This is the breadcrumbs block. Breadcrumb will populate on actual page.

Announcing the SCI Incubate 2020 Cohort

We are pleased to announce these five transformative technologies following a worldwide call for innovations.

Meet the inaugural cohort of Praxis SCI Incubate, a six month program geared towards pre-prototype projects with an innovation to transform the lives of people living with spinal cord injury (SCI). Our cohort, encompassing companies across the key SCI focus areas for Praxis Spinal Cord Institute, includes transformative technologies with demonstrated application to impact SCI outcomes (including SCI cure and quality of life for people with SCI).

These companies have been carefully selected by an expert panel of SCI consumers, researchers, commercial leaders in healthcare — as addressing key gaps in care for people with SCI, but also with a potential to transform healthcare outcomes for the broader community.

→ Download the 2020 Cohort one-pager

AXONIS Therapeutics, Inc. is a Boston-based biotechnology company committed to developing groundbreaking therapies for spinal cord injury, neuropathic pain, and other incurable neurological disorders. Through tissue reactivation and neuron regeneration, AXONIS is focused on restoring movement in paralyzed patients after spinal cord injury to make a real difference for patients, their families, and the global healthcare system.

Read their storyJoanna Stanicka, PhD, CEO & Co-Founder, talks about restoring movement in paralyzed patients after spinal cord injury (SCI) through tissue reactivation and neuron regeneration.

Visit their website

Joanna Stanicka, PhD
Dr. Stanicka was a research fellow in Professor Zhigang He’s laboratory at the Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, which discovered PTEN-deletion induced regeneration after optic nerve and spinal cord injury. More recently, this lab also found that KCC2 can restore stepping ability in mice after a spinal cord injury.

In the last six months under Joanna’s leadership, AXONIS received state and federal non-dilutive funding, and raised seed investment. She also won a Boehringer Ingelheim Golden Ticket for free lab space at LabCentral, a leading biotech incubator at Kendall Square.

Elevation Products sells a selection of wheelchair accessories and assistive technology products developed at Dr. Borisoff’s applied research lab.

Elevation Products is owned by Instinct Mobility Inc., the company Dr. Borisoff founded to commercialize his Elevation Wheelchair invention 15 years ago. Instinct Mobility Inc. is incorporated under the laws of British Columbia.

Read their story – Dr. Jaimie Borisoff talks about SWIVL™, an innovative technology that helps people with spinal cord injury (SCI) participate in outdoor activities without compromising their indoor mobility.

Visit their website

Jaimie Borisoff, PhD
Dr. Borisoff is the Canada Research Chair in Rehabilitation Engineering Design at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and ICORD. He is also the President of Instinct Mobility Inc. which was started in 2006 in order to commercialize a wheelchair design invented by Dr. Borisoff. The Elevation™ Wheelchair is an ultra-lightweight everyday wheelchair designed for active independent individuals with mobility impairments that uniquely offers on-the-fly (or real-time) seat and backrest adjustments. The Elevation wheelchair is currently manufactured, marketed, and distributed by PDG Mobility under a licensing agreement.

Dr. Borisoff has a degree in Engineering Physics, a PhD in Neuroscience (spinal cord regeneration) and extensive R&D experience in biomedical engineering. Additionally, he has personal knowledge and experience as a wheelchair user for the past 31 years. As well, Jaimie is a two-time Paralympic Gold Medalist and four-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball. All these experiences have led to the accumulation of key relationships throughout the world-wide disability community.


Carrie Linegar
Carrie has extensive experience, knowledge and connections within the disability sport and disability service community where she has served as a sport administrator, board member, coach, volunteer and athlete. As Managing Director of the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society (BCWBS), Carrie was the driving force behind the growth of wheelchair basketball in BC and the strong position BCWBS finds itself in today. Carrie has a degree in Leisure and Sport Management from UBC and a post-graduate education in Therapeutic Recreation. 

Purus Innovations provides highly efficacious coating solutions to prevent the buildup of fouling components on the surface of materials used in medical and industrial applications. Their one-step application process allows for the highly stable coatings to easily be applied to a wide range of surfaces and materials, resulting in a surface with broad-spectrum antifouling and antimicrobial activities and the maintenance of a clean surface for extended periods of time. Given the customizable nature of the coating technologies, the innovative technology is easily adaptable to fit customers’ needs.

Read their story – Dr. Dirk Lange, Co-Founder, Purus Innovations talks about how the company started and its innovative technology to prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).

Dirk Lange, PhD
Dr. Lange is a Microbiologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Urologic Sciences at the University of British Columbia, with expertise in indwelling device-associated infections and their prevention. Dr. Lange’s close collaboration with clinicians in various specialties as well as scientists in numerous disciplines has resulted in the development of a highly recognized translational research program that is key to the development and translation of novel antifouling and antimicrobial coatings into real world applications.

Jayachandran Kizhakkedathu, PhD
Dr. Kizhakkedathu is a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the Centre for Blood Research, the School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of British Columbia, and an expert in biomaterials, blood and biocompatible surfaces. Dr. Kizhakkedathu’s expertise and extensive background in translational research is critical to realizing Purus Innovations vision of infection resistant biomedical devices. Dr. Kizhakkedathu has published over 185 publications and he is an inventor of over 25 patent applications.

Spiderwort is building the framework for the future of regenerative medicine through the development of innovative plant-based biomaterials that promote the repair and regeneration of living tissues, including the spinal cord. Their CelluBridge™ proprietary technology promotes the repair and regeneration of the spinal cord and is the future of regenerative medicine, addressing an unmet medical need by helping patients overcome the devastating consequences of spinal cord injury.

Read their storyDr. Charles M. Cuerrier, CEO & Co-Founder and Dr. Stephen Hanson, MBA, Business Development Director talks about their cellulose scaffolding innovation that promotes regeneration after SCI.

Visit their website

Charles M. Cuerrier, PhD
Dr. Cuerrier oversees the commercialization of Spiderwort’s revolutionary product offerings. Charles is also leading the translation of Spiderwort’s products through the clinical and regulatory landscape. Since the company incorporation in 2015, he has closed two financing rounds with a total investment of $3M USD.

He has led the company through several entrepreneurial programs such as the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) Entrepreneurs program, the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) West-Health stream,  the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization’s Capital Access Advisory Program (OBIO-CAAP) and more recently the Praxis SCI Incubate 2020 Program.

Dr. Cuerrier has a PhD in Pharmacology and postdoctoral training in regenerative medicine. He worked on Spiderwort’s proprietary biomaterials while he was conducting his postdoctoral training at the University of Ottawa. He received many distinctions from the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the Québec government.

Stephen Hanson, PhD, MBA
Dr. Hanson brings knowledge and experience that straddle the areas of science and business. His MBA specializing on the Management of New and Innovative Technologies (MINT) builds on his science training with a PhD in Medical Sciences – Infection and Immunity. A CIHR Science to Business (S2B) fellow, he has worked for biotech companies, Network Centres of Excellence (NCEs) and in academic technology transfer.

He was an integral part of Spiderwort’s progression through the CDL program and the seed round fundraising process and continues to support the development of strategic partnerships.

Starling Medical is developing an AI-enabled, connected urinary prosthesis for individuals with neurogenic bladder dysfunction. The UrinControl System allows people to use the bathroom quickly and safely at the push of a button, replacing the hundreds of monthly intermittent catheters with just a single device. With the Starling Medical app, users can track their bladder pressures throughout the day to make informed decisions about when to use the bathroom, and are notified if they are developing signs of an infection based on changes in their baseline urethral microbiome.

Read their story – CEO, Dr. Alex Arevalos and Director of Product Development Sylvie Kalikoff, MBE, talks about  revolutionizing neurogenic bladder management with an AI and tech-enabled platform.

Visit their website

Alex Arevalos, PhD
Alex is the President and CEO of Starling Medical, and brings 10+ years of experience developing medical devices and seeing them through to commercialization. Beyond leading a diverse array of technical teams, he has direct experience in fundraising, business development, value analysis, operations, and regulatory strategy.

Sylvie Kalikoff, MBE
Sylvie is a Founder and the Director of Product Development at Starling Medical. She interfaces with stakeholders, external partners and customers to ensure that Starling is holistically developing the most appropriate solution for individuals with neurogenic bladder dysfunction while ensuring they meet technical development goals.

Hannah McKenney, MBE
Hannah is a Founder and the Director of Research & Development at Starling Medical. She brings industry experience from leading medical device companies and hospitals such as Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific, and MD Anderson to further develop the UrinControl System.

Drew Hendricks, MBE
Drew is a Founder and the Director of Quality at Starling Medical. He is experienced in developing quality and regulatory strategies for a wide array of medical device start-up companies. He is responsible for ensuring the UrinControl System meets quality and regulatory standards.