L-Spark, an Ottawa-based accelerator, teamed up with several partners this year including Telus and Blackberry to launch a new national accelerator for medical technologies. Last week, they announced the eight members of the first cohort, including Dispension.
Based in Dartmouth, Dispension manufactures dispensing machines that allow authorities to distribute opioids to registered users in a controlled manner, with the aim of preventing overdoses. Its MySafe kiosks use touchless palm scanners to identify pre-approved users, who are limited to one dose of the substance per day.
“Being selected to participate in the prestigious L-Spark MedTech Accelerator is validation of our commitment to using advanced, contactless technology to solve real-world problems,” said Dispension Founder and CEO Corey Yantha in an email. “With enhanced remote capabilities, and disruptive scalability potential, our data-driven platform will allow us to shape the way restricted products are distributed and accessed in an unattended way.”
Last year, Dispension piloted its first kiosk in Vancouver in partnership with the non-profit MySafe Society, and in eight months it dispensed close to 4,000 doses of medication, primarily a form of synthetic heroin called hydromorphone. In August, the company secured a $500,000 loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Yantha said the acceptance into the MedTech Accelerator is a “huge opportunity” for Dispension, and coming at a key time for the company.
“Along with our participation in the accelerator, we have mass global deployments in the pipeline for 2021, and we’re busy establishing our own 20,400-square-foot innovation hub in Downtown Dartmouth, the Dispension Technology Centre,” he said.
The centre will be a hub for researching and developing automated delivery systems for specific markets, he said. The company will also conduct R&D into building ancillary Internet of Things, or IoT, devices that will make its kiosks more secure and/or functional for the needs and challenges of each market.
Attending the accelerator will allow Dispension to work with major partners to enhance the kiosks with 5G connectivity and improved data security. Its goal is to transform the delivery of healthcare and pharmacy services to people in underserved and remote communities across Canada and around the world.
“Dispension is proud to work alongside communications giants Telus and Blackberry to design and deploy technology of the future,” said Chief Operating Officer Matt Michaelis. “We are looking forward to delivering speed, confidence and security to our growing global market pursuits.”
L-Spark, Telus and their partners created the accelerator to provide support for Canadian companies developing connected medical devices, which are medical devices that use IoT technology. L-Spark says the global Internet of Medical Things market was worth US$24.4 billion in 2019 and is estimated to grow to US$285.5 billion by 2029, at a compounded annual growth rate of 28 percent.
"We are thrilled to have Dispension among the first group of companies in the Telus L-Spark MedTech Accelerator program,” said L-Spark Executive Managing Director Leo Lax. “Their product addresses a critical need, and Dispension is in an ideal position to leverage the technology platform and other resources available through the program.”