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Healthcare and Wellness : Innovation + Job News

135 Healthcare and Wellness Articles | Page: | Show All

Pharmaceutical giant Roche Canada to invest $190 million in Mississauga R&D facility, hire 200

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Roche Canada will invest $190 million to construct a new research and development facility in Mississauga, the company announced last week. According to information sent in an email by Corporate Affairs Manager Mike Vesik, "The Mississauga site will coordinate the execution of global clinical trials both within the Roche affiliate network that support more than 60 countries world-wide, and as outsourced trials working with Contract Research Organizations."

"We are extremely pleased to bring global Pharmaceutical Development opportunities to Ontario," Roche Canada President and CEO Ronnie Miller said in his announcement. "We have built a respected clinical expertise within the Roche global network, and this new capability will firmly establish Roche Canada, and the province of Ontario, as a global hub for life sciences and biopharmaceuticals."

The facility will be one of six global research centres for the company, developing new medicines, taking them through testing and trials and bringing them to market. The company estimates the facility will create 200 new jobs through direct employment. Vesik says that the jobs be for both scientists to lead and manage clinical trials and for support staff, and adds that the talent pool in the GTA and the area's school's is one of the key assets of the plant's location.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Mike Vesik, Roche Canada

VisualSonics launches innovative new cancer disgnostic imaging technology

The Toronto-based company VisualSonics has launched a new medical imaging product that it says could revolutionize the world of cancer diagnosis. The Vevo LAZR is an acoustic photoimaging technology that allows researchers to study tumour growth in real time. VisualSonics claims that this process allows doctors access to real-time information of tumour growth and mutation that they have never had before.

VisualSonics President and CEO Anil Amlani says his company's new technology will allow "acceleration in the study of cancer and its treatment enabling early detection, early diagnosis and rapid personalized treatment." In a statement provided by VisualSonics, David A. Jaffray of the Ontario Cancer Institute at the Princess Margaret Hospital says, "This imaging system has the potential to transform the way we diagnose and treat cancer."

VisualSonics specializes in medical imaging technology that allows real-time, in vivo, systems for research. Based in North York, it is a division of the Seattle-based company SonoSite.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Shailja Tewari, VisualSonics

Medical research database startup 1DegreeBio prepares to expand with investment from Digital Science

Earlier this year, we wrote about medical research database startup 1DegreeBio, founded by Alex Hodgson to bring some of the advantages of the open-source, social media and online research worlds to the sphere of antibody research. 1DegreeBio's platform allows researchers to access research and reviews of commercially available antibodies from other researchers around the world instantly. As Hodgson said then, she's dedicated to the proposition that "you can't do great research with crap antibodies."

Last week, as the company celebrated it's first anniversary in business, they received investment money from Digital Science, a research publishing company that is a division of Macmillan Publishers. Digital Science is based in London, UK (with offices in New York and Tokyo) and has been building a portfolio of research software companies. A company spokesperson said in a statement that 1DegreeBio provided a very necessary service to the research community the company aims to serve and therefore made a valuable addition to Digital Science's group of global partners.

Locally, 1DegreeBio Managing Director Hodgson greeted the investment in a statement saying that the money would allow her organization to continue to grow. "This partnership will allow us to expand our platform to make it even easier for the scientific community to connect with top-quality antibodies." She added that the company will soon expand its product offering to include other products.

Since launching a year ago, 1DegreeBio has built a database that lists over 500,000 available antibodies available from over 900 suppliers. Their system of encouraging informed product reviews--a novelty in the medical research field--has generated over 40,000 unique visits to their website.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Kaitlin Thaney, Digital Science; Alex Hodgson, 1DegreeBio

Mississauga's MedX Health buys innovative MoleMate diagnostic tool

Mississauga'a MedX Health has announced the purchase of Siascopy, including its proprietary non-invasive imaging system MoleMate for diagnosis of dermatalogical issues such as moles and lesions. MoleMate has already received approvals in the United States, and MedX intends to begin marketing and sales of the product to American physicians within a matter of weeks.

"The FDA approved MoleMate Skin Imaging System is a significant advance in the early detection of potentially life threatening moles and lesions. Physicians have also found the hand-held device easy to learn and use, and that it rapidly provides accurate images of the pigment, blood, and collagen below the mole or lesion. Now, for the first time, physicians can more accurately evaluate suspicious moles and lesions in a non-invasive, pain-free way. Experts also believe it may reduce the need for time consuming and expensive biopsies," Steve Guillen, President and CEO of MedX Health Corp, said in his statement announcing the purchase.

MedX is a 12-year-old company that designs, manufactures and distributes a range of light- and laser-based non-invasive therapeutic tools, including "laser accupuncture" treatements marketed for addiction therapy, dental, vetrinary and arthritic and muscle therapies.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Steve Guillen, President and Chief Executive Officer, MedX Health Corp.

Innovative public health site joinstemcellcity.com launches in Toronto to rally support for research

Earlier this month, the McEwan Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto launched an innovative new approach to raising awareness of the need for stem cell research and to generate support for regenerative medicine: a website called joinstemcellcity.com.

The website will use social media tools--updates on new discoveries and devlopments in research, a "join the community" approach to recruiting and educating supporters, and functions that allow people to direct their support to specific areas of research--to create public support for the field. Cheryl McEwan, a founder of the McEwan Centre for Regenerative Medicine, said in a statement announcing the project that it would allow users to "Stand up and be counted as an informed Canadian who believes that stem cell research will help us achieve a future free of many of the diseases that continue to devastate us all."

Organizers told reporters that they had noted that public support is a key element in attracting both private donations and public grants, and said the site will serve the purpose of both raising awareness that supports research in general and in generating private donations.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Stacy O'Rourke, for the McEwan Centre; The Globe and Mail

GalaxoSmithKline will expand Mississauga plant, create 70 new jobs

GalaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced an expansion of its Mississauga manufacturing facility that will see more than $33.6 million invested in expanding the pharmaceutical company's production. The plant already employs more than 300 staff, and the expansion, according to a company spokesperson, will see 70 new jobs created at the facility.

The global pharmaceutical giant has had a presence in Ontario for more than 100 years, and manufactures pharamaceutical "foams,
ointments, lotions, liquids and other niche products" here, according a statement by GSK VP of Global Manufacturing and Supply Sue West. The expansion will introduce production of carvedilol tablets, zanamivir dry powder inhalation and new dermatological products.

In addition to more than $30 million in investment from GSK, the project is receiving a grant of $3.6 million from the provincial government. "GlaxoSmithKline's efforts to create a global centre of innovation here in Mississauga will create and protect hundreds of jobs," said Innovation Minister Glen Murray in a statement.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Ralph Benmergui, Office of Minister of Innovation Glen Murray

Profound Medical closes $9.4 million venture round, will hire 15

Profound Medical, headquartered in the Yonge and Lawrence area, recently closed a venture capital round that raised an astonishing $9.4 million to advance clinical trials of its new prostate cancer treatment. "To put that in perspective, venture capital financing for the entire life sciences sector in the first quarter of 2011 was $12.5 million," says Paul Chipperton, co-founder and CEO of Profound Medical. "So we've basically almost doubled that in this one announcement."

The company is a spin-off from Sunnybrook Health Sciences, where the MRI-based, relatively non-invasive treatment for localized prostate cancer has been pioneered and developed over the past decade. In Profound's short history, it has won a series of accolades, including the Premier's Catalyst Award for best Life Sciences Innovation and winning the Canada's Top 10 Life Sciences competition.

Chipperton says that the new financing will lead to the hiring of about 15 new staff--he's already hired three this month--and will help the company proceed to human clinical trials. Though time frames for trials and approvals vary by jurisdiction, Chipperton says a best-case timeline would see Profound entering the market with approval to treat in some places in roughly two years.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Paul Chipperton, CEO and co-founder, Profound Medical

A.U.G. Signals lands $2.9 million investment in water contamination detection system, will hire 100

Last month, the Financial District company A.U.G. Signals secured an investment of almost $2.90 million from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation's Innovation Demonstration Fund to support its early-warning system to detect contaminants in drinking water. Company CEO Dr. George Lampropoulos says the new technology will lead to the hiring of more than 100 new staff at the company's Toronto manufacturing facility to develop and market the product.

Founded in 1986, A.U.G. Signals is an R&D company that focusses on monitoring and data collection and management whose products have found applications in a range of areas including national defence, natural resource exploration and environmental monitoring. Headquartered in downtown Toronto, the company now has offices in China, Greece and the United States as well.

The provincial investment will support a monitoring technology that Lampropoulos says is the first to provide real-time online reporting on contaminated water in municipal systems. Traditionally, as is the case in the city of Toronto right now, water is monitored by random sampling with report times of up to several weeks, which means that acute threats may not be discovered until after they prove deadly.

The pilot project was first developed in partnership with the city of Edmonton, and has already been deployed in London, Ontario. He says he's going to Beijing this week to negotiate a potential $200 million contract for the system, and is also in negotiations with the cities of Shanghai, York Region and Toronto.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Dr. George Lampropoulos, CEO, A.U.G. Signals

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research spins off 3 cancer-fighting companies

Three new Toronto anti-cancer research companies were launched last month with investments from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). Frank Stonebanks, the organization's VP Commercialization said in an announcement that the new companies are among the "most promising new approaches" to the age-old fight against cancer.

TORCell Therapeutics, created by the University Health Network (UHN) and OICR, will focus on its first human clinical trials for a new treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.

DLVR Therapeutics, also a partnership between OICR and the UHN will take a potentially safer and more effective chemotherapy treatment developed by UHN doctor Gang Zheng and further develop the therapy.

Harmonic Medical, founded out of Sunnybrook Hospital, will perfect a prototype ultrasound therapy to destroy cancer cells and bring it to clinical trials.

"These three companies represent the best in Ontario innovation," provincial Innovation Minister Glen Murray said in a statement. Murray also said the investment in these companies will create "high-quality jobs" for researchers.

Writer: Edward Keenan

Source: Rhea Cohen, Director of Communications, OICR

Marham's DVS Sciences opens new Markham facility, sees growth of more than 25 staff by end of year

The U of T spin-off company DVS Sciences opened a new R&D headquarters in Markham last week, a step forward in what company President and CEO Scott Tanner describes as a "significant success story" for the local innovation scene.

Tanner said the company had its origins around 2005 within U of T spin-off company Sciex when he began research to apply mass spectrometry to biology through individual cell analysis. DVS was launched in 2009 and moved back into the University of Toronto fold, where Tanner says they were able to take advantage of "multi-faculty, multi-disciplinary" collaboration.

Since then the company has launched six instruments, and recently got a significant boost for its innovative products with the publication of a large paper from Stanford University published earlier this month in the journal Science. "The technology has had great support already, and we had several research papers published. But this is the first big paper in the biological sciences press that people will see...Just since the paper was published, we've been getting four or five inquiries a day."

The gangbusters growth is manifesting in many ways. In addition to opening the new office, Tanner says the company has just finished a round of hiring, adding three staff in the past week. He says that the company will open a sales office in California this summer and he anticipates hiring an additional 22 or so staff by the end of the year (about 13 of them in Markham).

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Scott Tanner, President & CEO, DVS Sciences

Legal and financial secure software makers Firmex hiring 10-15 in next two months

Toronto-based Firmex bills itself as a "Virtual Data Room," allowing clients in security-sensitive industries such as the finance, legal and medical professions to share documents quickly and securely.

The company has recorded exponential growth since its founding in 2006, according to VP Elizabeth Caley, and saw an 85 per cent revenue increase last year. The market for confidential online sharing continues to grow, according to Caley, and Firmex's position as an established industry leader with an excellent workplace culture ensures its continued growth. "We combine the simplicity of sharing documents that's become popular in the consumer market with the security that's needed for business transactions," says Caley. "We've taken a very pragmatic but aggressive approach to serving our clients' needs...and constantly innovating with the product itself."

Caley adds that the company is a "fun place to work," another key to its success. And more and more people are working there, too. They have recently added 10 positions, and Claey says they expect to add another 10-15 positions in the next two months, bringing the staff to about 50 employees. Caley notes that rapid growth presents a new challenge: "We're starting to run out of space."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Elizabeth Caley, VP Product Management, Firmex

Health system innovators Patient Order Sets hiring 8 after landing new investment

The innovative healthcare administrative system provider PatientOrderSets.com announced last week that it had received a $750,000 investment from HTX to merge its data platform with computerized health records platforms. A spokesperson for the company says he expects this will lead to the immediate-term hiring of eight new staff at the company.

The announcement comes on the heels of news earlier this month that Patient Order Sets had landed a contract to provide services to five more Toronto area hospitals, bringing the number of hospital clients they serve to approximately 150 across Canada.

The company was founded in 2006 by Dr. Chris O'Conner, a critical ICU physician at Trillium Health Centre, who recognized that there was a need for order sets in the hospital. Order sets are, a spokesperson explains, standardized checklists or patient protocols to go down, with default responses available. The computerized system ensures best practices are followed, and eliminates much of the need for illegible scrawled orders.

Today the system makes the order sets of all member institutions available to all members so that best practices from across the field can be adopted. "PatientOrderSets creates a mechanism for multi-disciplinary, evidence-based policy and integrates all stakeholders during order set development, which encourages clinician buy-in and support," O'Connor says.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Sachin Aggarwal, PatientOrderSets.com

$22.2 million innovation investment helps food manufacturer Protenergy create 60 Richmond Hill jobs

In the seven years since it opened, Protenergy has grown into a private label food manufacturing powerhouse, a major supplier of Tetra Pak soups, broths and sauces. Now a $22.2 million investment by the company will double production capacity, introduce innovative new processes, expand the product offerings and create 60 new jobs at its Richmond Hill facility.

In addition to increasing its production capacity, the company says the improvements to its facility will allow it to produce chunk-style soups in re-closable cartons-- a first for a Canadian company. The changes are also expected to reduce production costs.

Kevin Tracey, Protenergy's president, said the move will also help increase the stringency of its safety standards. He credited a $6.67 million loan from the provincial government for helping the project move ahead.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Kevin Tracey, Protenergy; Tim Weber, Office of the Minister of Economic Development

New mobile app MyVoice developed at U of T gives speech to disabled

According to MyVoice CEO Alexander Levy, more than 90 per cent of people with communication impairments use primitive aids to help them--or no aids at all. His company hopes to change that with its launch last week of a new mobile application that Levy says will be accessible to anyone with communication challenges.

Yonge Street saw a demonstration of the product earlier this year at a mobile innovation event at MaRS where Minister of Innovation Glen Murray raved that it would transform the lives of some of his friends. It is a location-aware speech aid that offers users a menu of phrases likely to be of use. At Tim Hortons, for instance, it would offer up such phrases as "Tim Bits" and "Double-Double."

The application was developed at the University of Toronto, with investment from Google, Android and NERC. Whereas traditional communication aids cost tens of thousands of dollars, according to the company, MyVoice will be free to try and a full version will cost about $30 per month. It is available on both Android phones and the iPhone.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Andrew Rusk, MyVoice

Health innovation startup Enthrive looking to change world, hire 4

The team behind mobile application startup Enthrive are not modest about their goal to "change the world." They aim for nothing less than a revolution in the way people approach their health. The startup recently achieved the first stage of that goal by closing a $2 million financing round.

As a next step, they are currently building a team, starting with at least four hires now. The positions are in development and engineering, but they're looking for a particular type of candidate. As they write: "We're taking an unusual approach to building the company: assemble a relatively small, tightly knit collective of extraordinarily talented peers, while pursuing impact and revenue goals typically associated with large hierarchical enterprises. By keeping the team small, individual contributors can have greater ownership and input into decisions than is possible in traditionally-structured corporations, and life is generally more pleasant."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Jonathan Graff, Enthrive

135 Healthcare and Wellness Articles | Page: | Show All
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