Author Archives: micah

H2i client ImmunoBiochem winners in the RESI Innovation Challenge

We are pleased to share some great news – ImmunoBiochem has won second place in the RESI Innovation Challenge during the JPM Healthcare Conference Week in San Francisco.

ImmunoBiochem is a privately held biopharmaceutical company solving the problem of tumor heterogeneity by targeting unique proteins enriched in the secretomes of cancer cells with Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) – a promising class of biological anticancer therapeutics. ImmunoBiochem has identified a class of molecular targets that are secreted by cancer cells, but not healthy cells, and possess unique properties enabling the highly-selective delivery of toxic payloads to cancer cells, while leaving normal cells unharmed. ImmunoBiochem’s next-generation biologics aim to offer a superior safety profile and broad therapeutic window. Lead candidate, IMB-212, is aimed at a well-characterized cancer biomarker supported by a wealth of clinical data, and is being developed for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) – an aggressive disease for which no targeted biologics treatment options are available.

Read more here


IT’S A START is one of Toronto’s most anticipated pitch competitions, organized annually by the Digital Media and Incubator at George Brown College. It takes place from April 26 – 28 at the Corus Quay.

This competition provides start-ups with the platform and support to kick start their innovative ideas, businesses and/services.

 The grand prize of IT’S A START 2018 includes $5k in cash, $3k of in-kind legal service, office space at George Brown College’s Incubator Space and assistance from industry advisors.

We request that you please circulate information about the closing deadline with your contacts, as it is approaching shortly. We believe that this is an amazing opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs, new startups, students or recent graduates.

Full detail can be found here, and application submission can be made online.

2018 Sci Innovation Competition

The Canada Confederation of Shenzhen Associations (CCSA) and the Sino-Canada International Innovation Centre (Sci Innovation Centre) have announced the launch of The Second China (Shenzhen) Innovation & Entrepreneurship International Competition, Toronto Division, on March 24, 2018. Initiated by the Municipality of Shenzhen, the international competition is sponsored globally by local governments in Toronto, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo, Boston, Tel Aviv, London, Stockholm, and Berlin. The divisional competition in Toronto offers prize awards totalling C$2.09 million. A venture capital pool of C$4 billion has been set up by 34 investment institutions for all the nine global divisions. The 2018 Sci Innovation Competition in Toronto will feature 20 finalists from Canada who will pitch ideas to a panel of high-profile judges and First, Second, and Third place prizes will be awarded. Ten of them will be qualified for the final Second China (Shenzhen) Innovation & Entrepreneurship International Competition in Shenzhen in April 2018. This year, the Sci Innovation Competition is partnering with Toronto-based MaRS Discovery District, one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs supporting innovators and entrepreneurs, which will host the competition at its downtown Toronto facility. Click here for more information or to register for the competition.

ImmunoBiochem Corporation Announces the Completion of a New Round of Financing and Residency at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS @ Toronto

TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ImmunoBiochem Corporation, a Canadian biopharmaceutical company developing novel biological therapeutics, has completed a new round of financing led by angel investors and the company’s founding investor. ImmunoBiochem has also expanded its operations and is now located at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS in Toronto (JLABS @ Toronto).

ImmunoBiochem is solving the problem of tumor heterogeneity by targeting a novel class of proteins in the tumor microenvironment with Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) – a promising class of anticancer therapeutics that combine the selectivity of targeted biologics with the potency of highly cytotoxic small-molecule drugs. ImmunoBiochem’s R&D is focused on the cancer cell secretome – the totality of proteins secreted by cancer cells. Select cancer targets are only secreted by cancer cells and accumulate in tumors, and can be exploited for targeted and selective delivery of cytotoxic payloads with ImmunoBiochem’s therapeutics platform. ImmunoBiochem’s highest priority is to transform the life of patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) – an aggressive disease with poor survival that does not respond to major therapies. Continue reading

Innovation machine: How one U of T researcher is having an outsized impact on the health startup space

Paul Santerre recently flew to Boston to help launch a cerebral catheter that incorporates an anti-clotting polymer additive created by Interface Biologics, the company he co-founded nearly two decades ago based on his University of Toronto lab work.

It was the sort of business trip that should be routine for the U of T biomaterials professor, given that Interface, by his count, has previously made five such announcements.

But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of one of the university’s most prolific entrepreneurs.

“For Interface Biologics to be entering the neural area is big,” says Santerre, who has appointments in U of T’s Faculty of Dentistry and the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. “A lot of imaging tools are starting to rely on catheter technologies to peer into spots where they can’t get the resolution they need with an MRI.

“This is an innovative product in an area that’s going to be a game-changer. It sets the stage for the next phase of growth for this local company of ours.”

The extra-ventricular catheter drain in question is designed by Knoxville, Tenn.-based startup Arkis Biosciences. Called CerebroFlo, the catheter will employ Interface’s Endexo technology, which a press release states “has been proven to be highly effective for reducing catheter occlusions and thrombosis,” including in a recent study of 656 patients at the Ottawa Hospital.

Endexo grew out of Santerre’s lab research in the 1990s. It’s a polymer additive that essentially tricks the body to ignoring its presence, preventing the formation of blood clots that can break off and lodge in blood vessels. It’s already being used in everything from flexible PICC catheters to dialysis machine membranes – basically anywhere that patients’ blood and medical instruments come into contact for extended periods.

The technology also helps reduce the chance of infection, since blood clots tend to be a breeding ground for bacteria – a feature Santerre says is critical for neurological applications.

“You can imagine what happens if you get a bug crawling up those catheter lines into the brain,” he says. “It’s over, very fast.” Continue Reading

Paul Santerre honoured with Governor General’s Innovation Award

The molecules he works with are so small they can’t be seen with the naked eye, but for University of Toronto Professor Paul Santerre, who is being honoured with the 2017 Governor General’s Innovation Award, it’s what you do with those molecules that counts.

One of six awardees to be recognized at a special ceremony at Rideau Hall on May 23rd, Santerre’s award recognizes his sweeping entrepreneurial vision for scientific inquiry — and its vital role in shaping Canada’s innovation economy.

He is one of the world’s leading biomaterials researchers and a professor in the Faculty of Dentistry and the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) at the University of Toronto. Santerre is also a lead researcher at the Ted Rogers Centre’s Translational Biology and Engineering Program.

“We’d like to congratulate Professor Santerre for winning the University of Toronto’s first-ever Governor General’s Innovation Award,” said Vivek Goel, the university’s vice-president of research and innovation. “This is a wonderful recognition of his cutting-edge research and his efforts to bring those innovations to market, enabling Canadians and others to lead healthier lives.” Continue Reading

H2i Client in UofT News – U of T startup Trexo Robotics takes another step forward with children’s ‘Iron Man’ exoskeleton

Just like the purposeful gait of their child-sized robotic exoskeleton, the entrepreneurs behind University of Toronto startup Trexo Robotics are propelling their young business forward one step at at time.

Co-founders Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi this week took first prize in a pitch competition organized by the philanthropic arm of Sunnybrook Hospital in partnership with U of T’s Health Innovation Hub, or H2i, incubator, among others.

The judges, including representatives from private equity funds and medical device companies, were won over by Trexo’s vision to help children living with physical challenges swap their wheelchair for a walker-like device equipped with robotic “Iron Man” leg attachments.

“The prize is going to be really helpful in enabling us to reach a commercial point,” said Maggu of the roughly $35,000 that Trexo will take home.  Continue Reading


H2i in UofT News! Move fast and break things? Not when you’re building a health-care startup: U of T entrepreneur

Move fast and break things? Not when you’re building a health-care startup: U of T entrepreneur

When it comes to the heavily regulated medical space, Robert Brooks says entrepreneurs should steer clear of the launch-it-now-fix-it-later approach favoured by the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.

“The Silicon Valley idea of ‘move fast and break things’ doesn’t work well in health care,” says the University of Toronto engineering alumnus and CEO of SensOR Medical Laboratories, referring to the Facebook CEO’s original mantra.

It was one of several words of wisdom dispensed by Brooks and fellow U of T entrepreneur Marek Pacal, who founded diabetes detection startup Optiggx, to nearly three dozen attendees at a Health Innovation Hub, or H2i, event this week. The event, held at Autodesk’s offices in the MaRS Discovery District, served to kick off H2i’s HealthEDGE Initiative, which is designed to encourage the creation and prototyping of solutions that address real health-care challenges through workshops, mentorships and a pitch competition. Continue Reading