Sept. 28, 2023

UCalgary is Canada’s No. 1 research startup creator for 3rd year running

2022 rankings from Association of University Technology Managers put us on top again
Geoff Frost, former Life Sciences Fellow, demonstrates Raft Digital Therapeutics’ Cloud Bazaar.
Geoff Frost demonstrates Raft Digital Therapeutics’ Cloud Bazaar, a therapeutic game designed for players with paediatric spinal muscular atrophy. Adrian Shellard, for the University of Calgary

The Association of University Technology Manager’s (AUTM) 2022 Canadian Licensing Activity Survey has ranked the University of Calgary as the top startup creator out of 32 Canadian academic and non-profit research institutions for the third year in a row.

The 2022 survey invited over 60 Canadian institutions, including universities and colleges, hospitals and research institutions, national laboratories, and third-party technology investment firms to participate. Through Innovate Calgary, the university’s technology transfer office, 16 startups from across five faculties were created in the 2021/2022 fiscal year.

“This is an exciting achievement for UCalgary to be the leader in research startup creation for three years in a row,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). “Our innovators continue to seize the opportunity to pursue the startup journey, delivering impact to our communities, and enhancing our reputation on a national scale.”

Chad Bousman of Sequence2Script

Chad Bousman used various UCalgary Innovation ecosystem supports for his startup journey with Sequence2Script, including e2i, Academic Entrepreneurs in Residence, and SPARK Alberta.

Cody Coates, University of Calgary

Many of the startups registered in 2022 survey utilized resources from the UCalgary innovation ecosystem.

The e2i: Evolve to Innovate program was the first step for Faculty of Science postdoc, Dr. Ali Pormohammad, PhD, and Dr. Chad Bousman, PhD, associate professor, Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). Pormohammad’s biotechnology company, MHCombiotic, is developing safe antibacterial agents with a low chance of future antimicrobial resistance. Bousman’s cloud-based software tool, Sequence2Script, helps clinical laboratories and health-care professionals translate pharmacogenetic test results into evidence-based prescribing recommendations.

After completing the e2i program, both company’s founders went on to receive mentorship support from the Academic Entrepreneurs in Residence program.

Innovate Calgary’s Life Sciences Fellowship supported four CSM startups: Raft Digital Therapeutics, a virtual platform for at-home therapeutic exercise; Smart Biomedical, a medical device to facilitate chest tube insertion to treat collapsed lungs; Retinalogik, a portable vision-screening technology to deliver eye exams; and, an advanced movement technology to improve stroke outcomes. and Sequence2Script were also teams with SPARK Alberta, which supports the advancement of digital health innovations into clinical practice. Retinalogik is a venture graduate of the Creative Destruction Lab - Rockies at the Haskayne School of Business.

Fledge, a gamified platform that teaches young children the foundational skills necessary to build mindfulness and emotional competency, uses research from the Faculty of Social Work. Fledge received investment through the UCeed Social Impact fund.

Other research-based startups in the list include FermaFarms from a Bachelor of Science alum, TestPredikt from the Werklund School of Education, and Tossa Sustainability Services from the Schulich School of Engineering.

The 2022 AUTM survey highlights the value of startups developed at Canadian universities contributing to their local and regional economies. Ninety per cent of the 875 startups reported in the 2022 data are in the province where their intellectual property was developed, helping Canadians benefit from economic and social impacts of university technologies.

UCalgary is a leading destination for researchers to take action and move ideas toward implementation and community impact. The Innovation@UCalgary ecosystem supports these efforts through a culture of entrepreneurial thinking and determination.

Innovate Calgary is the innovation transfer and business incubator centre for the University of Calgary. As part of the Office of the Vice-President (Research) portfolio, and as a member of the UCalgary innovation ecosystem, we work closely with researchers, faculty, and students to help bridge the gap between discovery and creating economic and societal impact.

Chad Bousman is an associate professor in the departments of Medical Genetics, Psychiatry, Physiology and Pharmacology, and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). He is a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Owerko Centre, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research at the CSM.

Sign up for UToday

Sign up for UToday

Delivered to your inbox — a daily roundup of news and events from across the University of Calgary's 14 faculties and dozens of units

Thank you for your submission.