Famed Canadian physician Dr. Norman Bethune would have liked this news coming out of the University of Toronto today:
ChipCare Corporation, an innovative producer of a handheld point-of-care analyzer based on mobile technology, has secured one of the largest angel investments into a healthcare startup.
The $2.05 million investment was made through a “uniquely collaborative funding model among Canadian social angel investors,” including Maple Leaf Angels, MaRS Innovation and the University of Toronto, with special “financing leadership” from Grand Challenges Canada and the Government of Canada.
The funding marks “phase II financing” for ChipCare, and will go towards continued development and commercialization of the handheld tool.
“This technology has the potential to save and improve the lives of millions around the world by bringing state-of-the-art blood testing to patients, instead of asking the sick to travel to labs that are often difficult to reach,” said ChipCare cofounder James Dou. “The impact on in-the-field HIV diagnostics alone could be revolutionary; this financing is critical to our commercialization roadmap.”
ChipCare’s handheld analyzer has the capacity to transform the way in which point-of-care diagnostics are delivered in the field for both developed and developing world populations. It stands apart from contemporary tools a few reasons: its design makes it less expensive than other similar devices, proprietary technology enables test results that are faster and demonstrably more accurate than existing standards and the device can run multiple diagnostics simultaneously.
“The diagnostic potential of this device can hardly be overstated,” said Maple Leaf Angels’ Adrian Schauer. “We are investing heavily in its commercialization because we see the potential to revolutionize bedside testing for many conditions, from HIV and malaria in the developing world, to sepsis, heart disease and cancers here at home.”
Schauer also mentioned that the investment is likely the second largest in Canadian history to a healthcare startup, and might well end up the largest before ChipCare is done.
In referring to ChipCare’s potential as both a great product as well as a job-creator, Grand Challenges Canada’s Peter Singer may have said it best: “If you can save lives while creating companies and jobs — well, it just doesn’t get any better than that!” he said.
ChipCare’s “Phase II project plan” calls for a three-year development of the device to refine its functionality and to develop a more robust prototype and reduce costs.
Grand Challenges Canada is supported by the federal government. According to minister of international development Christian Paradis, the initiative “underscores our government’s commitment to support innovation, leverage private sector know-how, and harness venture capital expertise in pursuit of game-changing development and global health solutions.”
“This project will make a difference by saving lives in developing countries and creating jobs here in Canada,” said Paradis.