H|T: The Healthtech Times – OMERS Ventures wants you to reset your expectations for healthtech investing

Plus: Pfizer Canada announces inaugural cohort of its Healthcare Hub.

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CANImmunize, PharmaGuide, Wave View Imaging named to inaugural cohort of Pfizer Canada's Healthcare Hub (BETAKIT)

Pfizer Canada has revealed the first cohort of its inaugural healthcare innovation accelerator, created in partnership with Kitchener-Waterloo hub Communitech. The accelerator said it will provide $1.4 million to support the cohort.

Part of the cohort, PharmaGuide's proposal to the accelerator is a patient portal that integrates artificial intelligence into the drug coverage process, meant to predict insurance coverage and increase transparency.

Amazon Pharmacy launches its first drone deliveries (TECHCRUNCH)

Amazon’s Prime Air drone service has been slow to take off for the company, with limited operations in just two locales a whole decade after Amazon first started development of the program.

Now, Prime Air is getting a small injection of activity, quite literally: Amazon announced the launch of drone deliveries of medicines purchased through Amazon Pharmacy, its online prescription drug store.

Canada losing its appeal to Indian tech workers following diplomatic tensions, affordability challenges (BETAKIT)

Nearly half of the 32,000 tech workers who moved to Canada between April of 2022 and March of 2023—15,097 in total—originated from India.

Not only has the geopolitical situation made it harder for Canadian employers to attract tech workers from India, but it’s also made life more difficult for those already here. The sudden suspension of visa services means Canadian citizens who don’t currently have a valid visa are unable to travel between the two countries.

Capital Rx nabs $50M backed by Inova, Ochsner and other health system investors (FIERCE HEALTHCARE)

Pharmacy benefit management startup Capital Rx closed a strategic investment round totaling more than $50 million to invest in research and development to support its enterprise pharmacy platform.

The investment brings Capital Rx's total funding up to $225 million, following a $106 million series C funding round in June 2022. With the JUDI platform, the company can administer pharmacy benefit programs with efficiency and customization across commercial plans.

Conexus, Emmertech alum Sean O'Connor joins TechBrew Robotics as CEO (BETAKIT)

Sean O'Connor, former managing director of Conexus Venture Capital and Emmertech, has joined Salmon Arm, BC AgTech startup TechBrew Robotics as CEO, BetaKit has learned.

TechBrew, an Emmertech portfolio company that builds mushroom-picking robots, first hired O'Connor as interim CEO earlier this year.

In an exclusive interview with BetaKit, O'Connor laid out why joining TechBrew was a "natural" move for both parties, spoke about the startup's progress to date under Boudreau's leadership, and shared where the AgTech firm plans to go from here.

Resetting expectations for VC investing in healthtech

Healthtech investor for OMERS Ventures, Christina Farr, gets the hard truths out: not everything and everyone should be backed by venture capital.

She says we should think more deeply about alternative capital sources to bring into the fold:

"Private equity, for instance, makes sense for a lot of scaled clinic businesses, particularly those with a brick & mortar footprint. There’s grant funding from governments and nonprofits. There’s friends and family; family offices; foundations; crowdfunding; there’s loans from banks, and there’s professional angel investors."

What Allen Lau learned from Wattpad's $754-million acquisition (BETAKIT)

Allen Lau, co-founder and former CEO of Wattpad, has had first-hand M&A experience leading his company to its $754-million CAD acquisition deal with Naver in 2021.

Now, Lau wants to share the lessons he learned with Canadian founders currently pursuing M&A in an ever-changing economy. Ahead of his TechExit appearance on October 25, Lau spoke to the current state of M&A, the value of mentorship, and what role VCs can play.

Healthcare payments tech company Waystar plans to go public. Is the IPO freeze thawing out? (FIERCE HEALTHCARE)

Healthcare payment software maker Waystar filed for an initial public offering, signaling a potential end to the dry spell in the healthtech IPO market.

The macroeconomic environment effectively put a freeze on the IPO market for healthtech companies during the past three years. Waystar confidentially filed for an IPO in August that could value it at up to $8 billion.

Ripple Ventures plants flag in Vancouver as firm envisions “coast-to-coast” Fund III (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based early-stage venture firm Ripple Ventures is setting up shop in Vancouver as it eyes the final close of its third venture fund later this year.

The move out west is a strategic one for Ripple Ventures. The firm is raising its third venture fund, which recently received a $7.5-million investment from the federal government’s renewed Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI). 

Ripple Ventures is looking to take a more coast-to-coast approach with Fund III, which presumably starts with building out a physical presence in Western Canada.

GE HealthCare gets $44M to create AI for mass casualty event preparedness (MOBIHEALTHNEWS)

GE HealthCare announced it signed a $44 million contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop AI-enabled point-of-care ultrasound technology to help clinicians diagnose and treat lung pathologies and traumatic injuries to the head, chest and abdomen.

University of Alberta targets $50 million with new innovation fund, announces first investment in AI system control startup (BETAKIT)

The University of Alberta has launched a new donor-backed innovation fund to invest in local startups, and has announced artificial intelligence (AI)-firm RL Core Technologies as the fund’s first investment.

The university, which hopes to raise $50 million for the fund through donor support, said in a statement that the fund will focus on AI, health, energy, and agriculture as part of the university’s plan to increase its research impact over the next decade.

How Mayo Clinic Is Approaching Generative AI Risk Mitigation (MEDCITYNEWS)

John Halamka, president of Mayo Clinic Platform, gave a window into how his health system is approaching this issue last week during an interview at HLTH in Las Vegas.

One thing healthcare professionals need to keep in mind is that all AI models are biased, he pointed out. If the algorithm doesn’t work as well for a certain group, Mayo Clinic “puts a warning label” on the model so that it’s not used for that population.

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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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