmoud Ramin joined Info-Tech Research Group as a research specialist. Maryam Siu and Jacob Reeves founded ONPoint Medical which provides solutions for balance assessment to facilitate rehabilitation.

With year over year growth of the program, the Medical Innovation Fellowship has placed special focus on securing funding and strengthening partnerships. The Ontario Brain Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund have provided grants for several program initiatives. Parkwood Institute and University Hospital have allowed more viewership for the fellows to ensure their clinical immersions are as insightful and valuable as possible. The program has also brought on more mentors to provide customized coaching to match the fellows’ interests and needs.

The cohort for 2019/2020 reached six members. From L to R, Souzan Armstrong, the director of the program welcomes Wagner H. Souza, who holds a PhD in neuroscience, Adam Paish, a PhD candidate in medical biophysics, Sathyanarayanan Sridhar who holds a PhD in bioengineering, Bashar Yafouz, who holds a PhD in biomedical engineering, Jeiran Eskandari a medical doctor, and Maryam Majedi a PhD candidate in computer science. They are joined by Rebecca Gould, the program’s new project coordinator.

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Success for Math Surprise is no surprise

on November 21, 2019

While WORLDiscoveries® is normally in the business of finding commercialization partners for technologies in our portfolio, some innovations are better suited to be sold direct to market.

Math Surprise, a line of mathematics and coding books, apps, and workshops are a prime example. Developed by George Gadanidis, a professor in the Faculty of Education and his team, Math Surprise has been incorporated into education programs across North America to help meet the growing demand for computer science education at the primary level.

What started as one standalone product has now grown to a dozen different products ranging from books to short stories and interactive web applications that can be easily integrated into a school’s curriculum. These learning activity resources help students and teachers engage with math and computer science on a more conceptual and emotional level. Gadanidis hopes to promote digital literacy, helping children become creators of the technology that surrounds them, instead of simply consuming it.

In the past year, Gadanidis and Lisa Floyd who co-authored their highest selling book, Coding for Young Mathematicians, received a Vanguard Award for being the first commercially successful direct to market product in the WORLDiscoveries portfolio. The book helps educators provide a low-floor, high ceiling, hands-on learning environment that better prepares students to succeed in a rapidly changing digital world. The book makes math concepts tangible, models them dynamically and gives students more control over the learning process. It is available to individual teachers, schools and entire school boards.

Gadanidis and Floyd have also embarked on offering professional development workshops to educators to better equip them to teach the curriculum so their students get the most out of the learning activities outlined in the book. WORLDiscoveries assisted Math Surprise with developing their workshop agreements and continues to provide marketing and technical support as requested. Math Surprise is one out of a handful of WORLDiscoveries direct to market products with the expectation of continued growth in years to come.

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ecommSuccess for Math Surprise is no surprise