Biotech program to include Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington startups


Published June 14, 2023 at 3:26 pm

Oakville's Kraken Sense is one of eight startups in the health, food and agriculture and clean-tech sectors who are the first round of recipients for Ontario Genomics’ BioCreate program. KRAKEN SENSE PHOTO

Startups in Oakville, Hamilton and Burlington have been selected to take part in a government funded BioCreate program.

Ontario Genomics, a research organization funded by the provincial and federal governments, is giving Kraken Sense of Oakville, AIMA Laboratories of Hamilton and Index Biosystems of Burlington along with five other companies in the health, food, agriculture and clean-tech sectors $150,000 each to help move the province’s biotechnology scene forward.

The eight recipients will have to match the funding with a $100,000 minimum contribution. Along with receiving the financial contribution, the companies will also go through 18 months of mentorship and gain access to infrastructure for their technology and business development.

The startups taking part in this cohort are developing genomics technologies for a variety of industries, ranging from healthtech to foodtech, agtech and cleantech.

“Genomics is a branch of biotechnology concerned with applying the techniques of genetics and molecular biology to the genetic mapping, sequencing, and data analysis of complete sets of genes,” read a description of the program on its website.

Oakville’s Kraken Sense is developing technology that aims to sample any water source to identify bacteria and viruses in real-time.

“As our world gets increasingly connected, populous, and prosperous, food and water resources will come under greater strain,” the local startup said on its website. “Consequently, maintaining safe and secure sources free from bacterial contamination will become even more crucial.

“We developed our pathogen detection devices to ensure the world can thrive without the threat of waterborne pathogens contaminating our basic food and water resources.”

AIMA Laboratories focuses on women’s health and providing unique solutions to diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. The Hamilton company is developing what will be the first, non-invasive diagnostic tool for endometriosis on the market.

Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue similar to lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, causing pain and making it harder to get pregnant.

Index Biosystems is “creating the world’s most cared for food supply.” The Burlington startup is defining a new category of traceability using baker’s yeast to create agricultural supply chains that are measurable, verifiable and sustainable.

Other first-round recipients taking part in the BioCreate program include Ceragen (Kitchener), BioFect Innovations (Toronto), Genecis (Toronto), Liven Proteins (Toronto) and Performance Plants (Kingston).

The eight startups will also work with one or more BioCreate partners and Ontario Genomics’ BioCreate team to develop a pitch deck to present at the investor showcase at the end of the program.

Ontario Genomics launched the BioCreate program in October 2022 with an $11.6-million budget. The program is funded in part by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

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