Ontario's Technologies Show Considerable Promise

HTX's Business Investment Program provides over $1.7 million towards Medical Technologies

TORONTO, Jan. 13 /CNW/ - Dr. Morris (Mickey) Milner, President and CEO of The Health Technology Exchange (HTX), today announced the investment of over $1.7 million towards the development of seven emerging medical technologies.

Now in its fourth round of funding, the Business Investment Program has invested over $4 million towards the program, since the pilot launched in 2006. The program is jointly funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, through HTX and the Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc., and the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program. Funding supports business driven R&D undertaken by a team from a recognized Ontario research institution in collaboration with a partnering company.

"Ontario is proud to support HTX in growing Ontario's health technologies sector. The Business Investment Program matches Ontario's cutting-edge companies with our world-class research institutions - helping open new doors for Ontario's best and brightest entrepreneurs while bringing jobs and leading-edge medical care to Ontarians," said John Milloy, Minister of Research and Innovation.

Projects from seven Ontario companies (shown below) have been selected among a pool of 20 proposals to commercially develop or advance their technologies. The projects span across a broad spectrum of medical technologies including imaging, diagnostics, remote monitoring and assistive devices.

    Minimally Invasive 3D Imaging Catheters

    -   Colibri Technologies is developing 3D imaging catheters that will
        provide image guidance during a wide variety of cardiovascular
        procedures. By creating a versatile, disposable and relatively
        inexpensive catheter that uses ultrasound to create 3D images inside
        the body, physicians will be able to do their procedures with
        improved safety and success rates in less time with lower overall
        procedure costs.
    -   The technology is being developed in collaboration with Sunnybrook
        Health Sciences Centre.

    Prostate Imaging Processing Software and Coil Technology

    -   Sentinelle Medical's (www.sentinellemedical.com) project is
        designed to further the field of prostate imaging using Magnetic
        Resonance Imaging (MRI) through the development of two new products.
        The first product will involve a software algorithm that will be used
        to automatically segment the prostate gland from previously obtained
        MR images to create a three-dimensional view for the radiologist,
        which can then be modified to his or her liking. The endorectal
        prostate MRI coil technology will act as an accessory to existing MRI
        units to produce higher quality images.
    -   The technology is being developed in collaboration with Sunnybrook
        Health Sciences Centre.

    Mass Cytometry: Identification of Multiple Biomarkers

    -   DVS Sciences (www.dvssciences.com) is developing a novel cell
        analysis instrument, based on mass cytometry, to determine the
        presence of multiple biomarkers in individual cells at high-
        throughput, for the diagnosis of rare diseased cells in patient
        samples (e.g., stem cells).
    -   The technology is being developed in collaboration with University of
        Toronto's Department of Chemistry.

    Remote Monitoring Platform for Personal Health Management of Chronic

    -   NexJ Systems' (www.nexj.com/uhc.aspx) project involves the
        development and evaluation of a novel remote patient monitoring
        system which integrates NexJ's eHealth Suite with Bluetooth-enabled
        medical devices using technology developed at the University Health
        Network (UHN). The project will enable health coaches and physicians
        to monitor blood pressure and blood glucose for patients with chronic
        illnesses, specifically economically challenged diabetic patients, in
        their home using a BlackBerry device.
    -   The technology is being developed in collaboration with the UHN's
        Centre for Global eHealth Innovation and with York University.

    Eye-Gazing Head Display for Wearable Low Vision Assistive Device

    -   eSight (www.esightcorp.com) is developing a head-worn assistive
        device for people who experience inoperable, low-vision resulting
        from disease or trauma. The device consists of a high-resolution
        video camera and two "micro-displays" to significantly improve the
        wearer's view of the world by optimizing the use of his or her
        remaining visual function. The incorporation of gaze tracking
        technology will enable contextual, local application of image
        enhancement algorithms based on the wearer's specific point of focus
        within the device's broader field of view.
    -   The technology is being developed in collaboration with the Vision
        Research Program of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

    Automated Sample Preparation System

    -   Certo Labs (www.certolabs.com) is developing an automated sample
        preparation system for analytical and contract research laboratories.
        Standard sample preparation laboratory techniques are expensive,
        time-consuming, error-prone and operator dependent. Certo's system
        will help alleviate the burden placed on many labs that face manual
        preparation for the analysis of nutrients, drugs and toxins at a low
        throughput of 20 samples per technician per day.
    -   The technology is being developed in collaboration with the
        Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and with the
        Toronto-based engineering company, Kangaroo Design and Innovation

    3G Word Prediction

    -   WordQ (www.wordq.com) is writing software for individuals with
        disabilities that helps predict words. The software offers plug-ins
        including SpeakQ, which provides speech recognition and keywords in
        combination with word prediction and speech output. Quillsoft, the
        maker of this technology, is currently developing new prediction
        algorithms that will consider contextual information, as well as
        improve accessibility for disabled-individuals, often compromised
        within-browser writing applications.
    -   The technology is being developed in collaboration with Bloorview
        Kids Rehab.


About htx.ca - The Health Technology Exchange (HTX) (www.htx.ca)

From Invention through to Innovation to International Invoice, HTX helps Ontario-based companies develop and commercialize innovations in medical technologies. Our core programs and services include Research & Development and Commercialization and Market Development, which assists the medical technology sector from product evaluation, company creation and commercialization to international market readiness. HTX is funded by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

About The Ministry Of Research and Innovation (MRI) (www.ontario.ca/innovation)

Ontario is making innovation a key driver of its economy. Through the $3.2-billion Ontario Innovation Agenda, the province is capitalizing on its creative environment, diverse culture, highly skilled workforce and internationally recognized education system. By supporting research and innovation, Ontario is helping pioneer new knowledge and new discoveries that will create high-value jobs, a strong economy and better lives for Ontario families.

About National Research Council - Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) (www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca)

The NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) provides a range of both technical and business-oriented advisory services along with necessary financial support to qualified innovative Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises. The program is delivered by a field staff of 240 professionals in more than 100 communities across Canada. NRC-IRAP is committed to working with small- and medium-sized enterprises while they realize their full potential, turning knowledge and innovation into strategic opportunities, jobs and prosperity for all Canadians.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (www.oce-ontario.org)

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. OCE's Centres work in communications and information technology, earth and environmental technologies, energy, materials and manufacturing and photonics. OCE is funded by the government of Ontario and is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda. OCE through its Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), an initiative supported by the federal government, also acts as a catalyst which allows innovative businesses to grow and achieve sustainable, commercial success and global competitiveness.


For further information: For further information: Marcelle Canido, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Tel: (416) 673-8480, Email: mcanido@htx.ca

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