Alberta government funds four COVID-19 vaccine proposals
Alberta will provide $81.2 million to fund four proposals for vaccine development and manufacturing. The University of Alberta will receive up to $55.1 million, Entos Pharmaceuticals will receive $15.5 million, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation will receive $5.6 million, and Northern RNA will receive $5 million. U of A president Bill Flanagan called the investment “visionary and game-changing.”
Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, said in a release that “the COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important it is to have the capacity to develop and manufacture vaccines at home. These investments will help build not just vaccines but also an industry that will protect and benefit Albertans for years to come. This sector provides a significant number of high-quality, high-paying jobs and supports other sectors in Alberta, including agriculture, manufacturing, petrochemicals and research.”
Funding & Support for Entrepreneurship
- As deals continue to be finalized, the amount raised at Startup TNT‘s Investment Summit IV has risen to more than $1.2 million. More than $480,000 of that went toward Edmonton startups.
- Edmonton has been listed as an ecosystem to watch on the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2021 Life Sciences Edition from Startup Genome. “With its educated population, high quality of life, and low cost of living, Edmonton is a magnet both to young tech talent and startups eager to hire them,” the report says. Low taxes and access to affordable tech talent were also cited as two reasons why a startup should move to Edmonton.
- Personal injury claim app PainWorth was named a finalist for the Alberta Central Big Future Innovation Grant 2021, giving it a shot at $25,000.
- Through his venture studio Harvest Builders, SkipTheDishes co-founder Chris Simair recently launched Harvest Venture Partners, an investment fund to support prairie tech startups. “We believe the time is now to build Western Canada…into a centre of the tech ecosystem,” fund partner Alex Gold told BetaKit.
- Llearner is a startup that offers a new way to keep track of and share your books, podcasts, courses, training, and more. “There’s this really great opportunity to create, to discover, and to share what we’re learning with each other,” said co-founder Gregg Oldring.
- Trust Science has launched Credit Bureau 2.0, a platform aimed at “letting lenders approve more borrowers and helping borrowers access more credit by changing the way scores are generated.” The company said its technology “relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to leverage unstructured data.”
- Bitcoin Well said in its third quarter financial results that it now operates 200 bitcoin ATMs in Canada. The company also outlined three strategic pillars: non-custodial financial services, technology development, and education.
CleanTech & Climate Emergency
- University of Alberta spinoff company Quantum Silicon Inc. is working to manufacture atom-scale circuits that are faster and use less energy than current technology. “This technology has the potential to reduce energy consumption by 100 to 1,000 times,” said Robert Wolkow, the company’s chief technical officer. “I see this as the ultimate green technology.”
- Foresight Canada included 20 Alberta-based companies on its list of 50 of the most investable cleantech ventures in the country. Making the list from Edmonton were G2V Optics, 2S Water, and Future Fields.
- Capital Powerand Enbridge have signed an MOU to collaborate on carbon capture and storage solutions in the Wabamun area near the Genesee Generating Station. Enbridge will serve as the transportation and storage service provider while Capital Power will provide the CO2.
- A new report from the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) anticipates that employment in Alberta’s digital economy will reach 203,000 by 2025 but cautions that making the most of the opportunity will depend upon properly utilizing skilled newcomers.
- Opposition NDP leader Rachel Notley said recently that if elected her party would spend $520 million to provide every Albertan access to high-speed internet within four years. “Affordable high-speed internet has surpassed its designation as a ‘nice-to-have’ – it is without question an essential service,” she said. “We cannot allow the digital divide to grow into a digital canyon.”
- Sturgeon County finalized a contract with Canadian Fiber Optics for the development and operation of its $7.3 million broadband project. Construction is expected to start in the spring, with service starting in summer 2022.
Food Security & AgTech
- Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) has invested in Calgary feed technology company CBS Bio Platforms to fund the latter’s research into enhanced and sustainable livestock feed. The research “will broaden the toolbox of beneficial and affordable plant protein sources, diversify the options for alternatives to antimicrobial use and help meet the new market legislation and consumer preferences.”
- The Organic Box and the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op have partnered to launch the Khair for All food box, offering discounted produce targeting families facing food insecurity.
- The Bee Community, created by Edmonton-based beekeeper and master gardener Dustin Bajer, is a “space that supports small-scale and backyard beekeepers with classes and networking opportunities to manage honeybees using techniques that align with nature.”
- AltaML has partnered with health-care technology company PROTXX to improve the precision of concussion diagnostics. The company’s machine learning systems interpret data from a phybrata sensor developed by PROTXX to provide a more precise diagnosis than previous approaches. AltaML said the same technology could be applied to other neurophysiological conditions in the future, such as Parkinson’s disease.
- Visionstate said its IoT solutions can help support frontline cleaning staff and facility managers in the fight against COVID-19, and plans to launch a new website next year to better reflect the role it plays.
- Ceapro is receiving up to $480,000 from NRC IRAP to support a project centered around the company’s pressurized gas expanded (PGX) technology that can be used to process biopolymers into active pharmaceutical ingredients like yeast beta glucan.
- The University of Alberta is receiving close to $27 million from the provincial government to support 11 new research projects, developing potential treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS, as well as new health diagnostic tools. Funding will also go towards investigating the impact of prescription drugs on the long-term health of mothers and their children.
- The Community Safety & Wellness Accelerator, a partnership between AlchemistX and the Edmonton Police Foundation funded by Alberta Innovates, aims to foster opportunities for technology innovation focused on solving social challenges. The no-cost 12-week program will start in January 2022. Applications for the first cohort close on Dec. 6.
- GoodMorning.com has announced a national partnership with Habitat for Humanity Canada that will see it donate over $200,000 in mattresses to Habitat ReStore locations across the country over the next two years.
Arts & Culture
- Ida Beltran-Lucila was recognized by the Canadian Immigrant Awards top 25 list of 2021 for her contributions to the promotion of Philippine art and culture in Edmonton.
Bits & Pieces
- RUNWITHIT Synthetics has won the gold medal in MobileHeroes’ Connectivity Innovation Award in Taiwan. The award, which is Taiwan’s longest-running tech contest, was created to promote innovation and industrial growth in the country.
- The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) is hiring an executive assistant. Apply here.
- Innovate Edmonton announced their innoversary campaign to celebrate one year of the organization and the successes of Edmonton’s innovation community.
- The City of Edmonton has partnered with Innovate Edmonton to provide funding for the Edmonton Accelerates Program. “This investment is part of the city’s bold Economic Action Plan to create more jobs and businesses and to attract more investment,” tweeted Coun. Keren Tang.
- AltaML co-CEO and Innovate Edmonton board member Nicole Janssen has been appointed as a member of the Mitacs board of directors.
- Unbelts founder Claire Theaker-Brown, member of the Innovation Growth Council, said her business is facing an uncertain holiday season due to supply change delays. Her company is working with two other small businesses to host a pop-up shop until Dec. 18. “We’ve all banded together and we’re all inviting our friends, our family, our customers and hopefully we can support each other’s businesses,” she said.
- The fourth Propel Showcase, taking place Dec. 9, will feature a new group of up-and-coming businesses that have gone through Startup Edmonton’s 12-week pre-accelerator program: TalkMaze, [Re]Waste, Arbington, The Public Food Hub Co., Lenica Research Group, Elev, Buoyancy Works, unTribe, Revon Tech, and Elementiam. The program helps entrepreneurs to solidify business foundations, prepare to apply for accelerators, secure investment, and increase revenue.