New BDC-Backed Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator Will Give Startups $500,000

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More government money is going towards Canadian startups, this time to those in the health sciences sector.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today that it will help create the “Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator” to help provide seed funding to new and emerging Canadian health sciences companies. Three to four companies annually will be created at Accel-Rx and will each receive a $500,000 convertible note from BDC Venture Capital.

CDRD Ventures Inc. will provide the initial management to launch Accel-Rx operations, which will focus on “maximizing new health sciences company creation, and ensuring start-ups have the resources they need to grow and become a new generation of strong health sciences companies.”

“The fact is: the healthcare industry in Canada holds great promise, with over $6 billion invested in basic research annually. However, a gap exists in terms of transforming this research into commercially-viable businesses. We believe that our collaboration with Accel-Rx will help tackle this problem,” said the BDC’s Jérôme Nycz. “To date, all BDC-backed accelerators have been in primarily the digital media and ICT sectors. This proposed partnership marks their first step in expanding their support to the health sciences sector.”

The new program will run under the guidance of five government-funded, Canadian health sciences “Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research” (CECR), to address the health science company creation challenge in Canada. They include:

  • The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD);
  • MaRS Innovation (MI);
  • The Vancouver Prostate Centre’s Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development (PC-TRIADD);
  • The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM); and,
  • The Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC).

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The accelerator will help make a connection between: promising technologies; experts in drug development, clinical/regulatory affairs, deal-making and finance; entrepreneurs and mentors; and R&D infrastructure and resources.

A release stated that Accel-Rx will deliver five key “Program Pillars:”: Business Planning and Investment Strategy Development, Funding, Technology Development Planning, Mentorship, and Access to Infrastructure (through ‘preferred partnerships’ with the five founding CECR organizations noted above).

“Accel-Rx is now supporting the next stage in the development continuum, and acting as a robust national accelerator for new company creation,” said Natalie Dakers, President and CEO of CVI. “With the new resources it brings to the table, Accel-Rx will provide Canada with a more well-informed, well-resourced, and effective approach to company creation; and ensure that opportunities arising from the country’s strong foundation of innovative discovery research and technology development are fully capitalized upon through the launching of a critical mass of robust companies based on exceptional innovative, pre-validated (scientifically and commercially) technologies.”

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk previously has written for the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post, Techvibes and BC Business Online. Joseph often goes crazy on twitter during NHL and NFL games.