HelpWear taps Canada Research Chair Derek Exner as chief medical officer

derek exner

HelpWear, a Toronto-based healthtech startup that has developed a non-invasive wearable heart monitor, has announced Dr. Derek Exner is joining as the company’s chief medical officer.

Exner will support the HelpWear team in attaining regulatory approvals necessary for distribution of its HeartWatch device.

In his new role, Exner will be leading the company’s clinical validation efforts nationally and globally and will also support the HelpWear team in attaining regulatory approvals necessary for its distribution phase. HelpWear is developing the HeartWatch, a wearable electrocardiogram (ECG) system that detects when the user suffers a heart attack. The watch then automatically contact emergency services.

Exner is a cardiologist, heart rhythm specialist, and clinical trials expert, who has chaired and participated in several Canadian and international committees. Exner is the associate dean of clinical trials at the Calgary-based Cummings School of Medicine and is a scientist with the Creative Destruction Lab’s health stream. Exner also founded the IMPACT clinical trials program for medical ventures.

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HelpWear is an alumnus of Y-Combinator, Creative Destruction Lab-West and Bayer Grants4Apps and is currently participating in Ryerson University’s Biomedical Zone incubator. The company said in addition to detecting heart attacks, its HeartWatch device records minor heart palpitations and arrhythmias and can flag them for review to a physician.

The company’s CEO, André Bertram, is also one of the three Canadian Thiel fellows named by the Thiel Foundation in June 2018. The fellowship program encourages young people to work on their startup ideas instead of attending college, with fellows receiving $100,000 over two years, as well as mentorship from the Thiel Foundation’s network of technology founders, investors, and scientists.

In 2016, HelpWear participated at the CNE Innovation Garage, where the company won the grand prize of $25,000, as well as in-kind services from Ryerson University, Futurpreneur, BDO, BHOLE IP Law, and Enterprise Canada.

Image courtesy HelpWear

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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