The Digital Health and Discovery Platform (DHDP), a network that aims to establish a Canada-wide health data platform, has received a $49 million grant from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
“The time to harness the power of AI is now so that we continue to augment Canada’s position on the global AI stage.”
The creators of the new platform envision researchers and doctors using the DHDP to fast-track the development and discovery of new treatments and cures for diseases. While the DHDP will initially focus on cancer, the plan is to later expand to other areas of medicine. The project is being led by the Terry Fox Research Institute and Montreal startup Imagia.
“The time to harness the power of AI is now so that we continue to augment Canada’s position on the global AI stage,” said Alexandre Le Bouthillier, founder of Imagia, which made Betakit’s 10 Montreal Startups to Watch list. “By combining the experience of its clinical collaborators, industry, AI institute partners and the Terry Fox Research Institute, Imagia will fulfill its mission to make accessible personalized health care a clinical reality.”
The companies will establish a Canada-wide AI platform that will connect just shy of 100 partners across Canada, including healthcare institutions, SMEs, universities, research foundations, and four of the major AI research labs in Canada. The goal for the DHDP’s cancer centres and research hospitals will be able to quickly share data, allowing them to find solutions on how to best treat aggressive cancers and develop better treatments for each patient.
Bouthillier added that the Canadian government’s grant will fuel a significant next step in the life-changing work of Imagia and the Terry Fox Research Institute, stating the two organizations’ complementary strengths in research and AI will lead to a strong partnership. The new investment is being made through stream 4 of the Strategic Innovation Fund, a program designed to attract and support high-quality business investments in Canada’s most dynamic and innovative sectors.
The federal government said DHDP, which is slated to be a $159 million project, will also help to create and maintain highly-skilled jobs and provide training opportunities across Canada. The platform is expected to be patient-centric and the government as committed that the highest standards for data privacy, security and safety will be upheld.
“The new Digital Health and Discovery Platform will help us to transform cancer research and care in Canada by enabling the new Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network to analyze enormous amounts of genomic and clinical data to find new and better ways to treat cancer patients no matter where they live in Canada,” said Victor Ling, president and scientific director at the Terry Fox Research Institute.
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