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.
The Idea to Innovation (I2I) grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) exists to accelerate the pre-competitive development of promising technology originating from research organizations and promote its transfer to a new or established Canadian company. The I2I grants provide funding to university faculty members to support research and development projects with recognized technology transfer potential. This is achieved through defined phases by providing crucial assistance in the early stages of technology validation and market connection.
Innovation fellowship programs have been developed to immerse highly talented scientists, engineers Innovation fellowship programs have been developed to immerse highly talented scientists, engineers and clinicians in training and research environments that build innovation leaders and create novel medical technologies. In collaboration with the Executive Director, WORLDiscoveries, the Program Director will lead the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program, and develop strategies, policies and processes to secure funding opportunities for the program. The Program Director will develop and maintain relationships with industry, donors, government and other stakeholders, develop strategic plans, and manage the allocation and reporting of financial, human and physical resources to support the MIF program. In doing so, the Program Director will reinforce and advance the reputations for Western, WORLDiscoveries, BrainsCAN and the MIF locally, nationally and internationally, and enhance the MIF program’s brand recognition.
David Muir, BSc’89, PhD’94, with decades of experience in technology research and development in the private and public sectors, joins Western University as the inaugural Associate Vice-President, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships. He comes to Western from the National Research Council Canada where he served as Director, Research and Development since 2015. Previously he held various technical and managerial roles at 3M Canada.
By working with partners in Western’s Faculty of Engineering, WORLDiscoveries has helped establish a Memorandum of Understanding between key mobility technology partners EnerTech Capital, Alectra, and Linamar that will allow for research and development collaborations in the mobility sector. Mobility technology focuses on autonomous vehicles, electrification, fleet management, and connectivity and transportation logistics.
WORLDiscoveries has a history of working with a wide range of industry verticals to help overcome technical challenges and open new and exciting market opportunities. Our team is dedicated to helping both industry and inventors find the solution that could make a difference to a company and a community.
For the culmination of their work through the 10.5-month program, the 2020-21 cohort of Western Medical Innovation Fellows (MIF) have launched a startup for one of their program projects. Tenomix will help commercialize a bench-top robotic scanning device that can automate the detection of lymph nodes in resected colorectal cancer tissues. The purpose of the device is to help pathology staff shorten sample preparation time, accelerate sample throughput, achieve productivity gains, and contribute to the current standard of care with the use of fewer laboratory resources than existing manual methods.
The nascent company just received six-figure funding from FACIT, a commercialization venture firm that builds companies with entrepreneurs to accelerate oncology innovation, with a portfolio that has attracted more than $1 billion in investment to Ontario. FACIT receives support through its strategic partner, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), which is funded by the Government of Ontario. FACIT also runs an annual pitch competition for Ontario-based oncology innovations, and selected Tenomix as a finalist in the 2021 event.
In the midst of the global pandemic, one of the region’s busiest pediatric doctors also became one of the country’s most prolific researchers in service to a broader public good.
Dr. Doug Fraser’s work in developing state-of-art technologies in COVID-19 and traumatic brain injury research is poised to have a national and international impact – and has earned him the prestigious Vanguard Innovator of the Year award by WORLDiscoveries.
WORLDiscoveries is pleased to announce that Souzan Armstrong, PhD, has been appointed Executive Director, leading the business development arm of London’s extensive research network and the bridge between local invention and global industry.
Armstrong has served in this role on an interim basis since January 2021. Since joining WORLDiscoveries (WD) in 2010, she has also served as Director of Business Development, Life Sciences and Director of the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program, which has more than doubled the number of fellowships it offers since 2015. The program has also successfully launched a mini-MIF program targeting Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry students and health-care professionals to promote design thinking principles related to innovation in the medical technology space.
Western has recruited some of the top scientists, engineers and medical residents from across the country to be part of the seventh cohort of its Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program.
Moving into its seventh year, the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program has recruited a group of talented clinicians, scientists and engineers to tackle some of the medical field’s most pressing challenges.
The program takes place over 10.5 months where fellows will learn about topics relevant to business and technology commercialization, prior to being immersed in clinics, where they identify market needs. They then develop and prototype solutions by working with researchers, clinicians and technology transfer offices to generate new intellectual property. Graduates of the program have become leaders in industry, research and health care and have started their own companies.
This virtual event, hosted by the Innovation Ambassadors, was designed to promote engagement with our community by showcasing Western’s research innovation and its impact on our society in a world transformed by COVID-19.
The showcase included a keynote presentation by neuroscientist and best-selling author Adrian Owen. Following the keynote there was three panel discussions with researchers, industry professionals and entrepreneurs on how they adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and how things have changes in research, the economy and society as a whole. The audience was able to take part in a Q&A following each presentation and discussion.