Companies to Follow in Canada: Healthcare response to COVID-19 crisis

09 April 2020 - 06:43 pm UTC

by Izaz Ansari

This is a list of companies to follow in the Canada healthcare sector and their response to the COVID-19 crisis. They are compiled from company announcements, original reporting and local press reports.

 

  • AI-based Drug-discovery platform Cyclica partners with Chinese firm to find a COVID-19 medicine
  • Virtual healthcare platform Dialogue plans to launch a virtual assistant for COVID-19 related updates
  • DNAstack introduces a platform for sharing COVID-19 genetics updates by scientists
  • Empower Health launches a platform to provide latest COVID-19 updates
  • Virtual care platform Maple offers screening for people with signs of COVID-19
  • MindBeacon launches platform to fight mental stress on COVID-19
  • Structura Biotechnology platform helps in imaging COVID-19
  • Thornhill Medical ramps up ventilator production to fight COVID-19 
 

 

AI-based Drug-discovery platform Cyclica partners with Chinese firm to find a COVID-19 medicine

 

The Toronto-based drug discovery software developer Cyclica’s CEO and President Naheed Kurji has said that their team is working on finding a medicine for COVID-19 by repurposing existing drugs, per a MaRS report. Cyclica has partnered with Beijing-based Institute of Materia Medica to find a drug. The process of finding a new drug may take around 12 to 18 months. The company’s cloud-based platform, Ligand Express, searches drug databases to search proteins that could be effective against COVID-19. The platform aims to help pharma companies assess and predict the safety and usefulness of drugs. Founded in 2013, Cyclica has raised a total of USD 7m in funding. 

 

Virtual healthcare platform Dialogue plans to launch a virtual assistant for COVID-19-related updates

 

Dialogue Technologies, a Montreal, Quebec-based virtual healthcare platform, is launching Chloe, a free virtual automated assistant for Canadians to access the latest COVID-19 related information, per a betakit report. The platform has a set of questions to be answered, such as user location, travel history, and pre-existing conditions, which will help in identifying if the user could be linked to COVID-19 or not. The platform will also provide local health public units contact information and prevention tips. Founded in 2016, Cherif Habib is the CEO of Dialogue.

 

DNAstack introduces a platform for sharing COVID-19 genetics updates by scientists

 

DNAstack is a Toronto-based developer of a cloud-based platform for genomics and biomedical data analysis and sharing. On 20 March, DNAstack announced that it launched a platform, Beacon, for COVID-19’s genetic research. This platform aims to help global medical researchers share and discover real-time knowledge about the genetics of the virus. Founded in 2014, Marc Fiume is the CEO of DNAstack. Beacon is compliant with the Beacon API, a protocol developed by the Global Alliance for Genomic and Health.

 

Empower Health launches a platform to provide latest COVID-19 updates

 

Toronto-based Empower Health is an app developer that assists patients to book appointments with doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers. The company has launched a COVID-19 resource platform that provides regular updates and information from local, provincial and federal healthcare organizations. The platform has an interactive map that displays number of active cases in a particular region. Empower Health was founded in 2012 by Ryan Doherty.

 

Virtual care platform Maple offers screening for people with signs of COVID-19

 

Maple is a Toronto-based virtual clinic platform provider to the Canadian residents. On 16 March betakit reported, the company is offering online COVID-19 screenings that will be covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). People with an OHIP card can use the platform to talk to a physician through audio or video chat about their symptoms, after which they can decide whether they need any emergency care. Dr. Brett Belchetz is the CEO and co-founder of Maple. Founded in 2015, the company has raised a total of USD 14.9m in funding.

 

MindBeacon launches platform to fight mental stress on COVID-19

 

MindBeacon is a Toronto-based operator of a digital mental health treatment platform. MindBeacon operates two platfroms, BEACON and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The company announced on 18 March that it has launched Health Anxiety Treatment Program for COVID-19. The platform will provide free advice on how to handle stress and anxiety associated with the health issues including the virus. This will also allow users to access the company’s platform BEACON. Founded in 2016, the company has raised a total of USD 33.7m in funding. Sam Duboc is the CEO.

 

Structura Biotechnology platform helps in imaging COVID-19

 

Toronto-based Structura Biotechnology is a developer of machine learning (ML) algorithms and scientific software for biology research and drug discovery that has played a role in a breakthrough discovery in searching for a vaccine for COVID-19, betakit reported. The platform, cryoSPARC, relies on a technique of crypto-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to help scientists obtain high-resolution pictures of proteins. Researchers working on finding an image of COVID-19 spike protein claimed they created the first 3D, atomic scale map of the virus, which infects human cells. The researchers are using cryoSPARC to process data and obtain accurate 3D images of the spike in real time. Founded in 2016, Ali Punjani is the co-founder and CEO of Structura Technology.

 

Thornhill Medical ramps up ventilator production to fight COVID-19

 

Thornhill Medical is a Toronto-based developer of mobile emergency respiration and anesthesia devices. The company announced that it has received a letter of intent from the Canadian federal government to ramp up production of MOVES SLC, its portable life support and ventilator unit. The device will help hospitals to tackle the COVID-19 situation in the country. The company was founded in 2004. Lesley Gouldie serves as the CEO and president.