VoxCell BioInnovation takes the crown at the last-ever Collision PITCH competition

VoxCell business operations coordinator Asees Kaur at Collision 2024.
VoxCell business operations coordinator Asees Kaur at Collision 2024.
VoxCell’s 3D bioprinted imitation of natural soft tissue helps pharmaceutical companies test new drugs faster.

Victoria-based healthtech startup VoxCell BioInnovation was declared the winner of Collision’s last-ever PITCH competition in Toronto on Thursday afternoon. 

Collision said that only 70 of the more than 560 startups that applied for the PITCH competition were chosen to present.

The competition is open to any early-stage startups exhibiting at Collision that have received less than $5 million in funding to date and have not had a discernible change in their business models in the last three years.

VoxCell beat out fellow finalists Biofect Innovations, a foodtech startup developing plant-based proteins, and Proceve, which develops project management software for enterprises. 

VoxCell creates imitation natural soft tissue through 3D bioprinting using a “universal bioink kit,” which the startup describes as “multi-component mixtures” that provide mechanical characteristics and biocompatibility favourable to cell growth and proliferation. 

CEO Karolina Valente founded VoxCell in 2020 to help decrease the failure rate for chemotherapy drugs, which Valente attributes to the testing process. By bioprinting simulated soft tissue, VoxCell aims to help pharmaceutical companies test new drugs faster, with its current focus on printing human-like cancer tissues. 

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“VoxCell has created the first bio-printed human-like cancer tissue models that drug developers can utilize to directly inject their drug candidates through the blood vessels,” VoxCell business operations coordinator Asees Kaur said. “This allows us to identify ineffective drugs much earlier in the process.” 

Kaur added that VoxCell isn’t just constrained to cancer, with the startup eyeing applications that tackle neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

Collision said that only 70 of the more than 560 startups that applied for the PITCH competition were chosen to present. The competition was judged by Spring Impact Capital CEO Marlon Thompson, DCVC partner Rachel Slaybaugh, and Borrowell co-founder and CEO Eva Wong. 

Last year’s winner was Ottawa-based mental health tech startup DOT Mind Unlocked, which provides a web-based platform to support mental health caregivers by automating diagnosis, monitoring, and management of their patients.

Last week, BetaKit reported that Vancouver had reached an agreement with Collision parent company Web Summit to bring a rebranded version of the technology conference to the West Coast in 2025. 

Feature image courtesy Collision.

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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