MEDIA ADVISORY: MaRS HealthKick 2015 attracts more than 350 VCs, investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders

Canada’s largest health startup showcase takes over MaRS Discovery District in Toronto on May 7

Last year’s winners scaling their companies internationally, raising more than $36 million in combined funding

On May 7, MaRS HealthKick 2015 gives 39 health startups the chance to pitch cutting-edge health technologies and products to an audience of more than 350 leading Canadian and U.S. venture capitalists, investors, entrepreneurs, c-suite leaders and industry partners. For details on speakers, investors and participating startups, visit:

DATE: May 6 & 7, 2015

LOCATION: MaRS Discovery District, 101 College St, Toronto, ON

Wednesday, May 6:

  • 4:00pm: Launch of TOHealth! Followed by an opening reception sponsored by Johnson and Johnson Innovation – JLABS

Thursday, May 7:

  • 8:30am: Opening, Dr Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District
  • 8:45am:
    • Patient Empowerment & Global Trends, Leslee Thompson, President & CEO, Kingston General Hospital
    • Using Innovation to Empower Patients, Melinda Richter, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS
    • Doctors Communicating With Empowered Patients, Dr. Mike Evans
    • How Healthcare Technology Can Do More For Patients, Lucien Engelen, Director, REshape Innovation Centre
    • What Patients Want and Why They Need to Be Empowered, Dave deBronkart, “e-Patient Dave”
  • 10:05am: Opening Panel: Exploring Patient Empowerment in Digital Health Age
  • 11:15am – 4:15pm: Pitch Sessions in Heath IT, Biotech & Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices & Diagnostics Tracks
  • 2:45pm: Announcement from Ontario Ministries of Health & Long-Term Care, Research & Innovation and Government Services
  • 4:15pm: Awards & Reception

This year’s keynote speakers are globally recognized experts on the topic of patient empowerment. Each speaker will deliver a TED-style talk that explores how innovative health technologies are enabling patients to become the CEOs of their own health.

Dave deBronkart, e-Patient Dave:  When e-patient Dave was diagnosed with a rare and terminal form of cancer, he turned to a group of fellow patients online – and found a medical treatment that saved his life. Now he calls on all patients to talk with one another, know their own health data and manage their own health. Dave deBronkart is the author of Let Patients Help! He is one of the word’s leading advocates for patient engagement and is co-founder of the Society for Participatory Medicine.

Lucien Engelen, Director, Radboud REshape Innovation Centre: A global thought-leader from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, Lucien is the originator of the Future of Health TEDxMaastricht, and part of the faculty of the Singularity University/FutureMed founded by Google, NASA and Autodesk in Silicon Valley. Lucien also started the Global Social Media Network and founded

Melinda Richter, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS: As head of JLABS, Melinda fosters Johnson & Johnson’s external R&D engine and supports the innovation community by creating capital-efficient commercialization models that give early stage companies a big advantage. Before JLABS, Melinda was CEO of Prescience International, a firm dedicated to accelerating medical research to patients, which she founded after experiencing a medical emergency that left her questioning the efficiency and efficacy of the healthcare system.

Leslee Thompson, President & CEO, Kingston General Hospital: Appointed President and CEO of Kingston General Hospital in February 2009, Leslee has led the transformation of KGH from a hospital under government supervision to a high performing, patient-focused hospital. 

Dr. Mike Evans, Evans Health Lab: Known worldwide for his work in innovative health messaging to the public, Mike has pioneered peer-to-peer healthcare through unscripted interviews of patients with cancer in his “Truth of It” video series, health infographics and health media curation, as well as by founding a medical school for the public at the University of Toronto.

Startups pitching in this year’s competition: 39 health ventures will compete in this year’s pitch challenge in one of three competition tracks: Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices & Diagnostics, and Health IT. Example participating startups and exhibitors include:

MyndTec, an Ontario-based medical device company, has developed a technology that enables patients with arm and hand paralysis to regain movement through a combination of electrical stimulation and movement therapy. MyndTec is working with MaRS EXCITE, a unique program that works to break down barriers between technology innovators and the health system to speed up change.

Medella Health, a wearable technology startup out of Waterloo, is developing contact lenses that continuously and non-invasively monitor glucose levels, and transmit the information to a mobile device, so patients can better manage their diabetes., an award-winning website and mobile platform, seamlessly connects patients to healthcare services including comprehensive healthcare wayfinding, real-time wait-time analytics, virtual queuing and a virtual waiting room.

To view the full list of participating startups, visit:

2014 HealthKick Winners Going Global: Expanding into International Markets
Last year’s winners, Newtopia, Profound Medical and PlantForm offer technologies that range from personalized disease prevention and new cancer treatments to innovations in drug manufacturing. Following last year’s HealthKick, each company experienced rapid growth.

Newtopia working with Aetna to offer personalized health solutions to U.S. employers
After completing a successful pilot program, Newtopia signed an agreement with Aetna to offer its enterprise health engagement platform to Aetna’s largest employer customers and their employees. Newtopia is a personalized health company that uses genetic testing and behavioural science to build customized disease prevention plans. 

Profound Medical announces going-public transaction and $28 million financing to fund next stage of growth
Profound Medical is developing and commercializing a unique, minimally invasive treatment for localized prostate cancer. Transurethral Ultrasound Ablation (TULSA) is a real-time, MRI-guided ultrasound procedure that ablates the whole gland, from the inside-out, in a single session. The potential for faster patient recovery and significantly reduced side effects enables patients and their partners to quickly resume their quality of life.

PlantForm proves that investing in biotech is worth the risk
PlantForm is commercializing a low-cost, tobacco plant–based manufacturing platform for the production of biologic drug equivalents—or biosimilars—that are more affordable and accessible to patients. These biosimilars can be used, for example, in treatment of breast cancer, HIV/AIDS and inflammatory diseases, to name a few. PlantForm recently announced support from the Government of Canada to develop their innovative treatment for HIV strains around the world.

Learn more about HealthKick 2015 at:

Lara Torvi, MaRS Discovery District