News

March 14, 2018

A Look into the Future of Medical Technology

HealthPRO got a glimpse into the future of medical technology during a recent visit to the Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto.

Launched in 2012 at the Rotman School of Management, the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) was created to help the best science and technology minds in Canada turn their ideas into high-growth companies. CDL provides what they call “objective-based coaching” in eight-week cycles over nine months to aspiring entrepreneurs who have plenty of technical and research know-how, but lack business experience. CDL has locations in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and, most recently, New York City*.

At Rotman in Toronto, CDL offers 150 applicants the chance to work one-on-one with expert mentors, including Kobo founder Mike Serbinis, Kik creator Ted Livingston and Tesla’s Shivon Zillis. In six years, the Creative Destruction Lab has helped create companies worth over $2 billion in equity value.

Some of the program’s most exciting medical-focused entrepreneurs jumped at the chance to get their ideas in front of HealthPRO as Canada's healthcare procurement services organization. And while we were there primarily to listen and learn, there were opportunities for members of our team to offer important insights into Canada’s healthcare system – insights that we hope will aid in their success moving forward.

The first venture we met was Medella Health, a Waterloo-based designer of biosensors. Beginning with a contact lens that provides continuous measurement of glucose in the bloodstream, they have turned to an artificial-intelligence-aided process to further develop 18 low cost and efficient sensors for additional applications.

One of their latest developments is a sensor capable of detecting acetomenophine spikes in patients with who are on the drug, allowing them to medicate before the onset of the symptoms — potentially freeing them from migraines entirely. Medella is pursuing a proactive model of care, making real-time monitoring accessible and efficient. Their efforts are very exciting.

Reducing costs and enhancing ease of testing is also the goal of Elucid Labs. Inspired by their co-founder’s original career as an astrophysicist, the goal is to use electromagnetic radiation (EMR) to help give doctors an unprecedented view of their patients while remaining entirely non-invasive.

Their first application is the Elion Sensor, a handheld device that can be used to examine skin lesions for the presence of cancer. Using EMR technology and a proprietary AI-enabled diagnostic system, Elucid is capable of detecting if an area of skin is cancerous in only five seconds — without any of the costly and time-consuming procedures associated with today’s biopsy process.

While approval for their device is underway, they are exploring further opportunities in gastroenterology, ophthalmology and neurology. Elucid may well be the first group able to answer which field is actually more challenging, rocket science or brain surgery.

The third venture we met was Trexo Robotics, a company working to help children with disabilities get moving using their wearable robotic device. Designed around the RIFTON walker, the current version of the device is a robotic rehabilitation tool that assists in walking physiotherapy for children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other ailments.

Unlike other robotic assistance tools, Trexo’s model is entirely portable — it runs on a battery and is small enough that it can be set up and run by one trained technician or physiotherapist. Available at just one-tenth of the cost of existing models, Trexo’s hope is that it will make advanced data and assistive robotic tools accessible beyond highly-specialized research and rehabilitation facilities. In fact, they are currently working on models for entirely private use, giving children — and, eventually, adults — the opportunity to walk with no further assistance beyond the exoskeleton itself.

Thanks to Creative Destruction Lab, we had the opportunity to meet companies that are actively pursuing an inspired vision for the future of healthcare and health technology.

If you are interested in learning more, please email the Director (Rachel Harris) at rachel@creativedestructionlab.com.

*CDL Locations

Halifax

Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University

Montreal

HEC Montréal

Toronto

Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto

Calgary

Haskayne School of Business

Vancouver

Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

New York City

New York University’s Stern School of Business