Federal government doles out cumulative $13.4 million to four healthtech organizations

Medical research

Four Toronto-based healthtech businesses and organizations have received a cumulative $13.4 million in loans and grants from the federal government, through FedDev Ontario.

The federal government said its aim with these investments is to partner with innovative healthtech businesses and support them in helping the Canadian economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“MindBeacon, Cyclica, and InputHealth are three companies that showed a lot of leadership and potential.”

Canada’s Minister of Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario Mélanie Joly told BetaKit the new investments are part of the federal government’s broader strategy to support healthtech innovation and economic development during the current health crisis.

“Through the pandemic, we’ve clearly done more to help the life science sector, either through investing in research and development, particularly in line with therapeutics and vaccines, but also we’ve helped companies to scale up their manufacturing facilities to develop PPE (personal protective equipment), or to change their operations to [create] more PPE, and we’ve procured a lot of PPE that is produced in Canada,” Minister Joly told BetaKit.

The $13.4 million includes a $6.5 million grant for Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP), formerly known as MaRS Innovation. TIAP is a membership-based organization of the University of Toronto that aims to support companies along the full innovation continuum, from early-stage ideas through to commercialization and scale-up.

The federal grant will allow TIAP to expand its programming. TIAP expects to scale-up 32 life sciences companies and support at least six companies to become anchor firms in the southern Ontario life sciences sector with the new funding. Minister Joly told BetaKit the government has supported TIAP in the past.

Healthism Systems, operating as InputHealth, will receive a $900,000 loan from FedDev Ontario. InputHealth offers a cloud-based suite of software solutions aimed to create greater patient engagement, coordination of care and advanced data analytics.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ontario through Ontario Health signed a procurement deal with InputHealth to connect the healthcare system with at-need patients. InputHealth’s online tool, which is intended to help physicians and nurse practitioners provide guidance to their patients.

RELATED: How COVID-19 set the stage for a Canadian healthtech boom

Cyclica, a biotechnology startup that uses artificial intelligence and computational biophysics for drug discovery, has received a $2 million loan from FedDev Ontario’s Business Scale Up and Productivity stream.

The new funding will be used to help Cyclica commercialize a new drug design tool to enhance the way scientists develop, screen and personalize medicines. The software, called Ligand Design, is aimed to reduce the cost and time incurred in the drug discovery and trial process. Cyclica will also grow its team by 14 in Toronto with the new funding.

MindBeacon, a mental and behavioural healthcare provider that offers digital, virtual, and in-person therapies, will receive a $4 million repayable contribution from FedDev Ontario through its Business Scale Up and Productivity stream.

The investment will be used by MindBeacon to scale its digital and virtual therapy platforms and expand into global markets. This expansion will enable mental health clinicians to treat five times more patients than in traditional face-to-face settings alone, and will be integral as clients seek more and more services virtually as a result of COVID-19.

“MindBeacon, Cyclica, and InputHealth are three companies that showed a lot of leadership and potential,” added Minister Joly. “That’s why we wanted to support them directly, as they were a bit more scaled-up than if they were within the TIAP ecosystem, which [consists of] smaller companies.”

Image source Unsplash. Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast