January 31, 2022

Turning health innovations into reality

NEWS RELEASE

EDMONTON, ALBERTA, January 31, 2022 – An investment of more than $6 million through Alberta Innovates will give Alberta small and medium-sized enterprises access to resources to develop ground-breaking health solutions.

The funding is being delivered through Stage 2 of Alberta Innovates’ Health Innovation Platform Partnerships program, which will support three projects that will deliver the platforms, infrastructure, tools, and resources Alberta’s innovators need to test, develop and accelerate new health innovations and technologies.

One of the successful projects is the Alberta Diagnostics Ecosystem Platform for Translation (ADEPT), a provincewide partnership between the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, the Alberta Precision Exchange (APEX), Alberta Precision Laboratories and DynaLIFE Medical Laboratories. ADEPT will receive a combined total of $3 million to establish three living laboratories where Alberta’s innovators can test new diagnostic technologies. The living labs will be co-located in facilities run by Alberta Precision Laboratories and DynaLIFE medical labs in Calgary and Edmonton.

This partnership will give Alberta’s innovators access to the data collection and controlled testing environments they need to transition their innovative ideas into tools that can be used in real-world laboratories. This approach will ensure the diagnostic tools developed are aligned with the unique needs of Canada’s health-care system and that Alberta patients are the first to benefit from these new homegrown technologies.

Other funding recipients include:

  • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, which will receive more than $1.2 million for its Centre for Advanced Medical Simulation Innovation Platform – a 6,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility that allows students and industry to practice true-to-life clinical situations in a safe and controlled environment
  • the Institute of Health Economics, which will receive more than $1.9 million for its economic analysis platform, which will provide small and medium-sized enterprises and their partners with the analyses and evidence they need to help determine the commercial potential of new technologies that they are currently developing and help guide important research and development decisions

QUOTES

“This investment is another boost for technology and innovation in Alberta’s health and life sciences sector. A strong ecosystem is key to attracting investment and growing the talent Alberta needs to fuel opportunities in this industry. This investment will help entrepreneurs develop and commercialize new solutions and technologies to improve patient care and outcomes – all while creating jobs right here in Alberta. Each of these three platform partnerships will help transform ideas into solutions and businesses that will benefit Albertans, Canadians and partners around the world.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“Creating safe spaces, like the ADEPT program – to rapidly test, validate, and de-risk innovations is what Alberta Innovates is all about. Our investment in this unique partnership will allow entrepreneurs to bring their good ideas to market faster. That’s not only good for the economy but also for the health of all Albertans.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates

“Alberta’s robust and dynamic innovation ecosystem empowers UCalgary researchers to develop bold new solutions to our society’s complex challenges. This support will enable our researchers to continue their pursuit of improved health outcomes for Albertans, with the potential to have a positive impact on a global scale.”

Dr. William Ghali, vice-president of research, University of Calgary

“ADEPT takes an exciting step towards establishing Alberta as a global hub for diagnostics innovation. The program unlocks Alberta’s health, innovation and translational capacity in a unique integrated program that will drive a new generation in health diagnostic technology.”

Ian Lewis, associate professor, department of biological sciences, University of Calgary, and chair, Alberta Innovates Translational Health

“This significant investment into ADEPT allows us to accelerate translating innovative lab testing tools from our universities to our patients. Bringing together the key partners across Alberta will allow us to be national leaders in advancing innovative laboratory testing to commercialization and patient care.”

Dr. Michael Mengel, professor and chair, department of laboratory medicine and pathology, University of Alberta and medical director, north sector, Alberta Precision Laboratories

“Innovation in the lab environment has put Alberta’s lab system on centre stage through a number of collaborations like this one over the past several years. Lab tests are crucial to most healthcare decisions, from diagnosing illness, to developing treatment plans and ongoing monitoring of patients’ health. Any improvements to laboratory medicine through innovation directly benefit patients through greater precision, more convenience and faster turnaround times for results.”

                                                     Dr. Paul Klonowski, associate medical director, south sector, Alberta Precision Laboratories

“This collaboration amplifies DynaLIFE’s commitment to build and shape Alberta’s health diagnostics sector, and to bringing homegrown health care services to local communities. We are dedicated to continued support for Alberta’s health innovators, and exploring new opportunities for health technology and research investment across Alberta.”

Jason Pincock, CEO, DynaLIFE

BACKGROUNDER

Alberta Innovates is a public agency that reports to the Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation. Alberta Innovates’ Health Innovation Platform Partnerships program was launched in September 2020.

In Stage 1 of the program, 11 platform partnership applicants were each approved for $200,000 in funding to develop their pilot project’s proof-of-concept over the course of six months. Of these 11 successful Stage 1 applicants, the University of Alberta, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and the Institute of Health Economics were selected for Stage 2 of the program.

The three successful Stage 2 applicants will receive funding for up to 75 per cent of eligible expenses to support the partnered platform for up to three years.

Quick facts

  • This investment is part of Alberta Innovates’ strategy to create a digital health industry in the province that serves as a competitive advantage for innovators and delivers better health outcomes for Albertans.
  • Alberta Innovates delivers a variety of funding programs for Alberta small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
    • Under its portfolio, Alberta Innovates’ currently supports more than 30 SMEs in the health industry.
    • This investment through the Health Innovation Platform Partnerships program will help Alberta Innovates expand its reach to support even more Alberta businesses.
  • According to Bio Alberta’s Life Sciences in Alberta – State of the Industry 2021 report:
    • Alberta’s life sciences organizations are responsible for over $1 billion in revenues and were expected to employ approximately 12,400 Albertans in 2021.
    • The majority of life sciences companies are located in Calgary and Edmonton.

Alberta Innovates is the province’s largest and Canada’s first provincial research and innovation agency. For a century we have worked closely with researchers, companies, and entrepreneurs – trailblazers who built industries and strengthened communities. Today we are pivoting to the next frontier of opportunity in Alberta and worldwide by driving emerging technologies across sectors. We are a provincial corporation delivering seed funding, business advice, applied research and technical services, and avenues for partnership and collaboration.

Learn how albertainnovates.ca