A record 11 Ontario innovators awarded $50,000 to become Ontario Neurotech Entrepreneurs ("ONtrepreneurs")

  • Year 6 of ONtrepreneurs program supports start-ups to commercialize brain-related technologies and improve brain health

  • Over $22 million in follow-on investments raised by the previous 34 ONtrepreneurs supported to-date

 

TORONTO, June 21, 2017 /CNW/ - The Ontario Brain Institute [OBI] today announced the 2017 winners of its pioneering Ontario Neurotech (ONtrepreneurs) program to help early-stage entrepreneurs take their ideas "from the lab to the marketplace."

Since 2012, the ONtrepreneurs program has awarded $50,000 to each winner and has supported 34 entrepreneurs to-date. The program flows directly from OBI's mandate to unlock the huge commercial and medical potential from what is already one of the largest communities of brain scientists in the world. One new benefit, through a collaboration with IBM Canada, is the opportunity to access the entrepreneurial services offered through IBM Global Entrepreneur Program, which provides access to the IBM Cloud platform, including more than 150 APIs and services in cognitive intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things, DevOps and security. Additionally, winners will have access to IBM's Design Workshops to support their proof-of-concept and product prototyping work.

IBM Cloud gives developers and organizations a competitive advantage by providing easy access to the infrastructure, services and APIs needed to quickly innovate and commercialize great ideas.

"IBM's collaboration with OBI puts leading technologies, like cloud, in the hands of neurotech researchers to help them rapidly accelerate 'made in Ontario' innovation that stimulates commercialization and drives economic growth," said Patrick Horgan, Vice President, Manufacturing, Development & Operations, IBM Canada.

"Our ONtrepreneurs program is attracting more talent and innovations every year. This year's overwhelming demand pushed us over our maximum and we awarded eleven ONtrepreneurs" said Dr. Tom Mikkelsen, OBI's President and Scientific Director. 

"My nephew was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and I found out that he might never be able to walk. With OBI's funding and support, we are enabling walking, not just for my nephew but the millions of other children with disabilities," said newly awarded ONtrepreneur Manmeet Maggu, CEO of Trexo Robotics, on his motivation to become a neurotech entrepreneur.

Learn more about the eleven 2017 ONtrepreneurs, and watch a short video on their innovations.

Charles Cuerrier
Spiderwort
Spiderwort is developing a creative and original strategy to utilize cellulose biomaterial to recruit cells that are already in our body to repair the spinal cord and restore its function.

Ahmed Elmeligi
HiNT
HiNT is developing a wearable point-of-care device that monitors high-risk patients, and alerts them if they are having a stroke, enabling immediate medical attention before it's too late.

Joseph Geraci
NetraMark
NetraMark services pharmaceutical companies by using a new machine-learning process in order to save time and money during the clinical trial process by revealing precise insights about patient populations.

Manmeet Maggu
Trexo Robotics
Trexo Robotics is building a robotic exoskeleton suit for children under the age of 13 with cerebral palsy that provides repetitive motion therapy through the robotic gait as well as everyday mobility.

Andrea Palmer
Awake Labs
Awake Labs is building a platform to measure indicators of anxiety in real-time to empower care and self-management for people with neurological disorders using machine learning to analyze behavioral and physiological data collected through a phone app and a wearable.

Adam Palter
Pronura
Using eye-tracking technology, Pronura is developing a non-invasive, and inexpensive method for testing multiple neurological diseases simultaneously with accuracy unseen in any current tests.

Eliav Shaked
RetiSpec
RetiSpec is developing a non-invasive retinal scanner for early detection of Alzheimer's Disease pathology years before symptoms occur, so that clinicians can intervene with emerging therapeutics early, when there's a chance of actually impacting the disease.

Mark Thoburn
Mobio Interactive
Mobio Interactive's mobile meditation platform delivers measurable, validated mindfulness meditation programs to high stress clinical and workplace populations.

Michael Willand
Epineuron Technologies
Epineuron Technologies is building the world's first electroceutical device engineered to supercharge and accelerate regeneration of injured nerves. Our technology delivers electrical stimulation that boosts the nerve's natural biochemical process to heal and repair itself when injured.

Erica Tatham
ParticipAid
ParticipAid provides neuroscientists with engagement and knowledge translation tools to make their research more accessible, transparent, and engaging. At the same time, ParticipAid makes it easier for the public to discover, learn about, and participate in research, all the while making the experience more rewarding. 

David Groppe
Waveminer
Waveminer produces AI-powered software to help physicians more accurately and efficiently identify seizure-producing brain regions in patients suffering from epilepsy. Our software will improve surgical access and outcomes for the 250,000 patients in North America who could benefit from epilepsy surgery.

All awardees are available for interviews.

About the Ontario Brain Institute:

The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially-funded, not-for-profit research centre seeking to maximize the impact of neuroscience and establish Ontario as a world leader in brain research, commercialization and care. We create convergent partnerships between researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, and their advocates to foster discovery and deliver innovative products and services that improve the lives of those living with brain disorders.

The ONtrepreneurs (Ontario Neurotech Entrepreneurs) program catalyzes early stage entrepreneurs to commercialize brain-related technologies by accessing funding and support to launch or grow their neurotechnology ventures. The program provides $50,000 to help with their start-ups. Each ONtrepreneur also receives mentorship from experts in the sector, training opportunities to hone their business skills, and access to OBI's community of research and industry partners.

SOURCE Ontario Brain Institute

For further information: OBI Contact: Jordan Antflick, Manager, Knowledge Translation, jantflick@braininstitute.ca, 647-872-1210

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