A “MaRSipan” recipe sure to impress your founder friends: MaRS Health highlights of 2015
Getting ready for the holidays? MaRS Health has had an incredible year in 2015. From hosting Canada’s largest health venture showcase to new MaRS EXCITE announcements, we’ve been busy all year helping Canadian health startups build and grow their companies. Before we get to the recap, here’s a quick and easy homemade “recipe” to wow your friends with as you head off to this season’s holiday parties.
(Inspired by Canadian Living’s marzipan recipe with some substitutions in case you don’t have almond extract on hand.)
Yield: Makes about 300 health startups
- 1-1/3 cups sweet and fresh technology
- 1 cup capital, diced over a few years (public or private will do)
- 1/4 cup quality market opportunity
- 1 tsp pure talent*
*Talent gives a startup its distinctive flavour, which you can adjust up or down depending on your preference.
Directions: In a garage, lab, accelerator or similar container, pulse together technology and capital until a minimum viable product forms. Add customers and talent until mixture starts to resemble a startup. (Tip: Your mixture is ready if it takes two to three tries before clumping together easily into revenue.) Roll into log and wrap tightly with competitive barriers. Incubate at room temperature for a few months.
While that recipe isn’t exactly real in the food world, it is in the startup world! MaRS Health works with many health ventures that combine great talent and innovative technologies that are helping to save and improve patient lives.
Last year, according to our annual survey, MaRS’ health ventures raised $193 million in capital, generated $36 million in revenue, and created and retained 1,064 jobs. Here are some examples of what MaRS’ health startups accomplished throughout 2015 and why making MaRSipan can be so rewarding. (Check out 2014’s Advent calendar of highlights, too.)
- Popular in the media: eSight eyewear, which enables the legally blind to see again, received constant buzz from the media throughout the year. Conrad Lewis, the company’s founder, launched a companion charity, the Lewis Vision Improvement Foundation, to help the visually impaired access the life-changing technology.
- Scaling fast: Synaptive Medical acquired fellow MaRS startup ClearCanvas to improve its medical imaging offering. The company also received clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration, landed American partners in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in Lafayette, Louisiana, and closed another $2.1 million in financing. Synaptive is moving its growing team into the MaRS West Tower in 2016, along with fellow health startup LEAGUE.
- B2Insurance: Newtopia partnered with American insurance megacompany Aetna and delivered a one-year personalized disease prevention program with significant employee healthcare cost savings.
- Going public: Profound Medical went public with $28 million in financing. It also partnered with Philips and completed a Phase 1 clinical study to advance minimally invasive prostate cancer treatment. Profound was named the Life Sciences Company of the Year by Life Sciences Ontario.
- Biotech Capital: Highland Therapeutics closed US$50 million in financing to advance its lead drug candidate for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and launched first and second pivotal trials with pediatric patients.
- Canada adopts tech: Intellijoint Surgical launched Intellijoint HIP, its assistive total hip surgery device, commercially across Canada with clinical success.
- Public and private financing: Perimeter Medical Imaging received government and private funding upward of $5 million to advance the development and commercialization of its microscopic tissue margin assessment solution.
- Crowdfunding: Three MaRS health ventures completed successful crowdfunding campaigns.
- User traction: Figure 1 reached 500,000 users and closed $5 million in financing for its medical image–sharing app.
- Dealmaker: Antibe Therapeutics raised almost $1.25 million for the further development of its non-steroidal anti-inflammatory disorder therapeutic. The company also completed a Phase 1 clinical trial, expanded its product pipeline, acquired regenerative medicine company Citagenix, and licensed and signed a distribution agreement with Canadian pharmaceutical company Knight Therapeutics.
- Government partnership: Social Change Rewards launched the National Healthy Living Platform: Carrot Rewards app in collaboration with the Government of Canada (which invested $5 million), the Government of British Columbia (which invested $2.5 million), the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Diabetes Association and YMCA Canada. The company also closed an additional $2 million in private financing.
- Inventor and entrepreneur: Milos Popovic, the co-founder, director and chief technology officer of MyndTec, and senior scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, received University Health Network’s Inventor of the Year Award for MyndMove, which treats arm and hand paralysis caused by stroke or spinal cord injury.
- In situ testing and validation: Six MaRS health ventures received Ontario Centres of Excellence AdvancingHealth awards this year (first and second rounds).
- Synaptive Medical partnered with London Health Sciences Centre.
- Shift Health partnered with SickKids.
- ManagingLife partnered with Toronto General Hospital.
- eQOL partnered with London Health Sciences Centre, the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) and the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
- Mozzaz partnered with the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences.
- QoC Health partnered with Northumberland Hills Hospital and OTN.
- Setting up for procurement: HTX announced the recipients of the first round of REACH funding. The recipients include:
- BrainFx, which will use the funds to validate its sensitive to mild brain impairment assessment tool with Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin; and
- CellAegis Devices, which will use the funds to evaluate its point-of-care remote ischemic conditioning device with William Osler Health System.
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- We expanded our team! Dianne Carmichael joined us as managing director to lead strategy on client-driven value-added services in alignment with the MaRS ventures strategy. Karol Kamecka joined us as coordinator and editor of the MaRS Health Venture Digest.
- Johnson and Johnson Innovation (JNJ) JLABs is landing on MaRS in 2016. MaRS Health continues to build its relationship with JNJ and align our service offerings. Ventures can apply for space and programming for JLABS@Toronto and one year of free space through the Quick Fire Challenge. The deadline to apply is in March 2016.
- We hosted our second HealthKick event in May with five rock-star thought leaders in patient empowerment: Dave deBronkart, a.k.a. e-Patient Dave; Lucien Engelen, director of the Radboud REshape Center in the Netherlands; Melinda Richter, head of Johnson and Johnson Innovation JLABS; Doc Mike Evans of the Evans Health Lab; and Leslee Thompson, president and CEO of Kingston General Hospital. Congratulations to our pitch winners: EMERpharma, Mindful Scientific and QoC Health. Thank you to our valued sponsors and to the steering committee that made the event possible.
- HealthKick is evolving! We’ve partnered with Life Science Nation to host Redefining Early Stage Investing at MaRS on June 23, 2016, in order to attract more global early-stage investors to Canada. Johnson and Johnson Innovation JLABs is our key sponsor. Stay tuned here!
- MaRS EXCITE announced a new US-based participant: Assurex Health is a precision medicine company that helps Canadians suffering from schizophrenia and depression. EXCITE also welcomed William Charnetski, the chief health innovation strategist for Ontario, to its management board. In other EXCITE news, two of the program’s participants, MyndTec and BresoTec, received greater public attention as rehab revolutionaries.
- MaRS partnered with Hacking Health, BDC Capital and Real Ventures to launch the Hacking Health Accelerator, which invests in and develops seed-stage healthcare companies.
- We partnered with REshape Center at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands to collaborate on joint programs to advance health and healthcare innovation globally.
- MaRS Health is continually building relationships with local health receptors to work with health startups and improve innovation adoption in Ontario. This year, we partnered with Toronto East General Hospital, Saint Elizabeth and ventureLab.
- Mike Serbinis, the founder and CEO of LEAGUE, and Stefan Larson, entrepreneur-in-residence at Versant Ventures and the CEO of Northern Biologics, joined the MaRS Board of Directors, adding to our health and entrepreneur representation.
- The Innovation Learning Network’s InPerson Meeting saw hundreds of health leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs from North America and Europe descend on MaRS for three days to exchange and learn innovation methods in diverse contexts, including health system players Kaiser Permanente, HealthPartners Regions Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and HopeLab.
Thank you as always to our amazing support team of volunteer advisors who dedicate their time and expertise to MaRS Health ventures and staff day in and day out.
For more news like this, follow our MaRS Health Pressly page, where you’ll find up-to-date curated content on the health industry and startup community.
Happy holidays from MaRS Health—and a happy new year full of MaRSipan!