INOVAIT and federal government invest $10.7 million across seven image-guided therapy tech projects

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pam Damoff, delivered remarks at the 2024 INOVAIT Focus Fund Announcement
Private contributions bring the collective project values up to $32 million.

INOVAIT and the Government of Canada are investing $10.7 million across seven commercialization-focused projects integrating machine learning capabilities into image-guided therapy (IGT) technologies.

IGT is the practice of using medical imaging to plan, perform, and evaluate medical interventions, according to INOVAIT, which is a Canadian industry network focused on advancing IGT through the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and machine learning. 

The companies behind each project include Molli Surgical, IllumiSonics, Radialis, MIMOSA Diagnostics, Profound Medical, Rogue Research and Oncoustics, who each have academic or private partners on their projects. INOVAIT’s contributions to each project ranged from nearly $740,000 to nearly $2 million. 

The seven funded projects are part of INOVAIT’s Focus Fund program and were evaluated based on their potential impacts on innovation, healthcare, and economic development. Private partners involved with the projects are investing a collective $21.3 million, bringing the total investment value up to $32 million. 

“Canada has tremendous strength in the research and development of medical imaging and AI technologies,” INOVAIT co-executive director Kullervo Hynynen said in a statement. “We need to capitalize on this opportunity and leverage both these strengths to advance technologies that can improve clinical outcomes and healthcare efficiencies.”

INOVAIT’s largest commitment went to Toronto-based Molli Surgical’s project, alongside Markham, Ont.-based medical device development partner Sonele, receiving nearly $2 million to work on localizing tumors with ultrasound using an AI-based detection model. 

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Toronto-based Oncoustics, alongside its partner the University Health Network, received a similar amount of funding. The startup is looking to remove a bottleneck on clinically assessing  non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which has a label limitation for patients rated over 32 on the body mass index scale, to give higher-BMI patients access to repeated test and treatment monitoring. Last year, Oncoustics was one of two Canadian participants selected to join Google’s cloud accelerator for startups in North America. 

Halifax-based MIMOSA Diagnostics received just under $740,000 to deploy a mobile multispectral imaging tool for nurses. The tool is meant to assess and treat individuals who have active pressure injuries, such as bed sores, or are at risk of developing them. 

Other projects include Kitchener-Waterloo’s IllumiSonics, which is looking to optimize hardware and generate training data for cancer diagnosis; Montréal’s Rogue Research, which uses machine learning for noninvasive brain stimulation to treat a variety of psychiatric and neurological conditions; Thunder Bay’s Radialis, which is developing a PET imaging method that uses a smaller radiotracer dose; and Mississauga’s Profound Medical, a startup looking to apply AI to the patient screening and treatment using transurethral ultrasound ablation, a prostate cancer treatment. 

INOVAIT was founded by the Sunnybrook Research Institute and is supported by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund.

Feature image courtesy INOVAIT.

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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