- Seed Financing co-led by MEDTEQ+ and BDC Capital
- Fully funds Aifred's North American regulatory approval clinical trial for AI decision support
- New Board of Directors and key additions to Executive Team
MONTREAL, Dec. 8, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - Aifred Health, a Montreal-based digital healthcare company, today announced the closing of a $4 million seed financing. The financing will fund the North American regulatory approval clinical trial designed to test the safety and effectiveness of Aifred's artificial intelligence technology to recommend personalized therapeutic treatment choice for patients suffering from clinical depression. The clinical trial is scheduled to start in Q1/2021 in major U.S. and Canadian hospitals and will enroll approximately 350 patients. The goal of this trial is to validate Aifred's hypothesis that patients treated with approved medication for clinical depression by physicians using Aifred's AI technology will experience greater improvement in their depression symptoms compared to patients treated with standard of care.
"I am thrilled with the close of our latest round and incredibly appreciative of the support we have received from our new and existing investors, particularly as we managed the challenges of the pandemic," says Marina Massingham, President & CEO, Aifred Health who continued: "This funding ensures we remain on schedule for our clinical trial next year and that our AI technology becomes accessible for the treatment of depression as rapidly as possible while we concurrently roll out and commercialize the best-practice module of our technology to help physicians better treat patients with clinical depression."
The $4 million raise was co-led by MEDTEQ+ and BDC Capital, with additional support from the Desjardins Group, Highline Beta and other private and institutional investors including follow-on investments from most of the investors in the Company's 2019 pre-seed financing.
"Mental health is a growing concern, and the pandemic is increasing the stress and anxiety people are facing. We believe that Aifred's technology has the potential to help doctors and psychiatrists better treat the growing number of people affected by depression directly from their offices or via telemedicine," commented Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner, Strategic Investments and Women in Technology Venture Fund. "At BDC, we champion Canada's leading role in digital health technology and the important role of gender diversity in leading innovation. Aifred brings both to the table."
"Aifred Health's approach to decision support for treatment choice powered by artificial intelligence, initially working in the area of clinical depression, has the potential to deliver on the great potential of real personalized medicine for the benefit of the patient, their families and public and private payors across the globe" noted Robert Ritlop, Director of Investments, MEDTEQ+ who continued: "As participants in the Pre-Seed round in 2019 and as co-lead for this Seed round, we are extremely excited to continue to support Aifred's rapid growth and progress towards delivering better treatment choice decisions for the benefit of patients worldwide."
"As a leading life and health insurer in Canada, Desjardins is keeping a close eye on scientific progress in the field of mental health—especially during the pandemic, when the number of people with pathologies has increased," says Martin Brunelle, Vice–President of Growth, Acquisitions and Development at Desjardins. "That's why we decided to become a shareholder in Aifred Heath, a promising startup making a name for itself on the global stage by its participation in the IBM Watson AI XPrize."
Concurrently, the company announced its new board of directors which includes Donald Olds, Chair, Marina Massingham, CEO, David Benrimoh, CSO & Co-Founder, Robert Ritlop, MEDTEQ+ and Steven Abrams, Partner, BDC Capital. In addition, Aifred Health has expanded its executive team to include Monique Champagne, VP Clinical Research & Regulatory, and Joe Cirrincione, CPA, VP Finance. "Our new board and executive hires are significant indicators of our progress towards the regulatory approval and commercialization of our leading-edge AI technology and our evolution as a company. Monique and Joe collectively bring decades of experience in clinical development and the management of fast-growing digital health companies. Steve and Robert bring strong and experienced voices to our board as we chart our future growth and success" summarized Donald Olds, Chair of Aifred Health.
About Aifred Health
Aifred Health, a Montreal based healthcare technology company, is delivering clinician-focused solutions for the treatment of mental health including electronic access to best practices guidelines and a world-class AI approach to providing decision support for personalized therapeutic choices for clinical depression. Aifred's AI model has been significantly validated by their participation in the $5 million global IBM Watson AI X-Prize. More than 700 teams made an initial application, and after more than 3 years of further review and expert due diligence, Aifred Health is the only Quebec/Canada based company in the final 10 companies across the world. For more information please see www.aifredhealth.com
MEDTEQ+ (www.medteq.ca) is the pan-Canadian Consortium for Industrial Research and Innovation in Medical Technology. Its mission is to accelerate the development of innovative technological solutions to improve patients' health and quality of life. MEDTEQ+ supports their validation and integration in the healthcare system and their impact, both locally and globally, by bringing together the complementary skills of industrial and academic partners, and with those of healthcare providers. MEDTEQ+ relies on the financial support of the Government of Quebec, the Government of Canada (delivered through the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)), the private sector and complementary partners to foster research-industry relations.
About BDC Capital
BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, Canada's bank for entrepreneurs. With over $3 billion under management, BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country's most innovative firms. It offers a full spectrum of risk capital, from seed investments to transition capital, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who wish to scale their businesses into global champions. Visit bdc.ca/capital
About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of $359.9 billion. It has been rated one of Canada's Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the World's Strongest Banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.