Myomar Molecular closes $1.1 million to bring its muscle monitoring device to market

Healthtech startup recently won $50,000 from the Firehood Angel Camp at SAAS NORTH.

Halifax-based healthtech startup Myomar Molecular has closed $1.1 million CAD in pre-seed funding as it looks to commercialize its muscle health monitoring device.

The pre-seed round comprises a mix of equity and grant funding. The round’s equity portion was led by an undisclosed Nova Scotia angel investor, with participation from other Ontario and Atlantic Canada-based angels through the Women’s Equity Lab. The grant funding comprises contributions from both the Canadian and Nova Scotia governments.

“Muscle is the main organ responsible for our health span, but there isn’t a simple and accessible way to monitor muscle health.”

Rafaela Andrade

Myomar also recently secured $50,000 in prize money at the Firehood Angel Camp at SAAS NORTH 2023, which it has tacked onto the $1.1-million total.

Myomar Molecular was founded in 2021 by CEO Rafaela Andrade. After completing her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at Dalhousie University, she transitioned into her postdoctoral fellowship, where she focused on muscle metabolism and muscle-related diseases. 

Andrade’s connection to muscle health also has personal roots. In 2018, her aunt succumbed to injuries from a fall, which was a direct result of undiagnosed muscular degeneration.

“She didn’t have any physical symptoms that she was getting weak,” Andrade told BetaKit. “But her muscles were deteriorating really quickly.”

Andrade said muscle health is an oft-overlooked segment in healthcare. One 2018 study found that muscle mass can be a key indicator of overall health, including mortality risk. Carla Prado, associate professor at the University of Alberta and principal author of the paper, said “muscle mass should be looked at as the new vital sign.”

“Muscle is the main organ responsible for our health span but there isn’t a simple and accessible way to monitor muscle health,” Andrade added.

According to Andrade, monitoring muscle deterioration typically involves the use of imaging technologies like computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which require operation by trained professionals. This setup results in infrequent muscle assessments for most individuals due to the location and the need for specialized technicians.

Myomar’s test kit, likened to a home-use pregnancy test, includes a urine test coupled with a software application that interprets the results from a chemically treated test strip. The app captures and analyzes the test strip image, identifies levels of biomarkers linked to muscle health present in the urine. It then applies a mathematical model to estimate muscle loss, and shares this information with the user’s healthcare provider.

Myomar began developing the device in 2021, and graduated from Creative Destruction Lab’s Atlantic Canada stream in 2022. The startup initially began raising convertible notes in early 2023, but since it was in the midst of clinical trials, Andrade said Myomar paused fundraising and closed the remaining capital at the end of the year.

Following what Andrade described as a “very successful” beta test of its device with clinics last year, the startup is now looking to secure regulatory approvals with Health Canada. The device is currently available for early access, and Myomar plans to begin selling it in the fall.

The new funding will be used to support those efforts, as well as scale Myomar’s team, which currently sits at eight. Andrade said the startup is particularly looking to add operational staff as it gears up to start selling the device. 

Myomar is also looking to develop a test that will be specific for neuromuscular diseases, such as muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS. That test would help clinicians monitor the muscle degeneration process as patients are diagnosed and treated.

For Andrade, the “big vision” is to start selling its point-of-care test in the United States as soon as 2025. She noted that while many companies in the US detect overall aspects of muscle, such as hydration levels, heart health, or the immune system, there are no products dedicated to exclusively measuring muscle health.

“We are actually going to be first in the market with a technology that looks specifically to muscle,” she said. “Point of care diagnostics has become a huge market, especially in the US, so we are very excited to actually enter this market with a completely new product.”

Feature image courtesy Myomar Molecular.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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