On Thursday, three of the seven companies pitching in the Canadian finals of the Entrepreneurship World Cup will be from Atlantic Canada: St.John’s-based PragmaClin Research, and Halifax’s MOC Biotechnologies and Hollo Medical.
The competition is run by the Misk Foundation, a Saudi Arabian non-profit founded by that country’s head of state, Mohammed bin Salman. The World Cup has a $1 million prize pool with $500,000 earmarked for the top startup worldwide.
The Canadian finals will be held virtually from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. ADT, and anyone interested in watching can register here.
The three Atlantic companies -- all medtech businesses -- have been on a collective tear of late, with Hollo and PragmaClin both winning top prizes at the Canadian edition of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in July, and Hollo and MOC among the companies to win the Volta Cohort pitch competition last year.
Hollo, run by CEO David Hodgson, is developing a spacer for use with asthma inhalers that is small enough to fit in a child’s pocket, unlike existing, cumbersome products. In previous public statements, Hodgson said the device will be simpler to manufacture than conventional spacers and the regulatory approval process will be simplified by the fact that the technology’s underlying mechanism is already approved and widely used.
PragmaClin and CEO Bronwyn Bridges, meanwhile, are building solutions to allow for remote medical assessments of people with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
The company is developing PRIMS, the Parkinson's Remote Interactive Monitoring System, which allows patients to stand in front of a camera on a laptop or other device and do the movements the system asks for. The system records the motions and sends the data to a medical professional for assessment.
And MOC co-founders Ali Mousavi and Arash Helmi are working on technology for 3D printing medical implants and other items compatible with human biology, a process called “bioprinting.” The duo, both veteran entrepreneurs, relocated to Nova Scotia from Iran for better access to the lucrative North American medtech markets.