Unique HealthTech accelerator launched in B.C.

Amrik VirkBritish Columbia’s first of its kind HealthTech accelerator, focused exclusively on the commercialization of medical technology was announced recently in Surrey’s HealthTech district, a collaborative cluster of health technology companies, academic research labs, and health practitioners. “As an important goal of the #BCTECH Strategy, we’re creating conditions to support and enable the province’s more than 300 biopharmaceutical and health tech companies to continue to grow and diversify,” said Amrik Virk (pictured), Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.

“Innovation Boulevard will bring together partners in the health tech sector to create new and powerful solutions to some of Canada’s biggest health challenges.”

Innovation Boulevard’s HealthTech accelerator is the 14th technology accelerator in the province funded by BC Innovation Council. It has a strategic collaboration with IBM Canada and will serve The Province of British Columbia. The goal of the accelerator is to enable technology developers at various stages through Entrepreneurs/Executives in residence (EIRs), collaboration, and support – specializing exclusively in the commercialization of medical devices, software, and processes.

Innovation Boulevard will build its accelerator out of a 6,000-square foot facility by SFU in Surrey where it will leverage its proximity to and connections with the Fraser Health Authority (FHA), universities and researchers. It is led by Dr. Peter Payne, a serial entrepreneur with deep HealthTech domain expertise.

“There is no shortage of data in the health sector and we are going to see more data. We have the talent here, and now with this marvellous partnership with IBM Canada, our local organizations will have the tools to help make sense of the data to improve healthcare delivery,” said Dr. Peter Payne, Innovation Boulevard CEO.

This HealthTech accelerator will bring together industry, innovators, health workers and investors to solve major health industry challenges. The accelerator is a new member in BC Innovation Council’s province wide network of organizations that provide programs to assist in scaling technology companies.

Innovation Boulevard has a strategic collaboration with IBM Canada to allow member companies to access and leverage IBM disruptive and emerging technologies such as Bluemix, IBM’s Cloud platform, and IBM Watson services to address big data challenges in health tech such as data analysis, population health trends, and medical resource management. Member companies will benefit from technology and support from IBM that will expedite their innovation and commercialization efforts.

“The healthcare industry needs innovation that fosters discovery and accelerates time to market, without the added burden of significant capital requirements,” said IBM Canada President, Dino Trevisani. “With the help of IBM’s powerful cognitive and cloud technologies, Innovation Boulevard will enable local organizations to incubate and innovate ideas much more rapidly to ultimately help solve global health problems. This is a true example of innovation that matters, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The new accelerator is strategically located in Surrey to take advantage of the proximity and relationships with Fraser Health Authority (FHA), Surrey Memorial Hospital, Simon Fraser University’s Engineering and Business schools, and the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT).

About the BC Innovation Council (www.bcic.ca)
The BC Innovation Council, a Crown agency of the Province of B.C., accelerates the growth and success of B.C. companies by providing resources and market opportunities for applied innovations that solve challenges and drive competitiveness in B.C. industries. Through the annual #BCTECH Summit and support of the B.C. government’s #BCTECH Strategy, BC Innovation Council is fostering the growth of companies that generate revenue, produce high-paying skilled jobs and drive economic development in B.C.

About Innovation Boulevard (www.innovationboulevard.ca)
Innovation Boulevard (IB) is a non-profit organization dedicated to health technology advancement and commercialization. IB believes that through collaboration, entrepreneurship and new technology we can develop solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the healthcare system. IB’s technology accelerator currently supports over 40 health technology companies, and have facilitated the commercialization of six products within the last two years.

About IBM Canada (www.ibm.com)
IBM is one of Canada’s top ten private R&D investors, and in 2016 contributed more than $478million to Canadian research activities. IBM has a unique approach to collaboration that provides academic researchers, small and large business, start-ups and developers with business strategies and computing tools they need to innovate. Areas of focus include health, agile computing, water, energy, cities, mining, advanced manufacturing, digital media and cybersecurity. IBM and its partners have in the past three years helped create more than 240 high-value jobs and launch more than three dozen new businesses. For more information about IBM’s continued investments in Canadian innovation, please visit http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ca/en/canadian-innovation.html.

About the B.C. Government (www.gov.bc.ca)
The #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of British Columbia’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen B.C.’s diverse innovation economy. The multi-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development through graduate seats, co-ops and coding, as well as data innovation and market access for tech companies to drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.