With the addition of RBC as a partner, the CAN Health Network will now be able to provide Canadian medtech companies with more than just procurement opportunities and commercialization support.
As CAN Health’s first financial services provider, RBC, through RBCx, will expand the network’s offering from access to Canadian healthcare organizations and procurement opportunities to banking services. With the move, RBC becomes the second major partner to team up with the Canadian health network, joining Deloitte, which signed on to support CAN Health in April.
“There’s a real natural partnership, both in philosophy .. [and in] creating a national play, prosperity, and really unlocking the talent that we have here.”
-Dante Morra, CAN Health
“We are proud to partner with the CAN Health Network in the mission to support scaling Canadian medtech companies through capital and non-capital solutions,” said Nicole Kelly, director of platform engagement at RBCx.
Founded in 2019, CAN Health is a federally-funded, Mississauga-based national partnership between Canadian health organizations and companies across the country that aims to introduce new technologies into Canada’s healthcare system and help Canadian businesses in the medtech space grow.
The project works with health sector operators to identify their biggest challenges and matches them up with Canadian-made tech solutions. CAN Health aims to help Canadian medtech companies gain validation and sell their products and services, giving firms access to clinicians and the data they need to validate their solutions, and procurement opportunities in the country’s healthcare sector through its network of partners.
Dr. Dante Morra, chair of CAN Health and chief of staff at Trillium Health Partners, told BetaKit CAN Health is building a platform to help medtech companies “from an access and procurement side.” Now, with the help of RBC, he said it will also be able to facilitate access to capital and other entrepreneurial services as well.
“There’s a real natural partnership, both in philosophy, [in] ‘Team Canada,’ [and in] creating a national play, prosperity, and really unlocking the talent that we have here to succeed as entrepreneurs and in scaling companies,” said Morra.
RBCx will give companies in CAN Health’s network access to various financial products, including credit and specialized banking, exclusive offers from RBCx Marketplace providers, sector expertise, and other custom banking services, including wealth management and personal finance.
RBC already has a presence in Canada’s healthcare sector. The bank has partnerships with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, through which it offers exclusive private banking deals and benefits to physicians, residents, and other members of the two groups. According to Morra, “RBC’s breadth of coverage in the health tech sector provides tremendous opportunity for CAN Health.”
“The CAN Health Network presents Canadians with an unprecedented advantage to drive innovation, create successful Canadian companies, and generate jobs in the health care sector,” Kelly added. “We believe that united we will create a stronger Canadian marketplace for businesses to scale and thrive.”
CAN Health serves health-focused Canadian tech companies like AlayaCare, Maple, PointClickCare, SeamlessMD, and Semantic Health. The project has received $6.75 million CAD from FedDev Ontario, $3.5 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada, and most recently, $2.2 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to support its operations.
Currently, CAN Health operates in Ontario, Western, and Atlantic Canada, serving 22 organizations, including Alberta Health Services and SickKids, which collectively represent about 400 individual healthcare operators across the country. The project is also starting to expand into Quebec and Northern Canada.
“We’ve been super successful in creating a national platform to solve one of the big issues within scaling Canadian companies, and we create jobs, prosperity and we solve real healthcare problems,” said Morra. “So, you know, we’re sort of a triple threat.”
Within the healthcare sector, Morra said CAN Health Network currently has “great penetration” in home care, long-term care, hospitals, and private surgery centres. Going forward, he said the network is looking to expand its presence in pharmacy, lab, and diagnostic services, adding that it has a health organization about to launch in radiology.
“I think, really starting to understand the lab space is going to be critical, pharmacy as well,” said Morra. “You can expect some further developments into those verticals.” CAN Health Network is also doing some of its first projects in the direct-to-consumer space as well.
According to Morra, the time is now for Canada to leverage healthcare procurement and help homegrown Canadian medtech companies grow. “Canada can own the podium, and we’re starting to prove that we can, that we can use our buying power in Canada, and we can have a national strategy,” he said.