Nova Scotia launches new system to deliver health test results via smartphone

See original post in Chronicle Herald HALIFAX — A new online portal that will deliver medical test results to Nova Scotians via smartphones is the kind of innovation that’s long overdue in Canadian health care, says the federal health minister. Jane Philpott was in Halifax on Thursday for the launch of the MyHealthNS portal, which has been tested for the past three years in a pilot project involving 30 family doctors and 6,000 patients. Philpott, who worked as a family doctor, said using technology to create a single patient record is part of improving overall primary care. “This is exactly the kind of innovation that we need to see more of. This is an important step along the way and Nova Scotia is clearly at the cutting edge on this.” Philpott said when it comes to “people-centred” services and technologies, she sees banks and credit card companies leading the way. “I look at the kinds of cloud technology that’s being used all over the world,” she said. “Health care is way behind folks, you and I know it and we’ve got to catch up.” The cost of Nova Scotia’s new system is $13.3 million over the three-year implementation period, with $10 million from the federal government and $3.3 million from the province. The initial rollout will serve the Halifax, South Shore and West Hants areas with plans to expand the system provincewide beginning early next year — making Nova Scotia the first in Canada to do so. The MyHealthNS system is being implemented through McKesson Canada’s RelayHealth. David Mosher, the company’s program director, said the secure portal can be reached through any device that has Internet access. He said patients would see a dashboard divided into sections for health records, messaging doctors, and for downloading data. “A patient can just click on ‘add’ and put in data themselves, but the important thing is that it also lists where the source came from,” said Mosher. “When a clinician is looking at this information later they can see whether it came from a patient or one of their colleagues.” Nova Scotia’s Health Department says the system will allow patients to manage their own health information to the point of saving some visits to health clinics in order to get some test results. Provincial Health Minister Leo Glavine said results of the pilot project indicated that through the course of a year, physicians had 22 per cent more time to see other patients. Dr. Stewart Cameron, a Halifax physician who took part in the pilot, said using the electronic system is about making practices more efficient. “We have a lot of things that family doctors waste time on when they would much prefer to be engaged in patient care,” Cameron said. “I see it as making better use of our existing resources.” Richmond Campbell, a patient of Cameron’s, said he has a condition that means his blood has been tested every month for the past 10-years. Campbell said using the portal saved him trips to the doctor’s office to get information he can now get in a quicker, more convenient way. “It simplifies everything greatly and of course it gets me really involved in managing my health,” he said. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press]]>

Appili Therapeutics Channeling Funds into Drug Discovery, written by Peter Moreira Kevin Sullivan had the pride of a guy showing off his new Cadillac. But it wasn’t a car he was displaying, it was the new laboratory that his company had recently moved into. The company is Halifax-based drug discovery outfit Appili Therapeutics Inc., which in May announced $3.3 million in funding, comprising equity, debt and grants. On the same day, Sullivan unveiled the company’s new lab in the Innovacorp Enterprise Centre in Halifax and introduced the team of PhDs working for the company. A month earlier, Appli had announced it received a special fast-track approval designation from the Food and Drug Administration. Not bad for a company that began last year. “Appili is a company that hasn’t been around long, and coming from where they started to where they are today is truly impressive,” said Scott Moffitt, the Managing Director of BioNova, the life sciences industry association in Nova Scotia. Appili is a notable company because of its leadership, its strategy and the story of how the company came together. Sullivan is a businessman operating in a segment that is often known for the high concentration of academics. He’s raised more than $40 million for various companies, and he brings a deep expertise in developing new drugs. Sullivan came to Nova Scotia in 2013 to take the helm at DeNovaMed, a Halifax company working on a cure for antibiotic-resistant viruses. He had previously spent 10 years (including four as COO) with London-based Viron Therapeutics Inc., which was developing a cardiovascular drug. Viron raised more than $35 million in equity and non-dilutive capital and took its lead product through Phase 2 trials. During his work in the biotech field, Sullivan met up with Brian Bloom and Jolyon Burton, the principals of the Toronto-based healthcare-focused investment boutique Bloom Burton & Co. Together, they decided to form a company in Halifax headed by Sullivan that would develop drug candidates. The first is ATI-1501, which aims to remove the nasty taste from an existing drug that treats Clostridium difficile infection, or CDI, an urgent antibiotic-resistant bacterial threat that causes 29,000 deaths annually. A drug called Metronidazole has been used to treat the condition since the 1970s, but kids with CDI don’t want to take it because of its dreadful taste. ATI-1501 removes the bitter taste. The Food and Drug Administration recently granted orphan drug designation to ATI-1501, meaning Appili could have an accelerated regulatory path and protection against competition for seven years. The company expects to begin clinical trials next year and have a product on the market in three or four years. The second drug candidate is ATI-1503, a drug that could fight deadly infections such as Klebsiella pneumoniae. The media is full of warnings about viruses that are resistant to antibiotics and Sullivan said this drug could help combat them, but it’s a longer, riskier project than the first drug. “We’re now entering a post antibiotic era, where a common cut could be deadly,” said Sullivan. “That’s what keeps us up at night.” Sullivan described Appili’s strategy as one based on “hitting home runs and singles.” The idea is that the drug for CDI can get to market quickly, but address a limited market. By selling the product, it could produce a steady income stream. That would help to finance the drug for antibiotic-resistant viruses, which could become a blockbuster drug. The strategy helped Sullivan attract $2.3 million in equity financing in the latest round  — $1.8 million from individuals brought together by Bloom Burton, and $500,000 from Innovacorp. Appili supplemented the raise with funding from theAtlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and NRC Irap. “This is a seed round,” said Sullivan. “We’ll be looking to go back to the capital markets in the summer and close another round of financing in the fall.”]]>

DMF Medical Preps for 2017 Launch, by Peter Moreira July 19, 2016 – A Halifax medical technology company has a basic aim: to make anesthesia safer. DMF Medical plans to release its signature product, Memsorb, in the next year and hopes it will improve the process of removing carbon dioxide from the system that puts patients to sleep during operations. Memsorb is a membrane-based device that replaces the collection of chemicals that is now used to remove CO2 from the process. The new device, which will go through regulatory processes in Canada and/or the European Union this winter, is safer, better for the environment and can save hospitals money. “Anesthesia is an old, traditional business and things can be improved by eliminating problems,” co-founder and director of R&D Florentin Wilfart said at the recent Atlantic Venture Forum. In this traditional medical process, a patient inhales a vaporized anesthetic mixed with oxygen, and exhales a combination of oxygen, anesthetic, carbon dioxide and toxins. It passes through a chemical filter to strip out the toxins and CO2, and then feeds it back into the stream of gases being delivered to the patient. Because anesthetics are so expensive, the filtered exhalation is used again to get maxiumum use out of the anesthetic. But there are problems with this “anesthetic loop” because of the chemical reaction used to remove CO2 — mainly, it produces compounds that can be harmful to the patient. “People don’t like to admit this is a real problem even through it’s been published in several places,” said Wilfart. What’s more, the process spews CO2 and chemicals into the air, so the impact worldwide on the atmosphere is equivalent to the production of 4.4 million tons of CO2 a year. And the residue chemicals produce 115,000 cubic metres of solid waste a year that is expensive to dispose of. In most operating rooms, the chemical canisters must be replaced daily. DMF Medical has devised Memsorb to solve these problems. The device uses a membrane to filter out the CO2 and toxins, creating no chemical reaction. The product, which fits seamlessly into existing anesthesia equipment, lasts for several months, and is recyclable. The only thing it needs to work is a stream of oxygen, which would be readily available in any operating room. Wilfart and a team of medical and business professionals have been working on the project for more than five years. (In 2011, DMF actually competed in the first BioInnovation Challenge, the region’s main life sciences pitching competition.) The company has raised a total of $3.1 million in capital, including private investment and government loans and grants. This included a $1.25 million loan from the Atlantic Innovation Fund in 2012. DMF Medical now has a working prototype of Memsorb and has done clinical trials on 20 patients. It will soon be in the midst of the regulatory process to have the product approved in Canada and the EU. The first jurisdiction to grant approval will be the first market it will enter. Assuming the manufacturer can produce Memsorb in the quantities the market demands, the group hopes to have the product on the market in 2017.]]>

News Release: Spring Loaded Technology Delivers 60 UpShot Bionic Knee Braces to Help Canadian Soldiers Optimize Performance and Avoid Injury

here. HALIFAX, NS – July 13, 2016 – Spring Loaded Technology announces that it has completed its initial delivery of 60 UpShot™ bionic knee braces to the Department of National Defence as part of its $1M (CAD) contract awarded under the Build in Canada Innovation Program with the Canadian Army as the testing department. Powerful enough to help lift more than 100 pounds of body weight when worn on both knees, the military-grade braces use a liquid spring technology that absorbs shock and reduces impact on soldiers’ knees. Upon full completion of its contract, Spring Loaded Technology will have provided a total of 190 knee braces to the Canadian military for field testing. Field testing of the UpShot™ Knee Braces will be supervised by Major Edward Jun from the Directorate of Land Requirement. Major Jun and his team will put the knee braces through rigorous testing to demonstrate UpShot’s™ integration with soldiers’ gear. “Spring Loaded Technology’s UpShot™ promises to reduce muscle fatigue, enhance strength and performance, and protect against knee injuries—all of which are of great benefit to soldiers required to handle heavy lifting and rugged terrain. Modern militaries around the world are facing similar human factors challenges, in that we’re asking soldiers to carry more equipment in order to achieve greater capabilities during missions. At the same time, technological advances with respect to material sciences has plateaued in reducing the weight of soldier equipment such as helmets, body armour and small arms. Trialing a state-of-the art knee brace technology will help us close the gap between the soldiers’ effectiveness on the battlefield and their ability to bear heavy loads with their own strength,” said Major Jun. “We’re looking forward to testing how it performs in field conditions, and training areas across the country.” Spring Loaded Technology has also created a commercial version of the military-grade UpShot™, the Levitation™ Knee Brace. Unlike other braces on the market, the Levitation™ Knee Brace improves strength, mobility and endurance by storing energy as the leg bends and returning that energy as the leg straightens. Currently available for pre-order on the Spring Loaded Technology website ($2,380 CAD), shipping to consumers will begin in September 2016. “While UpShot™ is built to withstand extreme military impact and expedite rehabilitation for injured soldiers, the Levitation™ knee brace will help consumers utilize similar technology in their own day-to-day lives,” said Chris Cowper-Smith, CEO of Spring Loaded Technology. “With power-output similar to that found in $100,000 powered exoskeletons, it’s the first knee brace of its kind that can help average people crouch, walk or jump free from pain.” To learn more about Spring Loaded Technology, visit About Spring Loaded Technology Spring Loaded Technology is an award-winning company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which designed an entirely new knee bracing technology to enhance the strength and power of the leg muscles. By increasing leg strength, their technology can be used in a wide range of applications including: mobility assistance, fatigue reduction, injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, and performance enhancement. The company was founded in 2012. About Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) The Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) aims to make Canadian suppliers more competitive and increase their contribution to the economy.  This program funds the acquisition of new, innovative products and services for testing by matched government departments in real-world environments. Innovations are evaluated and become pre-qualified for potential contracts through a competitive Call for Proposals process. Media Contact Melissa Landy Uproar PR for Spring Loaded Technology 321-236-0102 x233]]>

News Release: PopRx partners with innoviCares to help patients access medications with fewer barriers

here PopRx, the Canadian leader in mobile pharmacy applications, has partnered with STI Technologies Limited’s innoviCares program to offer Canadians a comprehensive mobile solution to their healthcare needs. PopRx, the Canadian on-demand pharmacy app that connects you to a local independent pharmacist to manage, order and deliver your medication, has taken significant strides in reducing prescription medication costs to Canadians and Canadian employers by partnering with innoviCares to ensure that patients across the country are able to save money on the prescription medications their physician has prescribed. InnoviCares is a free prescription savings card that helps Canadian patients save money on select prescription medications at pharmacy. Funded by participating pharmaceutical manufacturers, innoviCares works like any insurance card to provide savings at the point of purchase at pharmacy. It also delivers electronic tools to help users manage their healthcare through refill reminders, medication tracking and more. “We are lucky to be a health tech company in Canada, where we can connect with other Canadian health partners, like innoviCares, who share our vision for reducing costs and increasing access to vital medication for all Canadians,” says Dr. Ali Esmail, CEO of PopRx. “InnoviCares is a great product, and many of our customers, and Canadians everywhere, had no idea that services like this existed, which is why we have integrated it into our PopRx app. We see this as a huge step forward for access to affordable medication that people need across the country.” Through the partnership, PopRx and innoviCares ensure Canadians are able to receive the prescription medications prescribed by a physician with fewer barriers, including a reduction in cost and access to a pharmacy. When a patient fills or refills a prescription with PopRx, they can use their innoviCares card to save money, live-chat with a pharmacist if needed, and take advantage of free, same-day delivery in major markets across the country. “Partnering with PopRx was a natural fit for us,” Dave Morton, EVP of STI Technologies, said. “Integration with the PopRx mobile app is just another way we can help patients gain access to medications of their choosing, based on their physician’s advice.” The PopRx app is available online on both Apple iOS and Android on both the App Store and Play Store. Simply download PopRx for free and create an account to benefit from both PopRx and the innoviCares card today. PopRx is currently available in the following cities:

  • Toronto
  • Calgary
  • Brampton
  • Vancouver
  • Winnipeg
  • Hamilton
  • Oshawa
  • Kitchener
  • Ajax
  • Guelph
  • Waterloo
  • Lethbridge