H|T: The Healthtech Times – Healthtech startups get DIGITAL funding for AI

doctor, health
Plus: Once worth $2.3B, COVID-19 test maker Cue Health shutters.

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DIGITAL invests $10.5 million across four AI projects from healthtech startups

Canada’s Global Innovation Cluster for digital technologies (DIGITAL) is investing $10.5 million across four projects from Canadian startups working on integrating artificial intelligence into healthcare.

The projects aim to use AI to speed up clinical trials, improve connecting patients to doctors, improve file management for home care workers, and improve wound treatment. Private sector partner investments alongside DIGITAL’s contribution bring the value of the projects up to approximately $26 million.


San Diego COVID-19 test maker Cue Health — once worth $2.3B — lays off entire company and shuts down

Cue Health, the once high-flying San Diego biotech supplying rapid COVID-19 test kits to the NBA and Google, is laying off all employees and shutting down on Friday.

Cue’s closure comes a week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to throw away its COVID-19 test kits because they could give false results. The San Diego firm said on Thursday it stopped selling the COVID-19 tests, its only fully FDA-approved commercial product.

(The San Diego Tribune)

Startupfest shares full schedule for 2024 tech festival

Montréal technology festival Startupfest has released a detailed agenda for its upcoming event, which will take place at the Grand Quay from July 10 until July 12 this summer.

Speakers and mentors at Startupfest will include Shopify president Harley Finkelstein, Indigo CEO Heather Reisman, and BetaKit chair Satish Kanwar.

Like in years past, Startupfest 2024 will feature educational talks, workshops, and networking opportunities for startups, investors, and other players from across Canada’s tech ecosystem.


London Drugs employee data leaked on dark web after cybersecurity breach

More than three weeks after a cybersecurity breach forced London Drugs Ltd. to temporarily close its stores, the Vancouver-based retailer acknowledged that sensitive employee data have been leaked.

Russian malware group LockBit posted hundreds of files on the dark web on Thursday, after a deadline it set for London Drugs to pay a ransom had passed. That included files that appeared to contain financial and personal information about the company’s employees such as sexual harassment complaints, immigration applications, relationship disclosures and termination letters, The Globe and Mail has verified.

The company had previously said that it was not willing or able to pay the ransom that LockBit had demanded.

(The Globe and Mail)

Federal government invests $2.5 million in Co.Labs to maintain Uniting the Prairies

Saskatoon-based technology hub Co.Labs has received just over $2.5 million from the federal government to keep its annual Prairies tech event alive.

The federal government said the funding is aimed at continuing the growth of Saskatchewan’s tech ecosystem, including staging the Uniting the Prairies conference over the next three years and establishing a new Expert in Residence (XiR) program to provide strategic advice to “high performing” founders and “high growth” companies.


Drug discovery biotech LabGenius raises a £35m Series B

UK drug discovery startup LabGenius, which uses machine learning to find and design antibody therapies to treat cancer, has raised a £35m Series B led by the VC arm of pharma company Merck, M Ventures, with participation from Octopus Ventures, LG Corp, Atomico, Kindred Capital, Lux Capital and Obvious Ventures. The investment brings LabGenius’s total funding to date to £58m.

The company will use the capital raised to make its machine learning-driven discovery platform more comprehensive, to facilitate more strategic partnerships and invest in its drug development for solid tumours.


Pesa is banking on Canadians’ sense of duty

Tolu Osho knows first-hand the sense of responsibility that many newcomers to Canada feel when it comes to sending money back home.

“I started thinking about solving this problem on how to ensure that people can transfer or send money back home at a reasonable cost,” said Osho.

In 2021, Oshu worked with software engineers Yusuf Yakubu and Adewale Afolabi to launch Pesa, an app that aims to make sending and receiving funds across borders as hassle-free as transferring money locally.

“There’s a culture shock when it comes to the financial aspects of moving to a new country,” he said. “We want to be able to get people familiarized with this experience, even before you land or just when you land, so that it looks like you never missed a beat.”


Precision medicine company Tempus AI files to go public

Three years after talks of an IPO surfaced, health tech company Tempus AI lit the fuse and is looking to go public this year.

The Chicago-based company, which provides data and analytics tools for precision medicine, filed for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. Tempus AI is looking to raise up to $100 million in a public offering, according to some reports. But, terms of the sale share have not yet been set. No pricing terms were disclosed in the filing.

(Fierce Healthcare)

Daniel Vranesic of TXIO is on a mission to improve personal finance

You would think that Daniel Vranesic, CEO of Toronto-based TXIO, would be difficult to surprise with numbers.

For years, TXIO has licensed its banking, payments and brokerage platform to a range of global clients. But when the company developed Neontra, an app for managing and planning personal finance, Vranesic decided to test the product’s “non-essential spending” category on himself.

“I knew I made too many non-essential purchases, especially sports-related gear for my kids,” he said. “But when our AI-generated insights told me how my non-essential spending compared to the average Canadian, I was shocked.”


LifeLabs to appeal court’s decision to release Ontario IPC and BC OIPC breach investigation report

LifeLabs has announced that it is seeking leave to appeal a court ruling upholding the decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (OIPC) to make public their joint investigation report concerning the 2019 cyberattack on LifeLabs’ computer systems.

The IPC and the OIPC conducted a joint investigation into the cyberattack that affected over eight million of the company’s customers spanning both provinces. The joint investigation report was completed in June 2020.

Although LifeLabs complied with the orders and recommendations set out in the joint investigation report, the company claimed the report should not be released to the public as it contained solicitor-client and litigation-privileged information.

(Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario)

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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