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Healthcare and Wellness : Innovation + Job News

135 Healthcare and Wellness Articles | Page: | Show All

Almost $7.6 million from province will support medical research at Toronto hospitals, schools

Last month, the provincial government announced almost $7.6 million in research grants to support Toronto hospitals and schools. "I am proud of the tremendous talent we have in Toronto -- a research powerhouse in Ontario," Glen Murrary, minister of research and innovation said in his announcement. "Our government is helping them make discoveries that will lead to new companies and jobs, while ensuring a better quality of life for Ontarians and people around the world."

Twenty-seven different research projects at The University of Toronto and Ryerson University will receive grants under the Research Infrastructure Program. Meanwhile 22 individual researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, St. Michael's Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto will get funding to hire research staff under the Early Researcher Awards program.

Among the Toronto projects in the Research Infrastructure Program (see full list here), Dr. Derick Rousseau will receive $264,401 in support of his research developing "nutraceuticals" -- foods with health or medical benefits -- and a team at U of T led by Dr. Irene Andrulis, Dr. Carol Swallow and Dr. Jay Wunder will get $390,188 in support of research that could lead to cancer diagnostic and therapeutic innovations.

A list of the medical researchers being supported through hospitals is available here.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Office of Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Fast-growing Nightgale sees gross profits rise to 80%, hiring 7 in the GTA now

Earlier this summer, Markham-based electronic medical records innovator Nightingale was named 10th on PROFIT magazine's annual list of the fastest-growing companies in Canada. Last month, as the company reported its first-quarter results for fiscal 2011, the pace of growth showed no signs of slowing.

"Fiscal 2011 is off to an encouraging start, with more than 200 emergency medical records (EMR) seats sold across Canada in Q1, compared to only eight seats sold in Q1 of last year," said Sam Chebib, President and CEO, Nightingale. He attributed the sales increase to government funding encouraging doctors to adopt the healthcare innovation of EMRs.

The company also recorded its highest quarterly gross profit -- up 80 per cent year-over year since the year before.

Nightingale is hiring for seven positions now in the GTA, in order to achieve Chebibs stated goal for the year ahead of rapidly increasing sales and revenues.

Writer: Edward Keenan    
Source: Michael Ford, CFO, Nightingale Informatix Corporation

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Innovative family health team on Queen West will be model for the province

Last week, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) on Queen Street West announced that its newly renovated facility will be home to a Family Health Team (FHT), a healthcare innovation that brings together physicians, nurses, dieticians, social workers and other medical professions to provide holisitc health services to a community.

FHTs are a concept that the provincial government has focused on -- alongside Nurse Practioner-Led Clinics -- as being a key part of how Ontario will deliver health services in the coming years, and the province has committed to opening 200, including 30 announced last week. The FHT is the first to be housed in a mental health and addiction facility.

"What makes these Family Health Teams so valuable is that each one is developed with the needs of the community in mind," said Deb Matthews, minister of Health and Long-term Care in her announcement.

Dr. Catherine Zahn, president and CEO of CAMH, said it was exactly that community mindset that makes this so fitting, given the facility's overhaul as a central part of the community it sits in. "Locating a FHT here emphasizes the 'urban village' vision of CAMH's Queen Street redevelopment project, strengthening the model of community-based care for everyone in a welcoming and inclusive environment," she said.

Dr. Zahn expects the facility to serve as a model for the rest of the province. "The Queen West Village FHT will break new ground in providing primary health care to the community of which CAMH is so much a part, and will increase access to care for mental illness and addictions, province-wide."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Michael Torres, CAMH; Office of Deb Matthews, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Three Toronto innovators receive $1.5 million seed money -- will create 65 jobs

Three of Toronto's innovative technology companies will each receive $500,000 in funding from the province's Investment Accelerator fund, Toronto-area MPP Glen Murray announced last week. The fund is designed to support the launch of innovative companies in sectors considered important to the future of the province's economy, and is administered by MaRS Discovery District.

Combined, the three companies are expected to create 65 jobs over the next three years:

Geminare is a cloud-based server backup company that will use the funding to market its network to partners worldwide. MedCurrent is an online application company devoted to helping medical professionals improve workflow and decision making, especially in radiology, and will use the influx of cash to fuel growth. Receptor Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company devoted to developing anti-cancer therapies, say the funding should lead to further development.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Linda Quattrin, Director of Communications, MaRS

905 medical tech firm Prollenium sees more than 500 per cent growth in five years, prepares to grow

905-based Prollenium Medical Technologies has announced that it will again report strong year-over-year revenue and profit growth this year, after seeing 524 per cent revenue growth over the past five years. The pace of its growth has seen it ranked on PROFIT magazines list of the fastest-growing companies in Canada for four years running.

And it's growth plans appear to continue apace: in May, the company announced that it had been cleared to distribute it's Revanesse Dermal Fillers, bringing to 60 the number of countries in which the company's products are distributed. In addition, the company says it has recently completed a double-blind study that will lead to entry into the large US market.

Over the phone, a company employee says that plans are afoot to move the company into larger offices to accommodate expansion, and that the company will soon be launching a line of injectable pain relievers for sufferers of osteoarthritis. Other aesthetics products are in the company's pipeline.

Company VP Khasha Ighanian says the company is in the process of "leveraging the efforts of our strong R&D team with our ability to bring new products to market quickly," and that he is "optimistic about the next five years."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Khasha Ighanian, VP, Prollenium Medical Technologies

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Innovative University Health Network program offers 12 nursing research fellowships

A program at the University Health Network will provide 12 nurses the opportunity to pursue research projects starting this September. The Nurses for Tomorrow Innovation and Research Fellowships will give nurses in the program two paid days per week to attend seminars and pursue their research -- projects are to support the UHN's strategic directions.

"We are one of the few hospitals that make an effort to involve nurses at the bedside in research and innovaion," says Carolyn Plummer, the innovation project manager for UHN. "It takes some real creativity and innovation to do that, and we're committed to doing it."

The University Health Network is made up of Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and the Princess Margaret Hospital. The fellowship program is part of the UHN's commitment to pursuing a research culture among nurses to drive innovation in improving patient outcomes. Along similar lines, a program in place since 2004 called 80-20 allows nurses to devote 20 per cent of their work week to professional development.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: Carolyn Plummer, Innovation Project Manager, University Health Network

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

$1 million licensing deal boosts Mississauga's Amorfix in quest to cure ALS, cancer, Alzheimer's

A licensing deal for a potential treatment for ALS singed last week gives a boost to Amorfix Life Sciences' quest to develop diagnostics and treatments for such diseases as ALS, Alzheimer's and cancer, according to Amorfix CEO Dr. Robert Gundel.

The deal gives global biotech giant Biogen Idec the right to, at its own expense, pursue testing and regulatory approvals for antibodies developed by Amorfix to treat ALS. The Mississauga-based Amorfix gets $1 million up front, as well as potential milestone payments and royalties in the future. "This is excellent news for us because the deal represents the best way forward for developing this treatment," Gundel says. He added that the cash and the commitment by Biogen frees up Amorfix's staff of 16 to pursue other applications of their innovative health sciences technologies.

The company was founded in 2004 by Dr. Neil Cashman, and has an exclusive license on a technology called ProMIS. This innovative computer algorythm maps "misfolded proteins" that are characteristic of such diseases as ALS, Alzheimer's and cancer and identifies specific areas on the misfolded protein which can serve as targets for novel therapeutic intervention. Originally the process was used to develop diagnostic tools, but recently Amorfix has expanded its development into antibodies and vaccines that can attack only misfolded proteins cells (unlike conventional treatments for cancer, for example, which are not specific for tumor cells and have adverse side effects which may threaten the health of patients by attacking all cells in an area). These antibodies hold the potential to cease the progress of and cure the diseases.


Gundel says that licensing agreements with much larger companies such as Biogen Idec are part of the business plan for Amorfix. He says that "realistically" the company's products could bring effective vaccines and cures for such diseases to market within eight to 10 years.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Dr. Robert Gundel, CEO, Amorfix Life Sciences

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

New juice-cleanse delivery business goes from 1 to 3 staff in first year, sees rapid growth ahead

In Toronto -- and in cities across Canada and North America -- a growing concern about healthy eating and a craze for juice cleanses presents many opportunities for starting a business. For Toronto entrepreneur Rebecca Malen, a particular aspect of juice cleanses stood out. "Juicing sucks. It's difficult, annoying, makes a mess, and when you do it yourself it's hard to get much juice out of a piece of fruit."

A year ago, she started Total Cleanse out of her home, offering enthusiasts the chance to have detoxifying drinks delivered to their door first thing in the morning. She found a ready market. "People love it," Malen says. "They're obsessed with it." Since launching by herself in July 2009, she's grown Total Cleanse to employ three full-time staff and moved the business from her home to a professional office and kitchen space. Last month, the business took its delivery network national -- in an age of overnight national couriers and online ordering, Malen says a business like hers is able to scale up in short order without investing in much infrastructure.

And Malen sees huge growth ahead. She says that aside from some social media marketing, the business has been built almost exclusively on word of mouth -- and one year in, she feels Total Cleanse has just scratched the surface of the potential national market.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Rebecca Malen, Founder and CEO, Total Cleanse

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Local biomedical systems maker Biosign signs more than $100 million in distribution deals this month

Biosign Technologies, a Vaughan-based company that makes online medical monitoring devices and has created an innovative diabetes monitoring device, has announced distribution agreements for Europe and the Middle East and Africa that are expected to produce more than $100 million in sales by the end of 2011.

The UFIT TEN-20, the company's latest innovation, which will now launch in Europe in September of this year, takes a measurement at the wrist that gives blood glucose and blood pressure reading, which are stored on the company's servers. As the company materials say, the process is "indirect, non-invasive and passive."

The biggest advance in the product's launch is the signing of a deal with Swiss-based DynamiCARE AG to distribute UFIT TEN-20 across Europe -- an area which represents one third of Biosign's expected global market for the product. A DynamiCARE spokesperson said the product represents "the next evolution of testing and diagnostics for personal medicine," and expects it to have "momentous impact." As part of the deal, DunamiCARE will pay an initial fee of $2.5 million to Biosign, and has committed to achieving sales of more than US$100 million by the end of next year.

A further deal announced this month sees distribution for the Middle East and North Africa handled by Dubai-based ALQAEM International. That contract carries a commitment to sell more than US$14 million by the end of 2011.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Radu Leca, President & CEO, Biosign Technologies

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

New George Brown waterfront campus will prepare for healthcare jobs of the future, employ hundreds

The new waterfront campus of George Brown College -- under construction now and expected to be finished late next year -- will be home to an innovative approach to healthcare education preparing students for the new direction of medical services  in Ontario, according to spokesperson Paul Zanettos.

Zanettos says that the facility will be educating nurses and healthcare practitioners in a way that prepares them for a future in which Family Health Teams and Nurse-Practitioner-led Clinics will be ever more common, in line with priorities announced by the provincial government. The province, as if to underline his point, is a major contributor to the construction of the project, chipping in $61.5 million towards its cost. The school itself is investing $15 million, with additional money for the $175 million project coming from private sector partners.

The project will not only prepare students for the jobs of the future, but will directly create employment too, according to Zanettos. A significant number of workers will have been employed on the construction of the project, and there will be approximately 260 staff and 3,500 students within the George Brown campus building by the time it's complete.



Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Paul Zanettos, Media Relations Consultant, George Brown College

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.



$27.9M expansion will create 100 jobs at Therapure Biopharma

Therapure Biopharma Inc of Mississauga is one of the only Canadian companies to do large-scale protein purification, so their services are in high demand. That demand, according to company President and CEO Tomas Wellner, has led to a $27.9 million retrofitting and expansion of Therapure's Mississauga bio-manufacturing facility that will create 100 new jobs at the company.

"We're adding jobs that are high-value," Wellner said, noting that the company's work is subject to the "highest end of regulatory controls" and that new hires are and will be made up of the cream of the PhD crop and well-trained skilled operators.

Wellner says the expansion will take about 18 months to complete, after which production will be ramped up to serve expected global demand for the protein-based bioproducts the company manufactures. Such products are used to treat illnesses such as infectious diseases, cancer and anemia.

Part of the project will be financed through a $4.2 million grant from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. The remaining money will be a private investment by the company's owners.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: Thomas Wellner, President and CEO, Therapure Biopharma Inc.

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Provincial government invests $86M in 14 GTA genomics projects -- supporting 168 researchers

Christian Burks, Ontario Genomics Institute president and CEO, says it will be a "shot heard 'round the world": an investment by the provincial government of $86 million in genomics research projects in the GTA intended to cement the region's place as a leader in this branch of life sciences and environmental sustainability.

"When it comes to recruiting the best researchers from around the world, the knowledge bases and tools (that will result from this investment) are great attractors," Burks says.

The investment comes through the Ontario government's Global Leadership Round in Genomics & Life Sciences -- GL2 for short -- and is part of a total of $114.6 million in grants given province-wide. Funding in the GTA will support 14 high-profile projects led by the Hospital for Sick Children, Mount Sinai Hospital, the University Health Network and the University of Toronto. In all, 168 researchers will have their efforts funded by these grants.

The GTA is currently the third-largest centre for genomics research in North America, after the Bay Area and Boston, according to Burks. In announcing the funding, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation said these grants intend to exploit that status. "Through GL2, our government is helping turn our world-class research capacity into breakthroughs that will lead to new business and jobs," he said.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Christian Burks, President and CEO, Ontario Genomics Institute; Office of John Milloy, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.



Ken Cox Community Centre opens in Etobicoke, employs 32

Locals and politicians from in the Lakeshore community of Etobicoke came out to the official opening of Ken Cox Community Centre on May 15. The new facility, which is situated adjacent to parkland with a view of the lake, was built at 28 Colonel Samuel Smith Drive on the site of Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School in an arrangement between the Separate School Board and the city.

According to Karen Nesbitt of the city's Parks, Forestry and Recreation department, the community centre employs two full-time staff,   coordinator and a custodian. In addition, the centre will employ 30 part-time staff administering recreation programs that include sports, fitness and dance classes.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Karen Nesbitt, Parks, Recreation and Forestry

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Etobicoke-based Microbix reports 17% quarterly sales increase, may hire 10 this year

Before it constructed a new manufacturing facility, Chief Business Officer Mark Cochran says Microbix was operating at capacity. Now that the facility is operational, the company is reporting record sales, showing a 17 per cent increase in the second quarter of this year. Cochran says the  20-year-old company has been seeing growth of about 20 per cent per year, and expects to continue that trend for the next three to four years until they reach capacity again.

Microbix is a biotechnology company headquartered in Etobicoke, Ontario, focusing on virology and biological technologies. In a news release announcing its quarterly results, the company attributed its sales growth to the new facility as well as to a newly release diagnostic product used in US hospitals and to higher royalties from the company's rabies vaccine.

Cochran says the company is growing its staff to keep up. He estimates that Microbix has hired "three or four" new employees in the past quarter, and may "add another 10 positions in the next year."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Mark Cochran, Chief Business Officer, Microbix

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.


Takeda Canada celebrates one year and 35 new jobs -- expects to hire another 70 in coming years

On April 28, Takeda Canada celebrated the first anniversary of its launch in Mississauga with an event at its headquarters. The company has hired 35 people since opening and says it expects to grow its workforce by 200 per cent "in the next few years."

President and General Manager Daaron Dohler said in an announcement of the celebration that the 230-year-old Japanese parent company, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, selected the GTA location for its Canadian operation because of the people it could hire there and work environment. "Takeda Canada selected Mississauga for its Canadian headquarters because it is a central location that offers a sophisticated talent pool, modern healthcare system, leading medical centres, thriving biotechnology industry and tremendous scientific expertise and innovation," said Dohler. "Takeda Canada is committed to growing our head office team, adding a national sales force and forging strong, collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders in order to serve the unmet needs of healthcare providers and patients in Canada."

In its one year of operation, according to the company, they "reacquired the commercial rights to type 2 diabetes treatment ACTOS(R) (pioglitazone HCI) and submitted multiple New Drug Submissions to Health Canada." It plans to expand by exploiting its parent company's expertise in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, oncology and gastroenterology.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Laurene Redding, Takeda Canada, Inc.

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.
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