CDL’s mission is to accelerate the commercialization of science for the betterment of humankind. The enormous and immediate impact of COVID-19 on our societies, economies, and public health systems underscores the need to act quickly. So CDL deployed its model and its community to rapidly translate science into solutions.
The pandemic also necessitates a global approach. For the first time ever, CDL disbanded its traditional location-based programming and designed CDL Recovery to run globally across four countries and eight sites. More than 400 mentors came together from around the world to guide an initial cohort of 99 ventures through the first global CDL program.
In mid-August, 28 ventures graduated from the program. Their solutions focused on economic recovery (including tracking, tracing, workplace reentry, commerce, and communication) and public health (including telemedicine, testing, clinical tools, therapeutics, and health monitoring). Some of the graduates will also join CDL’s 2020/21 core program—across its nine locations and multiple specialized streams—in order to further develop their ventures.
AccuroLab has developed a service that acts as an intermediary between cellphone users and Trusted Health Organizations (THO) sources, which allows users to assess the accuracy of incoming text messages related to COVID-19.
Altis Labs helps pharmaceutical companies and hospitals accelerate therapeutic R&D and guide personalized treatment by predicting patient outcomes from radiological imaging. As COVID-19 spread, Altis expanded its technology to predict outcomes of patients with pulmonary infections, as well, allowing hospitals to better manage their resources.
Avro Life Science
Avro Life Science develops skin patches that administer generic drugs through the skin and eliminate the need for oral medication. Their first product—an allergy patch for children—helps children avoid the side effects of taking oral medication, including trouble swallowing.
BioXplor is developing an AI- and network-based drug-discovery platform for pharma and biotech, which will prioritize drug combinations for complex diseases. The platform prioritizes single assets or entire drug pipelines, with a unique safety- and efficacy-based prioritization model for multiple drug targets and drug combination candidates. In response to the pandemic, BioXplor is positioning the platform for antiviral and anti-inflammatory COVID-19 drug combinations, which it will leverage to build a pipeline of biotech and academic partners and clients.
Careteam’s virtual-care collaboration platform facilitates a continuum of care planning and enables healthcare providers, patients, families, and informal support groups to act effectively as a team. The platform offers integrated care plans that can be personalized and shared, enabling healthcare providers to manage COVID-19 patients remotely while continuing the delivery of needed primary and specialized care conditions and contexts (acute, community, and home). Led by a female CEO, Careteam is expanding to the US, the UK, and China.
Crowdless is a mobile app that helps people avoid queues and crowds. The app provides real-time and predicted information on how busy venues are, so people can shop at the least busy hours. That helps the public meet social-distancing standards during COVID-19 while also allowing commercial partners to reduce the amount of time that stores are over capacity.
En Carta is developing a rapid and reliable test for COVID-19. The test is paper-based and seeks to address the dual problem of short supplies for traditional testing methods and the high cost of these tests. The initial technology was validated in 2019 with the Zika virus and is now being adapted to COVID-19.
Gradient Ascent’s first product, Greeter, is a health and safety solution to improve compliance outcomes, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and maintaining social distancing It uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to monitor compliance and issue an audio-visual alert, or notify security staff, when an individual is not wearing any PPE.
Grapheal is developing a disposable, low-cost, and rapid diagnostic test enabling multi-strain screening in saliva with an antibody-sensitized sensor coupled to a smartphone app, which can meet the urgent need during this pandemic for rapid on-site screening of passengers
Gray Oncology Solutions
Gray Oncology Solutions helps oncology centres optimize resource allocation to reach their maximum treatment capacity at a high quality of care. Gray is developing AI-guided algorithms to create a virtual model of a customer’s oncology centre, from which customers can predict the distribution of new patient arrivals and the time required to treat those patients, then perform advance scheduling—all of which can help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on over-capacity healthcare systems.
Hutano Diagnostics is developing MediLego LFD, a rapid lateral flow device for COVID-19 based on proprietary aptamers (SOMAmers) that detect SARS-CoV-2 10 minutes after a saliva test or nasal/throat swab. The test will be used in conjunction with a smartphone, cloud database, and Bluetooth to automate result interpretation, data collection, and contact tracing.
Ilara Health (Ilara) is a secure digital web/mobile app platform that brings diagnostic support and essential tests to small medical providers across peri-urban sub-Saharan Africa who are currently unable to access these basic life-saving tools. It offers flexible financing (pay as you go) to make this tech affordable to providers in low-resource settings. Its COVID-19 Readiness Package for symptom checking will help identify patients who are most susceptible to serious COVID-19 complications and can play a crucial role in patient triage at the primary-care level.
LumineSense is designing a rapid autonomous ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system for confined, high-traffic public spaces. Applying liquid disinfectants in high-traffic places such as elevators, classrooms, and hospitals is either impractical or excessively laborious. The LumineSense light source will beam-form and include sensors to guarantee sufficient UV dosage, ensuring fast and effective disinfection.
WarnerPatch (formerly M2JN)
WarnerPatch (formerly M2JN) has developed a non-invasive chip sensor that can be embedded in a non-invasive IoT medical device, allowing continuous measurement of tissue health to provide information on respiratory distress episodes. M2JN’s proprietary sensor provides clinicians with real-time and predictive information on disease deterioration, improves patient outcome, and reduces related care costs.
Mediphage Bioceuticals is a phage therapeutics company developing next-generation genetics medicines that are safer, customizable, and redosable through our flagship product, ministring DNA. Mediphage leverages second-generation ministrings that have been further manipulated and decorated inside the human body once they recombine with a carrier in a delivery vehicle that targets a specific physical, genetic, or biochemical reaction.
MEMOTEXT is building RapidResponse, a digital communication tool that automates outreach, screening, and mental health follow-ups for students and teachers. MEMOTEXT has built over 35 custom patient-engagement solutions for clients including McKesson, SE Health, CAMH, GSC, Johns Hopkins, and Novartis, and is applying its expertise to help address the COVID crisis.
Metabolic Insights has developed a point-of-care device that analyzes saliva and other body fluids for peptides (and thus health-related biomarkers) in less than 10 minutes. As a response to COVID-19, Metabolic Insights is repurposing its current salivary insulin device to detect the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in saliva, which could then be used in many situations, including daily screening by physicians, pharmacies, employers, or airports, as well as for at-home diagnosis.
MyBubble is a social-distancing radar that measures and gamifies users’ social distancing and hygiene practices. Initially targeting re-opening workplaces, MyBubble translates policies into goals, allows users to be alert to their behaviours in real-time, and get feedback on their adherence to the rules to help reduce risk of exposure and the spread of COVID-19.
nanopathdx has developed a testing platform that can detect multiple viral RNA targets directly from a nasal swab within minutes, instead of hours. The platform consists of a disposable test cartridge for patient-sample processing and a portable sample processing and readout machine. The technology was developed to identify pathogens in the body and is being deployed to detect SARS-CoV-2 specifically.
Pngme is a unified data platform that aggregates financial data on individuals and micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) for financial institutions (e.g. banks and mobile money operators). Given the lockdowns caused by COVID-19, Pngme enables financial institutions in emerging markets to onboard, approve credit applications, and offer products digitally without meeting in person. Pngme has received investments from several CDL mentors during CDL Recovery and is currently working towards an open banking revolution in Africa.
ProbiusDx has developed an analytical platform that brings the unique integration of multiscale biological information to identify small and large molecules. This multiscale phenotyping can be performed in the background matrix directly, without sample preparation, and in limited sample volumes to enable broad-spectrum and efficient longitudinal studies for preclinical therapeutic discovery and validation.
Provision Analytics provides fruit and vegetable processors a SaaS food-safety and traceability solution to reduce food loss. The software helps digitize food-safety forms, streamlines data inputs over various parts of the food value chain (including transportation, packaging, machine maintenance, and inventory management), and extracts insight from data. Provision’s core software is being applied to trace and monitor COVID-19 symptoms among workers to help essential food facilities stay open and safe. The venture will be ramping up its sales activities to get its platform into more food-processing facilities in Canada and the US. Provision Analytics was featured in the Globe and Mail as it gains traction with food producers for its new COVID-19 tracking software.
Proxxi is a hardware and software company for industrial settings that has developed a wearable wristband to protect workers from electricity. Proxxi has repurposed its core product into a COVID-19 workplace distance and contact-tracing wristband (entitled the Halo system, or Halo). Halo vibrates to notify wearers that another band is within six feet (two metres), gently reminding workers of the need to maintain social distance.
SensorUp provides an open interface that enables interoperability, analytics, and device management across different IoT sensor systems. The company’s founder is an editor of the IoT cloud API standard that will be endorsed as a national IoT standard by governments around the world.
Tenera Care is a hardware and software monitoring and analytics platform that has developed a wearable technology (bracelet, pendant, or clip-on) to accurately pinpoint a user’s location within a care facility. The system enables contact tracing by detecting who someone has interacted with, at what distance, in what location, and for how long. Read more about Tenera Care’s data-analytics solution in the Financial Post.
TestCard is a smartphone app that can read a variety of diagnostic tests quickly, easily, and from a user’s home via their camera phone. Originally developed to diagnose UTIs, TestCard’s app can be repurposed to help read COVID tests from home. A user does a finger-prick blood test and the TestCard app can let the user know if they have tested positive for COVID within minutes.
VivaVax has developed an antiviral coating material called ShieldAV that can eliminate microbes/viruses within 30 minutes of contact and can last on surfaces such as glass, plastics, metals, ceramic, and textiles for five years indoors and three years outdoors.
Worldchanging Ventures is developing modular, rapidly deployable facilities for housing, health, and educational purposes. The team has pivoted their current offering away from rapidly deployable field hospitals and toward modular sustainable housing.
Learn more about the CDL program here.