The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) boasts a healthy portfolio of 56 companies that we support as part of our strategic mandate to bring neurotech to market and establish Ontario as a world leader in brain research, commercialization, and care. We do this through the ONtrepreneurs (Ontario Neurotech Entrepreneur) and NERD (Neurotech Early Research & Development) programs, which uniquely focus on brain-related startups.
Our integrated commercialization strategy is connected to a network of researchers, clinicians, and patient advocacy groups, in addition to funders and investors. This reflects OBI’s overall strategy in building convergent partnerships to ensure that technologies are validated and can improve people’s quality of life. One example is GaitTronics Inc. from Ottawa, Ontario. Through support from both ONtrepreneurs and NERD programs, they tested their robotic assistive device in children with cerebral palsy through our CP-NET research network. The neurological charity, ThreeToBe, has since purchased a unit and placed it in the Abilities Centre for people of all abilities to enjoy.
Since 2012, 34 ONtrepreneurs have benefited from the $50,000 award including mentorship, business training and they are a part of OBI’s integrated network. NERD funds product development to help bridge the funding gap to private capital by de-risking investments. The companies in these programs combined are averaging an eight-fold return on OBI’s investment. In a recent impact survey of our portfolio companies, 95% of respondents indicated that we helped to improve their ability to access capital and 100% of respondents experienced improved knowledge or access to business, research and healthcare information. Such successes are gaining attention and attracting companies to move to Ontario to join the rapidly growing neurotech cluster ecosystem, NeuroTech Ontario.
During BIO 2017 in San Diego, OBI will announce ten new ONtrepreneurs, introducing a new wave of entrepreneurial talent and innovative neurotech.
Ricky Chan is a member of the Industry Relations team at the Ontario Brain Institute and leads the NeuroTech Ontario Cluster initiative.
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