H|T: The Healthtech Times – Turnstone Biologics goes public, Dialogue Health to be acquired

a device for testing blood on a desk. it resembles a desktop computer in shape and size
Plus: Vital Bioscience reveals desktop blood tester with big backers.

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Vital Bio reveals blood-test solution with funding from OpenAI, Salesforce CEOs (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Vital Biosciences has revealed its desktop blood-testing solution this week, following the wave of startups developing solutions to make diagnostics more accessible in the wake of the high-profile collapse Silicon Valley’s Theranos.

According to Vital, it has raised $48 million in funding to date with backing from a number of notable leaders in tech, such as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Ottawa-born Turnstone Biologics goes public on Nasdaq, expects to raise US$80M (OTTAWA BUSINESS JOURNAL)

An Ottawa-born biotech startup that landed more than $170 million in venture capital is going public on the Nasdaq exchange.

Turnstone Biologics – which develops cancer-fighting viruses and was founded by three Ontario medical researchers, including Dr. John Bell of the Ottawa Hospital – was expected to begin trading on the New York-based stock exchange on Friday under the symbol TSBX and raise $80 million.


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Sun Life Canada to acquire Dialogue Health Technologies (BETAKIT)

Dialogue will maintain its head office in Montréal and operate as a standalone entity as part of Sun Life Canada. The management team, including founding shareholders CEO Cherif Habib and CTO Alexis Smirnov, will roll a portion of their equity ownership and remain in their current roles.

The total equity value of Dialogue is $365 million CAD on a fully diluted basis (or $277 million for equity not currently owned by Sun Life or rolled by certain members of Dialogue’s executive management).

Headspace banks $105M in new financing as it eyes potential M&A and expansion of enterprise business (FIERCE HEALTHCARE)

Digital mental health company Headspace secured $105 million in new debt financing as it eyes opportunities to expand its business with employers and health plans.

Earlier this month, Headspace laid off 181 workers or about 15% of its workforce. The cuts marked the second round of layoffs for the company in the past year as part of an overall business restructuring towards a path to profitability.

Practice Better acquires That Clean Life for a healthy-sounding eight figures (BETAKIT)

Practice Better has acquired That Clean Life. Practice Better is a practice-management software platform for health and wellness professionals, while That Clean Life offers nutrition-planning software for clinicians.

Practice Better declined to disclose an exact sum, but the eight-figure USD acquisition allows Practice Better customers to integrate nutrition planning and healthy eating into the workflows of customers and care plans for clients.

Proprio raises $43M to commercialize surgical navigation platform (MOBIHEALTHNEWS)

AI-enabled surgical technology company Proprio announced it secured $43 million in Series B funding from new and existing investors.

The Seattle-based company offers an FDA-cleared surgical navigation platform dubbed Paradigm, which utilizes light field technology and artificial intelligence to generate 3D visualization of surgery, allowing for intraoperative scans to be seen in real-time.

Canadian venture status report: Q2 2023 (BETAKIT)

New data from briefed.in gives an optimistic outlook on the venture health of Canada's biggest tech ecosystems in Q2 2023.

Following a sluggish start to the year, Toronto and British Columbia's tech ecosystems saw a resurgence in venture funding in the quarter, mostly due to larger deals between fewer companies. 

Alberta tech is on pace to eclipse its 2022, with companies raising a lively $123.8M in Q2 2023. Québec followed suit, maintaining an upward trajectory in the quarter, growing 42 percent from Q1 2023 and 81 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, venture deal volume in the Waterloo Region reached a three-year low in the second quarter of 2023, but unreported deals could be shaping an unfair perception of the local tech sector.

AWS rolls out generative AI service for healthcare documentation software (FIERCE HEALTHCARE)

Amazon Web Services announced Wednesday a new AI-powered service for healthcare software providers that will help clinicians with paperwork.

With the new service, AWS HealthScribe, healthcare software providers can use a single API to build clinical applications that automatically generate preliminary clinical notes by analyzing patient-clinician conversations.

Liberum raises $1.8 million for ‘protein synthesis as a service’ (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Liberum calls its platform “protein synthesis as a service,” and has raised $1.8 million in seed funding to further develop its technology.

Companies can bring their digital sequences—the chemical instructions to make a protein—to Liberum and expect to receive their purified proteins in as little as two weeks, Liberum CEO and co-founder Aidan Tinafar claims.

Ontario organizations secure nearly $20 million in federal funds to drive entrepreneurship, job creation (BETAKIT)

$19.5 million in federal funding for Ontario-based companies and business hubs was announced on Monday, meant to drive growth in existing startups and establish new ventures.

Among the companies was AI-assisted medical coding and auditing platform Semantic Health, which received $500,000.

RapidAI Rakes In $75M to Accelerate Stroke Diagnosis (MEDCITYNEWS)

RapidAI, which offers an AI platform that helps hospital care teams triage and treat stroke patients more quickly, recently closed a $75 million Series C funding round.

RapidAI sells its platform to hospitals using a standard annual subscription model. The platform has been deployed in more than 2,200 hospitals in over 100 countries, CEO Karim Karti said.

Impact of Canada’s H-1B visa talent grab may go well beyond 10,000 applicants (BETAKIT)

Though Canada's new H-1B visa program was only announced weeks ago, it’s already having a profound impact. In developing a visa program unapologetically piggybacking on America’s H-1B visa process—and in many ways, offering a clear contrast to its limitations—the IRCC appears to have struck a nerve.

When the program's online portal launched on July 16, its 10,000 application limit had been reached by the next evening.

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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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