H|T: The Healthtech Times – Amplitude Ventures closes $263M for second precision medicine fund

Plus: The new Alberta program looking to connect the healthtech ecosystem.

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Amplitude Ventures closes $263 million for second precision medicine VC fund

Montréal-headquartered investment firm Amplitude Ventures, which focuses on the health and life sciences sectors, has closed $263 million CAD for its second precision medicine venture capital fund.

“We have been an early investor in companies leveraging AI to fuel drug discovery and have built a team of company builders, venture partners, and venture associates who are well positioned to drive Amplitude’s powerful investment strategy,” Amplitude co-founder and partner Dion Madsen said in a statement.

The firm says it currently has over $500 million in assets under management, and that the new fund provides the financial resources needed to accelerate the creation and launch of more companies in what co-founder and partner Jean-François Pariseau described to BetaKit as a “vibrant” and consistent Canadian life sciences ecosystem.


B.C. drug developers get boost with government funding for new manufacturing facility

Vancouver’s thriving life sciences sector is getting a boost with federal funding for several projects that will help local medical researchers spin out their discoveries into startups.

Ottawa is providing $140-million to four projects in B.C. for what it calls “Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub.” It’s part of a new $574-million commitment to 19 projects at five research hubs across Canada through a biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy launched in the pandemic.

(The Globe and Mail)

Alberta Innovates launches new program to connect healthtech startups with early adopters, investors

Innovative Digital Engagement and Tech Evaluation in Alberta (IDEATE), launched by Alberta Innovates, is a digital platform that aims to help healthtech startup founders and inventors learn about their future target markets, ultimately helping them reduce risk and secure early investment. IDEATE is specifically focused on digital health technologies, such as mobile applications and wearables.

The program is being supported by a $4.25-million investment from Alberta Innovates and Prairies Economic Development Canada.


Here’s why health-care startups are setting up shop in Sudbury, Ont.

When Barb Ward started her company, Medicor Research, in 2005 there weren’t a lot of other health-care startups in Sudbury.

“Anybody who remembers the H1N1 pandemic, we actually did the testing of that vaccine during the pandemic,” Ward said. “So yeah, we’ve been pretty active over the last 19 years.”

During those 19 years the northern Ontario city has become home to many more startups in the health and wellness sector.


Ginger Desk secures $1.5 million to power health and wellness front desks across North America with virtual assistants

During the early days of COVID-19, longtime naturopath Julie Durnan launched Vancouver-based Ginger Desk out of her own integrative health clinic.

The idea came to Durnan after she saw some of her colleagues in the health and wellness space struggle when they retreated from their brick-and-mortar operations and attempted to continue providing services remotely without front desk staff or a clinic.

“They very quickly realized that it was next to impossible to run a business and a practice on their own,” Durnan, Ginger Desk’s founder and CEO, told BetaKit in an exclusive interview.


CIFAR, CABHI among recipients of more than $850 million in federal science and research funding

The federal government announced $858.7 million in funding to 24 science and research institutions over the next five years from the new Strategic Science Fund at the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) on Sunday.

CABHI itself received $39.2 million to continue its work in accelerating the development of products and services that support aging and brain health.


Akili, maker of a video game to treat ADHD, to be acquired for $34 million

A month after announcing it was seeking strategic alternatives, Akili Interactive, maker of a video game designed to treat ADHD, said it will go private in a merger with Virtual Therapeutics. The deal is expected to net Akili’s shareholders $34 million.

Akili made headlines in 2020 when it received Food and Drug Administration clearance for EndeavorRx, a video game designed to treat pediatric ADHD. Akili went public in 2022 in a deal that valued the company at about $1 billion.


Clarius Mobile Health partners with Novartis to deploy ultrasound scanners to Canadian rheumatologists

Vancouver-based healthtech startup Clarius Mobile Health has partnered with the Canadian division of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis to deploy its handheld ultrasound device to Canadian rheumatologists to support the early detection of psoriatic arthritis.

Clarius said in a statement that the partnership is aimed at increasing access to ultrasound devices and training and improving outcomes for patients living with psoriatic arthritis.


Accelerate Fund III backs Care Group as it looks to expand mental healthcare platform into new markets

The Edmonton-based Care Group of Companies, which offers various healthtech solutions, has closed a $2-million CAD round with participation from Alberta’s Accelerate Fund III.

Care Group said the all-equity round also saw participation from strategic angel investors and family offices, and that it will use the funding to expand into new markets across Canada and the United States later this year and into 2025.


Plenful Raises $17M to Help Curb Rising Levels of Pharmacy Burnout

Just seven months after it emerged from stealth, San Francisco-based pharmacy automation startup Plenful completed a $17 million Series A funding round. The round, announced Thursday, brings the company’s total fundraising amount to date to more than $25 million.

Plenful’s technology is designed to automate the manual and administrative tasks that burden pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.


When the classroom works to scale

Last month, Amanda Fong found herself in Santiago, Chile, presenting a benchmarking analysis to the CEO and management team of a local agriculture-focused venture capital firm.

Originally from Ottawa and now settled in Toronto, Fong has a commerce degree and work experience as a Product Manager for the PC Health portfolio at Loblaw Companies Limited. But she found herself on a two-week study tour of Peru and Chile as part of an optional course in her MBA in Technology Leadership, offered by the Schulich School of Business at York University.

“The pace of change in the business world is unprecedented,” she explained. “To remain competitive and effective, I knew I needed to invest in myself, continually develop my skills, and challenge the status quo.”


Exclusive: Fertility tracker Natural Cycles nets $55M, sees IPO on horizon

Natural Cycles, maker of a fertility app with regulatory clearance for use as birth control, raised a $55 million Series C led by Lauxera Capital Partners, CEO Raoul Scherwitzl tells Axios exclusively.

“In two to three years, we’ll be in the IPO zone,” says Scherwitzl.


Ecosystem Spotlight: Alberta tech is striking gold

Less than a decade ago, Alberta’s global reputation had little to do with its tech ecosystem. But according to Joe Timlin, Managing Director at CIBC Innovation Banking, the province is quickly emerging as a key destination for investment and impact.

“We’ve just seen the ecosystem mature to the point where a number of name brand venture capital and private equity firms have done their first investments in Alberta, and now I think they’re eager to do more after seeing the opportunity set there,” Timlin told BetaKit.


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Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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