Fri Dec 18, 2020 12:55pm EST

More than $5.5 million in federal funding through Western Economic Diversification Canada will help Alberta firms introduce new health and medical products for market. 

EDMONTON, AB, Dec. 18, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - Western Economic Diversification Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the development of new and improved medical products and technologies that protect the health of Canadians and advance Canadian-made health solutions. Investing in key sectors such as Alberta's growing health and life sciences cluster is part of the Government of Canada's focus on creating high-value jobs that support a strong economic recovery in the West.

Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, the Prime Minister's Special Advisor for the Prairies, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced more than $5.5 million in federal support for Alberta-made medical advancements that keep Canadians healthy while contributing to a stronger, more diverse economy.

Four Alberta-based organizations and companies are receiving WD support

Institute of Health Economics
The Institute of Health Economics (IHE), an Alberta-based not-for-profit organization, is receiving $953,250 in WD funding over three years to support approximately 30 western Canadian health companies with customized economic analysis that will help to determine the value of their products and technologies. IHE will help companies develop and commercialize innovative products faster by enabling their testing in clinical settings and providing product analysis. Up to 20 products are expected to be developed for market through this initiative.

Health City
Health City, an Edmonton-based not-for-profit organization, is receiving $200,000 in WD funding to deliver a program for approximately 12 digital technology companies to learn how to integrate their products into regional healthcare information technology systems. A key partner in this project is Brightsquid, a Calgary-based health technology company that provides secure communication tools, privacy compliance expertise, and training to healthcare providers.

Kent Imaging Inc.
Kent Imaging, a Calgary-based health technology company, is receiving $1,750,000 in repayable WD funding to introduce the next generation of its medical imaging devices. The enhancements to its existing product line are expected to further support wound care clinicians and vascular surgeons in assessing the state of a patient's tissue health and quickly determining the required level of treatment. This builds on WD's previous funding of more than $1.1 million in repayable funding for Kent Imaging to introduce its imaging technology into the surgical market.

Circle Cardiovascular Imaging Inc.
Circle Cardiovascular Imaging, a Calgary-based health technology company, is receiving $2,647,000 in repayable WD funding to develop and commercialize new products that provide physicians with the ability to accurately diagnose complex cardiovascular diseases. Funding will support the company to integrate artificial intelligence into its diagnostic tools.


"I have seen firsthand the willingness of Canadians to work together in support of the economy and the health of one another throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This global challenge has highlighted the strength of Canada's health and life sciences sector while underscoring the need for continued support of both the industry and the people who work tirelessly to keep Canadians safe. I'm proud that today's investment will support Alberta firms to commercialize new technologies, which is important for our economy and for keeping Canadians healthy.

-       The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians and Canadian businesses have shown determination and unity to protect one another. We continue to see Canadian businesses step-up by shifting manufacturing to develop products and technologies that help us prevent the spread of COVID-19. Whether targeting COVID-19 or other ailments, the innovative medical products and services supported by today's investment will protect the health of Canadians and enable entrepreneurs to emerge from this pandemic stronger than before."

-       The Honourable Jim Carr, the Prime Minister's Special Advisor for the Prairies

"We are building on Alberta's existing strengths to grow and diversify Alberta's economy. This funding from the federal government will support four Alberta-based health technology companies to create high-value jobs and encourage innovative new technologies in the health and life sciences sector. As our economy recovers, we continue to look forward to opportunities to invest in a diversified Alberta."

-       Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation 

"Health systems are becoming increasingly more rigorous in terms of the economic evidence they expect to see from companies before deciding to pay for their innovations. The IHE is very pleased that Western Economic Diversification has provided support to allow us to help life science companies with promising, market-ready technologies to develop a stronger adoption case in support of market access. This support builds on investments from the province of Alberta and it is great that all levels of government are working together to support the health industry to be as competitive as possible."

-       Dr. Christopher McCabe, Executive Director and CEO, Institute of Health Economics

"The opportunity for innovative companies to plug into our health system to serve as a development platform is transformational. Validating and testing novel digital innovations in a safe way will drive better health outcomes and be a key driver for Alberta's post-pandemic recovery."

-       Reg Joseph, CEO, Health City

"We are so pleased to be working with Edmonton Health City in helping multiple companies understand the privacy, security and technical requirements required to integrate into health systems across Canada, a major gap for many digital health technology start ups."

-     Rohit Joshi, CEO, Brightsquid

"We are very excited to be a recipient of investment through WD's Business Scale-up program to assist Kent Imaging in leveraging our innovative imaging technology, SnapshotNIR. Kent's goal is to provide physicians immediate insight into the ability of tissue to heal, thus improving outcomes and reducing complications during treatment. This investment allows us to accelerate our product innovation and expand our global technology footprint."

-       Pierre Lemire, CEO, Kent Imaging

"It is an honour to receive WD's support and we are proud to convey abroad that our government greatly invests in impactful healthcare innovations. This funding will allow earlier market access for a new software suite that will assert Circle Cardiovascular Imaging's leadership position while providing better cardiac assessment solutions for Canadians and people all over the globe."

-       Greg Ogrodnick, CEO, Circle Cardiovascular Imaging

Quick facts

  • Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is investing more than $5.5 million to support made-in-Alberta medical advancements that keep Canadians healthy and contribute to a strong western Canadian health and life sciences sector.
  • WD Funding is directed towards four Alberta-based organizations, including two not-for profit entities and two healthcare technology firms:
    • $953,250 for the Institute of Health Economics (IHE)
    • $200,000 for Health City
    • $1,750,000 (repayable) for Kent Imaging Inc.
    • $2,647,000 (repayable) for Circle Cardiovascular Imaging Inc.
  • With WD support, Alberta companies operating in the health and life sciences sector will have earlier access to clinical settings to test their products, allowing them to develop and commercialize innovative products faster and more efficiently.
  • This is critical to positioning Canadian companies to respond to health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and to further growing Alberta's health technology sector.

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SOURCE Western Economic Diversification Canada