H|T: The Healthtech Times – Healwell CEO dishes on evolution from clinics to AI

Plus: Newfoundland wants to be a biotech hub.

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Fuelled by Well Health partnership, Healwell looks to apply AI to preventative care

In 2021, Toronto’s MCI Onehealth made its public debut on the Toronto Stock Exchange. While the company still trades on that exchange, the business today looks vastly different.

Now operating as Healwell AI, the company has shed its old skin—the clinical business is gone, replaced by a narrowed focus on using AI for early disease detection. The road to this point for Healwell was marked by a series of tactical deals and strategic shifts.


The Ozempic shortage isn’t over, but a private telehealth company is telling customers it is. Doctors say this misleading message puts patients at risk

“We know some people chose to hold off on exploring treatment options due to the nationwide Ozempic shortage, so we want to let you know that the shortage is now over,” the Jan. 22 email from Felix read.

But the Ozempic shortage is not over, at least according to Health Canada.

With the supply chain still fragile, doctors are worried that aggressive marketing for Ozempic as a weight loss treatment by for-profit telehealth companies such as Felix will reignite a shortage, putting at risk patients who rely on the medication to treat their diabetes.

(Toronto Star)

Think Research to be acquired by lender Beedie Capital

Think Research entered into a definitive agreement with its lender Beedie Capital, which will acquire the healthcare software company.

Founded in 2006, the Toronto-based software firm develops and buys tools and content for clinicians.

Think Research executive vice president Mark Sakamoto told BetaKit that the value of the deal is anticipated to be $85 million CAD.


Unbounce among the latest #CDNtech companies making changes at the top

Last week, Aifred Health CEO Marina Massingham announced in a LinkedIn post that she would no longer be acting as the company’s CEO, an unprecedented tidal wave of executive leadership changes in 2024.

The company said in a LinkedIn comment that it has no immediate plans to hire a new CEO, adding that Massingham will be a “tough act to follow.”


NL to Develop Healthtech and Biotech Strategy

The Newfoundland government and two technology sector industry groups, techNL and the affiliated Bounce Health Innovation, are aiming to develop a unified plan for the future of the province’s healthtech and biotech sector, with an internal draft potentially ready as soon as the end of March.

In a request for proposals, techNL has said it is seeking a consulting firm to conduct an economic impact analysis and asset mapping, study the entrepreneurial ecosystem to identify gaps and opportunities, as well as identify investment attraction opportunities.


ZayZoon, Symend, Peggy named to CIX’s top early-stage, growth startup lists

The Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has announced its list of top 20 early and top 10 growth Canadian startups for 2024.

The recipients of the awards will get to pitch in person at the CIX Summit on March 26 and 27, which is being held at the Design Exchange in Toronto. Growth-stage companies on the list include live shopping marketplace Shopthing, as well as health startups Xandar and PurposeMed.


Professor Esma Aïmeur discusses the double-edged sword of GenAI ahead of the World AI Cannes Festival

Esma Aïmeur, a professor at the computer science department of Université de Montréal (Canada), focuses her academic body of work on how humans interact with and are impacted by AI.

Speaking with BetaKit ahead of her talk at the World AI Cannes Festival, Aïmeur shared more about the explosive power of GenAI and why she calls it a double-edged sword.


enGene’s stock skyrockets as Montreal gene therapy developer raises $200-million on Nasdaq

Shares in Montreal gene therapy developer enGene Holdings Inc. more than doubled Wednesday after the company said it had raised $200-million in an oversubscribed private placement priced 31 per cent above its previous closing price.

The company’s Nasdaq-listed stock closed up 116.5 per cent on the day to US$16.50 after the company said it had sold 20 million common shares at US$10 apiece, excluding offering-related expenses.

(The Globe and Mail)

Why this Canadian VC strongly recommends SR&ED financing to his portfolio companies

In a funding landscape growing increasingly challenging for tech startups, the quest for capital has led many to explore alternatives to traditional equity investment, such as government tax incentives and grants.

While it’s a common belief that chasing this type of funding can be a time-intensive distraction for founders, Jason Robertson, co-founder and partner of Nimbus Synergies, an early-stage, healthtech-focused venture capital firm headquartered in Vancouver, has a different perspective.

“[SR&ED financing] is very valuable for entrepreneurs and founders in building and retaining value within their businesses, but also making it much more likely to actually be fundable by an investor in the future,” he said.


Techleft Aims to Help Seniors Age More Comfortably

A St. John’s company is aiming to use a combination of artificial intelligence and wearable devices to help seniors stay in their homes longer.

Techleft is the creation of Viral Galaiya and Kenneth Nwankwo — a pair of Memorial University students who met at startup hub Genesis. The duo are building the prototype of a system to track seniors’ movements and vital signs via wearables, with software then assessing their overall wellbeing, what types of care they might need and potential risk factors for incidents like falls.


Visa Canada, Plug and Play host Toronto FinTech Innovation Showcase to spotlight Canadian startup ecosystem

Earlier this month in Toronto, leaders from across Canada’s financial sector convened at the Plug and Play Toronto FinTech Innovation Showcase to highlight the tech set to transform Canada’s financial services ecosystem.

The event looked to explore opportunities for collaboration among members of the Canadian financial services community, to spotlight leading companies, and to discuss how Canada can accelerate the momentum of its FinTech sector.


Exclusive: Hippocratic AI launches Nurse Advisory Council for LLM safety

Hippocratic AI, a generative AI company developing safety-focused large language models for healthcare, is launching a Nurse Advisory Council that will work in conjunction with its Physician Advisory Council to ensure the safe development of its LLMs aimed at increasing care equity, the supply and availability of healthcare workers, and better healthcare access and outcomes.

The California-based company’s LLM concentrates on nondiagnostic, patient-facing applications, such as certification, ensuring proper bedside manner for patient wellbeing and reinforcement learning from human feedback through a panel of healthcare professionals.


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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