NGen awards $6 million to healthtech companies
June 24, 2020
HAMILTON, ON – Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization behind Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, has announced an additional $6 million in funding for projects dedicated to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.
Three Canadian companies will benefit from funding under NGen’s commitment to invest $50 million to support companies as they rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by building a Canadian supply of critically needed technologies, equipment, and medical devices to aid in the fight against COVID-19.
Cloud DX, based in Kitchener, Ont., has received $1.75 million from NGen, representing 50% of the total project cost of $3.5 million, to develop Pulsewave 2.0, a solution to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients with non-acute symptoms who have been sent home from the hospital but may require virtual care at home to fully recover.
“Once production begins, Pulsewave 2.0 will be one of the only Health Canada-authorized medical devices that simultaneously gathers heart rate, respiration rate and blood pressure remotely from patients at home,” said Robert Kaul (pictured), CEO, Cloud DX. “Our solution is one key to helping Canadian healthcare providers monitor thousands of COVID-19 presumptive patients day after day, and to facilitating COVID-19 recovery by helping doctors to quickly identify and focus on those patients whose conditions have worsened.”
The Cloud DX Connected Health platform gives doctors the automated monitoring ability they need to send many non-acute patients home sooner, freeing up beds and relieving pressure on front line staff. Pulsewave 2.0 is the next iteration of Cloud DX’s award-winning blood pressure monitor. This Bluetooth-enabled wrist cuff records and analyzes a patient’s radial artery pulse and delivers average breathing rate, average heart rate and blood pressure measurements.
The Connected Health platform consists of a mobile application for patients, clinician dashboards, smart software that automates the gathering of vital signs, patient symptom surveys, video and text message capabilities and customized healthcare content. Cloud DX services allow doctors and nurses to set notification triggers that can alert them when a patient’s vital signs or symptoms change. Connected Health and all of Cloud DX’s devices are Health Canada licensed and have been deployed by hospitals and clinics across the country.
NGen funding will help fast-track regulatory approval and transition to manufacturing of the Pulsewave 2.0 and enable Cloud DX to begin manufacturing these innovative vital sign monitors at scale, in Canada. The company expects to create up to 10 new full-time jobs in Kitchener-Waterloo within the 12-month span of the project.
Once this state-of-the-art manufacturing centre is fully operational, Cloud DX plans to expand its product line with additional ground-breaking devices currently under development, including the wearable Vitaliti™ continuous vital sign monitor which earned the company the Bold Epic Innovator Award as one of 3 winners of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition in 2017.
Myant, based in Toronto, Ontario, has received $2.5 million from NGen, representing 50% of the total project cost of almost $5 million, to manufacture and deploy the company’s textile-based wearable health monitoring system (called Skiin). Myant knits sensors and actuators into everyday textiles, giving them the ability to sense and react to the human body.
The system will enable remote detection and triaging of COVID-19 symptoms, provide patients who have limited connection to care (such as those in elder care homes, remote indigenous communities, women’s shelters, homeless shelters, etc.) with access to telemedicine, and minimize risk to front-line healthcare workers.
“By enabling patients to be remotely triaged and monitored on a continuous basis via biometrics captured by Skiin garments, Myant hopes to help the healthcare system optimize their resources for COVID-19 screening and keep patients connected to care in a time where physically travelling to a care facility may mean increased risk of exposure,” said Tony Chahine, CEO, Myant.
Exacad, based in Boisbriand, Quebec, has received $1.8 million from NGen, covering 100% of the total project cost related to the purchase of new equipment, which will contribute to the increased production of advanced plastic medical molds to produce the plastic consumables needed for rapid diagnostics related to COVID-19. “Shortage of plastic consumables for rapid diagnostics is one of the major issues facing Canada in its COVID-19 response. Exacad is well positioned to meet this need by providing the molds that will be critical for the deployment of medical diagnostics and treatments for Canada’s current and future demand,” said Francois Tremblay, president, Exacad.
“During an unprecedented and challenging time, Canada’s advanced manufacturing companies have really stepped up to the plate and developed innovative solutions that will save lives and improve healthcare,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen. “Every single one of these new manufacturing technologies will not only meet the immediate demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also build world leading capabilities in Canadian manufacturing innovation that will support the future well-being and economic prosperity of Canadians as we move forward.”
In March, NGen launched its Rapid Response Funding Program to launch production of innovative manufacturing solutions that could contribute in the fight against COVID-19. To date, NGen has supported a total of 19 projects amounting to $27 million in funding to Canadian companies undertaking advanced manufacturing initiatives to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.