Imagine a future in which cancer screening could be done through a simple urine analysis. The test could be offered at your doctor’s office and would require no fasting or preparation beforehand. What’s more, it could increase accessibility for people living in remote or rural areas and save thousands of lives in the developing world.
Thanks to DynaLIFE Medical Lab’s local health accelerator space in downtown Edmonton, that future might not be too far off.
Today, the accelerator is home to five medical startups looking to bring their discoveries to market. Often, these innovations come out of research performed at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary, and through the health accelerator, they’re able to tap into DynaLIFE’s industry knowledge and supports to scale up and commercialize their technologies.
“Our goal is to use our expertise, scale and scope to make these technologies accessible to Albertans, while encouraging these companies, their talent and their researchers to stay in Alberta,” says Jason Pincock, chief executive officer for DynaLIFE. “If we’re able to do that, and create an environment that they will stay in and create their second, third and fourth products here, we can build jobs, companies and a stronger industry here in Edmonton.”
In the past, the path from research to market has been challenging for many Edmonton-based researchers and innovators. With few or no local success stories to partner with or learn from, many have been left with no choice but to sell their discoveries to a company better equipped to navigate the commercialization process.
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“So how do we change that?” says Pincock. “We build the accelerator and make business happen here.”
Today, Nanostics and Metalobomic Technologies Inc. (MTI) are two of the first startups to capitalize on the DynaLIFE accelerator space. Both companies are focused on creating less-invasive cancer screening technologies; Nanostics uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve prostate cancer screening, while MTI has developed a urine test to detect adenomatous polyps, the precursor to colorectal cancer.
“Having an accelerator here in Edmonton has been hugely valuable. It’s allowed us to scale up far faster than I think we would’ve been able to otherwise,” says Dr. John Lewis, CEO of Nanostics.
Dr. David Chang, CEO of Metabolomic Technologies Inc., agrees. “Working with DynaLIFE not only allows us to access their expertise regularly. The experts are right there to help us, yes, but in a way it also lends credibility to our work and helps us attract more partners. With the accelerator program, we’re able to ask questions and make connections that otherwise might not happen.”
“As innovators and as technology developers, a big part of getting operational is being able to do these tests and assessments at scale, so we want to be able to work with someone like DynaLIFE that has the experience and the knowledge to do so,” says Dr. Chang.
With access to DynaLIFE’s expertise, resources and connections, these startups are well on their way. For DynaLIFE, the value in this investment of time and resources is clear: by supporting local innovators and researchers, the companies can work together to do great things, and lead the way to better patient care.
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