For founders pursuing commercial opportunities predicated on translational science and technology innovations that improve human health and wellness.
A4i is a software company developing a digital therapeutic for schizophrenia and psychosis. The software consists of a clinically-prescribed mobile app and clinical portal that allow clinicians to monitor patients’ condition, and enables patients to manage their own condition. The patient app features a patent-protected, clinically-tested engagement feed, and audio hallucination recognition tool that gives patients back their agency by letting them determine the veracity of auditory hallucinations.
Covira Surgical is a biotech company that develops medications that work by modulating the biological activity of the gut microbiome. This company is based on the work of Dr. John Alverdy, MD, a world authority on the molecular basis of post-surgical infections. Its platform technology generated a lead asset (CS-0003) that modulates bacterial virulence and restores microbial communities to prevent post-surgical infection.
Cytosolix is a platform that produces novel derivatives of known small-molecule oncology drugs. These derivatives selectively target cancer cells by targeting acidity in the tumor microenvironment, significantly improving the efficacy of treatment by reducing dose-limiting toxicities.
Decoy Therapeutics (DecoyTx) is a pharmaceutical company commercializing its IMPACT platform, which designs and develops antiviral products that prevent viral infection. Decoy’s platform is fast (weeks to develop lead candidates), versatile (can use different payloads for different viruses/variants), and cheap (at scale, ~$1 USD/dose). DecoyTx is validating this platform with its first product, DCOY101, an immediate acting SARS-CoV-2 prophylactic nasal spray. This product prevents COVID-19 infection and transmission in high-risk vaccinated and unvaccinated patients.
Inso Biosciences has developed a device that extracts undamaged, intact DNA from biological samples, a requisite for long-read genome sequencing. The device is based on proprietary microfluidic pillars that take biological samples, break open cells, and harvest DNA in the condition it existed while in a fully functioning cell. Inso Biosciences’ device can be used by the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies, academia and genetic testing laboratories.
InventoRR MD is a medical device company developing AbClo, a device that allows surgeons to efficiently close any large abdominal incision at the end of surgery. AbClo is a dynamic closure system that ensures a rapid and consistent closure on openings that were once extremely difficult and dangerous to close.
LEADOPTIK Inc. is a venture-backed startup based in San Jose, California building miniature Lidar systems for surgical devices. Their sub-millimeter imaging platform empowers minimally invasive surgery with 3D navigation capability and pathology grade imaging in real-time. LEADOPTIK’s core technology is based on metasurfaces that allow for optics 100x smaller than the width of a human hair.
Limax Biosciences produces the next generation of stretchable hydrogel-based tissue adhesive materials to revolutionize treatments for injuries inside and outside the body. Existing hemostatic dressings and sealants have weak tissue adhesion that result in leaks, tissue rigidity, and cytotoxicity. Limax’s degradable, hydrogel-based material addresses these limitations through strong and rapid adhesion to wet tissue surfaces at 10-100x greater the strength than their competitors. This patent-protected platform technology can be used in several indications throughout the body including soft tissue reinforcement and local drug delivery.
NearWave is a hardware company that develops a noninvasive breast cancer chemotherapy monitoring device. The device combines a form of infrared spectroscopy and novel photo sensors to detect cancer markers. This is done by measuring the characteristic absorption and scatter of light from biological molecules which are indicative of cancer. NearWave’s technology can predict cancer therapy nonresponse within seven days, allowing for rapid, personalized drug regimens.
Synova Life Sciences is a hardware company that is developing an automated device that extracts stem cells from fat tissue. It is a cell therapy platform for use in point-of-care regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and clean meat production. Synova’s patented process uses modified shockwaves applied to a sterile container to reduce a three to four hour process to three minutes, resulting in 50 percent more cells that are healthier than cells obtained from traditional processes.
TATUM bioscience is a synthetic biology company developing a new class of biologics called synthetic advanced biologics. The company was founded on the premise that more than 50 percent of cancer patients do not respond to checkpoint inhibitor treatments and are left with no therapeutic solutions. Combination therapies are currently put forward to address this issue, however this approach ends up multiplying treatments, side effects, and costs. TATUM bioscience is building a first-in-class proprietary immuno-oncology platform articulated around synthetic advanced biologics (synABs) capable of multi-tasking therapeutic activities. SynABs pack all the advantages of combination therapy into a single biologic, providing safer and more efficient cancer treatments.
Tidal Medical is a medical device company that develops a non-invasive, wearable system for heart failure patients that allows clinicians to monitor their pulmonary artery pressure from home without the costs, risks and discomfort of invasive implants. Clinical studies have shown that pulmonary artery pressure-based heart failure management strategies can reduce hospitalizations, readmissions, and mortality compared to current standard of care. Recent FDA-supported expanded indications of pulmonary artery pressure monitoring support the current market need, and the technology from Tidal Medical represents the safest and most cost-efficient manner to provide this service.
6degrees is a medical device company that has developed an AI-enabled device (MyMove), which translates users’ motions into digital inputs to control any Bluetooth-enabled device. Through MyMove, the venture enables people with impaired mobility access to digital life, enabling them to work, and increasing their independence. This patented technology learns the users’ intents, and allows them to control several devices with a single setup.
CytoSwim produces sperm selection consumable devices (SpermAlign) that allow IVF providers to quickly and effectively select the very best sperm cells to improve IVF outcomes. SpermAlign selects cells with up to 10x less DNA damage, which has been correlated with lower IVF miscarriage rates. The proprietary microstructure within the single-use, six-centimetre diameter, polymer disk gently selects the healthiest sperm cells without applying any external forces or energy, which can damage fragile cells.
Dermagnostix provides unique, dermatological diagnostic tests in a fully-automated portable laboratory. Conventional methods, limited to visual examination on a macroscopic and microscopic level by experienced dermatologists, are less accurate and scalable than what the venture offers. Dermagnostix’s advanced research in both discovering novel molecular markers and bioengineering help to largely automate complex assay performance which is easy, fast, precise, and cost-efficient.
Hypervision Surgical provides AI-powered hyperspectral imaging to guide surgical procedures. Surgery currently relies heavily on surgeons’ subjective visual assessment, which may cause high patient morbidity and increased healthcare costs. Hypervision Surgical’s non-contact and non-invasive optical imaging system, combined with its unique AI algorithms, exceeds the limitation of the naked eye. This enables real-time tissue characterisation with high accuracy, which increases surgical precision and patient safety.
LiliumX develops and uses an assembly platform which combines known protein and antibody components into bispecifics, then tests them for improved or novel drug candidates. Traditional antibodies bind to a single cellular target, but bispecifics can bring together and bind to two unique targets, which can, for example, kill cancer cells. LiliumX’s platform enables the rapid screening of bispecific drug candidates with complex designs or modifications, which are not feasible with current bispecific technologies.
Link Biologics has developed a protective protein biologic to treat inflammatory and degenerative disorders. Currently, there are no effective treatments for many inflammatory diseases. Link Biologics’s patented product shows potent disease-modifying effects in various disease models, such as dry eye disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
LuSeed has developed an active implant to stimulate full or partial blood vessel closure, a largely unmet clinical need in a range of pathologies, including cerebral aneurysms and vascular malformations. LuSeed’s proprietary tissue-enhancing method enables finely-tuned and super-selective control of vascular remodelling and robust tissue growth.
Neuronostics has developed a clinical decision support system to facilitate clinicians with faster and more accurate diagnosis and prognosis of epilepsy. Currently, the diagnosis of epilepsy requires long-term EEG monitoring, which is expensive, inconvenient, and time-consuming, and prolongs treatment for patients. Neuronostics’ seizure susceptibility assessment technology innovatively uses computer simulations to transform short pieces of EEG information into a mathematical model of the brain, providing rapid and objective insights.
20/20 OptimEyes Technologies offers a new ocular drug delivery method: a proprietary eye drop formulation that adheres to mucosal surfaces. The proprietary micelle-based drops deliver more drug than conventional eye drops and, due to their adhesive properties, allow for fewer doses and fewer side effects.
Arrowsmith Genetics (AGx) is a preclinical stage, precision oncology company. AGx’s technology analyzes patient-specific tumour mutations, uses the results to identify new drug targets, and generates small-molecule therapy candidates for those targets. The company’s humanized yeast platform is fast, suitable for essential proteins, and finds binding sites that are unique to the targeted protein to minimize off-target effects.
Biomotum develops smart robotic exoskeletons for the treatment of impaired mobility. The company’s initial product, the SPARK Rehabilitation System, is a wearable, robotic ankle-assisting device that provides on-demand mobility enhancement to children and adults with physical disabilities that impair walking.
BugSeq empowers microbiology labs to detect and prevent infectious diseases with next-generation sequencing. BugSeq replaces manual, expensive pipeline creation and data analysis traditionally conducted by a bioinformatician in a time-consuming manner, with an automated, end-to-end solution hosted in the cloud. BugSeq’s reports enable clinical, public health, and biodefense laboratories to identify unknown and novel pathogens, combat antimicrobial resistance, and perform pathogen surveillance.
Catena Biosciences develops protein- and cell-based therapies via enzyme-based protein-to-protein attachment. The company’s technology can conjugate any two soluble proteins together — including large, complex proteins not suitable for traditional approaches — without extensive modification. Catena can also vary which attachment sites are used and how much attachment occurs to customize therapies.
Implant Genius currently provides dental implant planning services, and plans to also provide dental patient diagnosis and treatment planning via its proprietary product, TxGenius. The company intends for its proprietary algorithms to validate patient-submitted dental records, diagnose dental conditions, and inform expert-driven treatment planning. Implant Genius also created a line of orthognathic surgical and craniomaxillofacial (CMF) products that increase precision and reduce operating time.
Palm Therapeutics develops small-molecule therapies for currently untreatable diseases by targeting protein palmitoylation, an essential modulator of disease progression. The company’s technology allows for the development of uniquely potent and protein-selective small molecule palmitoylation inhibitors. Drug-induced selective depalmitoylation makes it possible to inhibit proteins that couldn’t previously be targeted.
Protillion Biosciences has developed a high-throughput protein analysis platform to generate large quantitative binding datasets to guide drug discovery. Their proprietary platform leverages NextGen sequencing tools and DNA libraries bound to sequencing flow cells to generate protein arrays and protein-protein binding datasets across entire libraries, to accelerate the discovery and optimization of biologics.
Proton Intelligence (ProtonIntel) is developing a wearable sensor to measure potassium. By continuously monitoring potassium in real-time from the interstitial fluid of the skin, ProtonIntel’s technology helps clinicians and at-risk individuals prevent adverse events caused by potassium imbalances, such as heart arrhythmias and sudden cardiac deaths.
TYBR Health is developing an extracellular matrix (ECM)-derived hydrogel spray designed to prevent postoperative adhesion and internal scar formation. The proprietary solution is delivered through a simple device that is compatible with minimally-invasive surgical procedures, and creates a protective barrier around the tissue of interest, resulting in lower postoperative complications.
Proton Intelligence (ProtonIntel) is developing a wearable sensor to measure potassium (K+). By continuously monitoring K+ in real-time from the interstitial fluid of the skin, ProtonIntel’s technology will help clinicians and at-risk individuals prevent adverse events caused by K+ imbalances, such as heart arrhythmias and sudden cardiac deaths, and live a better life.
CDL mentors were among the first people to hear about and invest in this venture. CEO and co-founder Dr. Sahan Ranamukha had participated in CDL with a previous venture and decided to return to the program when he co-founded ProtonIntel. This time around, mentors with the Health stream at CDL-Vancouver pushed ProtonIntel to meet deep technical objectives. Mentors Dr. Ray Muzyka, Dr. Lindsay Machan, Scott Phillips, Paul Geyer, Dr. Jehangir Appoo, Dr. Derek Exner, Dr. Claude Piche, and Doug Buchanan worked closely with the company. ProtonIntel also participated in the San Francisco-based accelerator IndieBio at the same time.
“When we entered CDL, we had only the most fundamental component of the technology figured out. But, to get a product prototype to work, we had to get technically grounded,” Ranamukha said. “All throughout CDL, we kept hitting these technical milestones, which allowed us to get to a position where by Session Four, we actually got first-in-man data that showed that we could measure potassium in the interstitial fluid. At the same time, we had introductions to lots of investors from CDL on the fundraising side, as well as potential partners that we could work with in the kidney care arena.”
ProtonIntel had raised some pre-seed money before and during the CDL program. The company is actively raising money again, with the hope to close USD $2 million this summer. That investment will allow the company to complete its clinical trials and get to its next financing round in 2023. In addition to new investors, the company is seeking introductions to potential partners and recommendations for new employees including data analytics professionals and engineers who have experience developing biosensors.
Goals: Identify use cases in existing clinical workflows, usability constraints, willingness to pay, required feature sets and patient outcome metrics, target pricing, etc.
Ray Muzyka • Fellow, CDL-Vancouver Oct 27, 2021 @ 1:45 AM ET