BURST funds offer boost to medical startups

From left, Ibrahim Marwa, MPH’16; Souzan Armstrong, Director of the Medical Innovation Fellowship; Bartosz Slak; Maryanne Siu; Mahmoud Ramin; and Jacob Reeves, PhD’18. The 2018-19 cohort of Western Medical Innovation Fellows received two BURST funds valued at $70,000 each to fund their new medical device startups.

A pair of fledgling London-based medical startups are prepared to further test the viability of their ideas in the marketplace, all in an effort to improve patient outcomes across the country, following their graduation from the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship.

The Medical Innovation Fellowship is a nearly yearlong program that immerses young scientists, engineers and clinicians in training and research environments to create novel medical technologies. As part of the program, fellows consult with clinicians across the local health-care industry and developed two projects to address needs discovered throughout the process.

For the 2018-19 Western Medical Innovation Fellows, those projects are:

  • ONPoint Medical. Focused on providing solutions for balance assessment to facilitate diagnosis and treatment of foot, ankle and knee injuries. The company growth plan is to create a pipeline of software and hardware products to address unmet needs in body movement and reach assessments.
  • Tune-Out Medical. Focused on helping ophthalmologists and patients undergoing eye surgery by providing a way to mask ocular sensation in order to prevent reflexive movements that can lead to surgical complications.

These two projects are being spun-off into two London-based startups thanks to the support of BURST, an incubation program for high-potential medical-technology startups through the TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario. Each project received an award valued at $70,000 to help incorporate the businesses, develop prototypes and further develop the technologies for market.

“Being awarded these funds helps the fellows pave the next phase of their entrepreneurial path post-fellowship program,” said Souzan Armstrong, Director for the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship.

BURST will provide mentoring to the fellows on market validation, company structure, intellectual property and investor readiness.

Over the next 12 months of the BURST program, the fellows – now co-founders – will work closely with experts to improve their business models. They will continue to receive guidance from mentors throughout the program and will be expected to meet certain milestones.

Upon graduation from BURST, the founders will showcase their technology to investors and industry representatives.