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Healthcare Startups In Brain Disorders And SCI Showcase Their Innovations

Commercialization pitch competition hosted in Toronto to advance health technologies


November 27, Toronto ON – Entrepreneurs showcased their brain disorder or spinal cord injury (SCI)-focused innovations at the Innovate SCI + Neurotech pitch event hosted by independent wealth management firm, Gluskin Sheff, in partnership with Praxis Spinal Cord Institute and Ontario Brain Institute (OBI).

Eight shortlisted startups that develop SCI or brain disorder technologies showcased their businesses to a panel of corporate and scientific experts.

The winning company Trexo Robotics, was awarded first prize to support the continued development of their wearable robotic exoskeleton to help children with disabilities experience over-ground walking in clinic and home.

This event comes off the heels of an announcement in May 2019 between OBI and Praxis to join forces to accelerate research in brain disorders and SCI. Events such as this pitch competition emphasize the importance of supporting healthcare businesses who develop products to improve the quality of life of Canadians who are impacted by these devastating conditions.

Their collective reach also has applications to a vast array of other health conditions and chronic diseases, making these technologies relevant to millions of people in Canada and around the world.

Pictured left: Praxis CEO, Bill Barrable; Winner of the Innovate SCI + Neurotech competition, Trexo CEO, Manmeet Maggu; OBI CEO, Tom Mikkelsen.

“Ensuring new technologies or knowledge is translated into the real-world setting is often beset with obstacles. By working with partners such as OBI and Gluskin Sheff, it allows us to combine our expertise and resources to support the most promising healthcare entrepreneurs working on technologies that have real potential to improve the health of people living with SCI or brain disorders.”

– Bill Barrable, CEO, Praxis Spinal Cord Institute.


Meet the Startups:

  • Trexo Robotics develops a wearable robotic exoskeleton to help children with disabilities and walking impairments to experience over-ground walking in clinic and home.
  • A-Line Orthopaedics is developing safer, faster and less invasive implants for minimally invasive spine surgery that improves patient outcomes and surgeon confidence.
  • Cathbuddy is a reusable urinary catheterization system that’s safe, affordable, and sustainable.
  • Epineuron is building the world’s first electroceutical device engineer to supercharge the nerve and accelerate regeneration. Our technology delivers electrical stimulation that boosts the nerves natural biochemical process to heal and repair itself when injured.
  • Pearl Interactives product portfolio includes the award-winning, evidence-based innovations in interactive media designed for children of all abilities. Botley’s Bootle Blast is a mixed reality video game focused to augment and substitute repetitive therapy exercises in clinics and homes for children with SCI. Pearl Interactives is based out of Holland Bloorview’s Pearl Labs.
  • Rehabtronics has a suite of products in the rehabilitation space including their Intermittent Electrical Stimulation technology for to reduce pressure injury for those with mobility and sensation deficits.
  • Stabilo has developed a smart vest that allows stroke patients to exercise safely and properly in the absence of a therapist to improve the rate and level of recovery.
  • Tecla out of Komodo labs has developed an accessible home device focused on creating access to smart technology for people with mobility and disabilities, including individuals with SCI. This product focuses on agnostic integrations with wireless, portable, wheelchair, app and smart home app integrations.

Meet the Judges:

  • Ricky Mehra is a scientist, futurist and entrepreneur from Toronto, Canada. He had a successful exit from a big-data predictive analytics healthtech company and has spent 14+ years servicing intelligence globally to F500 Medical Device and Pharmaceutical companies. He has shifted gears and is now focusing on early stage Venture Capital in the human longevity and healthtech space. Ricky currently sits in advisory/investor roles for multiple startups in the following spaces: Machine-vision diagnostic AI, quantum-ready consultancy, Intelligible AI for protein-folding, sensor technology for industrial and medical robots, MEMS eye and gesture tracking and more. Ricky serves as an associate and mentor at the CDL, a judge and mentor for the Ontario Brain Institutes (OBI) early stage neurotech startups. Ricky also volunteers time with The Knowledge Society where he has an active mentoring role for gifted teens with a focus on the future of health.
  • Nava Swersky Sofer is a frequently-invited speaker in leading international forums on innovation, entrepreneurship, venture capital and technology transfer with over 25 years of international experience living and working in three continents. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Ruppin Academic Centre and a mentor at the IBM Alfa Zone accelerator (Israel) and the Nanjing Microsoft Incubator (China). Most recently she was the founding Managing Director of IDC Beyond, IDC Herzliya’s presidential program to create innovative ventures that apply exponential technologies to solve 21st century global challenges. In addition, she is President & Chairperson of the Toronto-based International Commercialization Alliance, Founder of NanoIsrael, the international nanotechnology conference & exhibition, an adviser to the Israeli government on innovation and international R&D collaborations and an adviser to the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on innovation.
  • Marco Ferrara is the founder of Universal Motion, an organization dedicated to providing viable and thorough solutions to those with mobility problems. His organization offers an extensive variety of conversions and products to make transportation easier for physically challenged individuals, infirm senior citizens and family members. His organization is known for providing innovative solutions to institutions and commercial transportation companies.
  • Fred Rego is the Director of Commercialization at Praxis Spinal Cord Institute responsible for bringing market innovations that improves the lives of people with spinal cord injuries. Fred has been a serial entrepreneur for most his career and has co-founded 10 startups including VanHack, AeroTrack, Start-IDP and AeroInfo Systems which he sold to The Boeing Company and operates under the name of Boeing Vancouver. With over 20 years of experience leading organizations, Fred is an expert in growing companies from concept to exit. He is also an investor, advisor, speaker and member of several boards. He is a frequent guest speaker about entrepreneurship and a dedicated mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs.


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