Oct. 29, 2020
UCeed funds fuel health startups helping patients with a variety of conditions
UCeed is fostering innovation, helping to commercialize new technologies, and accelerating start-up companies. As UCalgary’s pre-seed and seed funding program, UCeed has selected four companies to pursue its first round of investment. From new ways to treat asthma to cancer care products, the first round of investees is an exciting and diverse group.
“We’re thrilled to see the vision of UCeed officially come to life,” says John Wilson, president and CEO of Innovate Calgary. “The number and quality of groups working on new ventures in child and general health is remarkable. These startups have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of people, and we are proud to help manage and operate Canada’s first seed fund for child health.”
UCeed is pursuing investments with the following companies:
Asthma is a common condition that, despite available treatments, continues to limit patients’ activities, places a heavy burden on child and adult emergency care resources, and can be fatal. AazeinTx's technology is designed to target the nervous system, quickly stopping asthmatic attacks while at the same time reducing lung inflammation, making subsequent attacks less likely. Users take the medication by pill, thus avoiding blocked lung issues, a primary limitation of inhalers for severe asthma attacks. AazeinTx is gearing up for a clinical trial to test its new therapy on asthmatic attacks and also plans to investigate its long-term benefits in improving lung health, with the aim of helping to prevent attacks from occurring.
To help those who have suffered spinal cord injuries, and possibly other neurological diseases and disorders, StimSherpa is a medical service company that makes sure neurostimulation devices are working as well as possible, in order to improve cardiovascular, bladder, bowel and other body functions. Their technology and algorithms determine the best possible therapeutic settings based on a patient’s specific injury, preferences, and care needs.
A developer of diagnostic tests that enable precision oncology, Qualisure Diagnostics is building tests that help to customize treatment strategies for each patient. Their proprietary machine learning algorithm, HighLifeR, scours large genomic datasets to identify the molecular features that are most closely associated with survival. By identifying these features, each biomarker – an indicator at the molecular level that cancer is present – is designed to influence clinical decision-making by understanding which cancers are aggressive, and which are likely to respond to treatment. Qualisure's cloud-based engine, Molecular deCodeR, decodes the biomarkers that are most informative and rapidly delivers test results to ordering physicians.
Working at the molecular level, Zymedyne’s technology prevents the body from undergoing certain changes that cause chronic pain. These new pain therapies can possibly avoid the drug tolerance and addiction sometimes associated with opiates. This should lower the risk of side effects, like weight gain or addiction. If successful, Zymedyne should help a broad range of patients with painful conditions, such as diabetes and shingles.
These exciting startup companies are affiliated with the University of Calgary, with many company founders tied to the Cumming School of Medicine and the Haskayne School of Business. Yesterday, representatives from each company took part in UCalgary’s Idea Exchange: Accelerating Economic Recovery and Growth. Watch the UCeed video to find out more about how these enerprises will benefit from UCeed and the university’s innovation ecosystem.
UCeed is funded entirely through donors — we thank them sincerely
The UCeed health funds were made possible with funding by Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and River Fund at Calgary Foundation. The UCeed Haskayne Student Fund is made possible by funding from Cannonball Sport and Education Foundation, the Brister family, and other individual donors. We thank our donors for their belief in innovation at the University of Calgary. Continued support from our donor community will further accelerate UCalgary startups in the future.
UCalgary is actively working to secure further support for UCeed to enable many more UCalgary startup companies and entrepreneurial initiatives.
Overall, the donor community has provided more than $100 million to fuel innovation at UCalgary and contributed to the university surpassing the $1.3 billion goal of Energize – The Campaign for Eyes High. Energized By You highlights the impact of giving raised during the campaign.