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HomeNewsBusiness WireOBIO® Celebrates International Women’s Day with Investment in Three Women-Led Companies and...

OBIO® Celebrates International Women’s Day with Investment in Three Women-Led Companies and a Successful Graduation of First Seed Funding Cohort

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®) hosted an impactful networking event and pitch competition to celebrate the achievements of women in the health science sector. The event, supported by EY Canada, Cozen O’Connor and Stem Cell Network, featured video remarks by the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), remarks by the Honourable Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, and a fireside chat with Sophie Park, Managing Director of Bayer G4A Investments & Partnerships, and showcased 11 women-led companies from the OBIO® Women in Health Initiative (WiHI) Seed Program.


Launched in July 2022 with Government of Canada’s support through FedDev Ontario, the OBIO® WiHI aims to bridge the gender disparity in the health science industry, particularly in senior management roles and leadership positions. The program offers comprehensive training, support and networking opportunities, empowering women with the skills and knowledge required to excel in leadership positions. The OBIO® WiHI has supported more than 325 women in the health science industry through a combination of experiential learning and financial support.

The WiHI Seed Program addresses the significant barriers that women-led health science companies face in accessing financing. The inaugural program cohort, A.I. VALI, Atorvia Health Technologies, Cove Neurosciences, HDAX Therapeutics, ImaginAble Solutions, mDETECT, MoxyPatch, Noa Therapeutics, Paradox Immunotherapeutics, Tenomix, and Vessl Prosthetics, benefited from six months of advisory support, access to expert networks, essential industry resources and trainings, and non-dilutive funding of up to $20,000.

To mark International Women’s Day, the cohort presented their business opportunities in a pitch competition, culminating with the announcement of HDAX Therapeutics, Paradox Immunotherapeutics and Tenomix Inc. receiving investments of $100,000 each from the OBIO® WiHI. The audience also voted ImaginAble Solutions the recipient of a $15,000 non-dilutive Audience Choice Award.

WiHI Seed cohort companies also made several announcements during the March 8 event, including the successful closing of their first financing rounds for Noa Therapeutics and Tenomix. The Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) through its Life Sciences Innovation Fund (LSIF), FACIT and Phoenix Fire (part of the Archangel Network of Funds) all invested in Tenomix. OCI LSIF and Phoenix Fire invested in Noa Therapeutics. Representatives from OCI, FACIT and Phoenix Fire were in attendance to celebrate these announcements.

“I am profoundly grateful for the support and recognition from OBIO®, right from our inception. Their backing through various programs and the recent investment via the WiHI Seed Program underscores their commitment to empowering women-led initiatives in health. This support has been instrumental in our journey to revolutionize pathology workflows and make a meaningful impact on cancer care,” said Eveline Pasman, Co-Founder & COO of Tenomix, an emerging company developing innovative technologies that streamline pathology workflows, drive down healthcare costs, and enhance patient care by improving treatment decisions.

“The combination of financial and wraparound supports delivered through the WiHI Seed Program enables women entrepreneurs to achieve critical milestones in their businesses,” said Dr. Maura Campbell, President & CEO of OBIO®. “We are pleased to support these women-led companies alongside our ecosystem partners at OCI, FACIT, and The Firehood. Access to early-stage capital is a critical barrier for women entrepreneurs, especially in the life sciences sector. These contributions are key to creating a more inclusive industry in Ontario.”

“Supporting organizations, like OBIO®, that increase the participation of women in our health sector is vital for our healthcare system,” said the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “The Government of Canada is pleased to continue to support OBIO® as they drive positive change for the future of women through the Women in Health Initiative (WiHI) Seed Program and in the life sciences sector across Canada and the world.”

Earlier this month, OBIO® and FACIT announced a new partnership to address the barriers faced by women-identifying entrepreneurs in the health science sector. Building on both organizations’ commitments to support women-led companies and advancement of made-in-Ontario intellectual property, the new partnership will advance Ontario’s women-led companies towards commercialization.

“OBIO’s dedication to championing women in the health sciences sector, demonstrated through the Women in Health Initiative (WiHI) Seed Program, aligns with our shared goal of creating a more inclusive and equitable industry,” said Claudia Krywiak, President and CEO, Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI). “By collaborating with partners such as OBIO®, FACIT and The Firehood, we can help women entrepreneurs reach key milestones in their ventures, increasing our impact significantly and making strides toward a future where entrepreneurship is accessible and inclusive for everyone.”

About OBIO®

Founded in 2009, OBIO® is a not-for-profit membership-based innovation organization engaged in strategy, programming, policy development and advocacy to further the commercialization of human health technologies that position Canada as a leader in the international marketplace. OBIO® advances this goal through collaborative partnerships with industry, the investment community, academia, the health care system and government. For more information, please visit www.obio.ca and follow OBIO® on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter).

About FedDev Ontario

For 14 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Contacts

Media:
Doriane Rey

Manager, Marketing and Events

OBIO®

dorianerey@obio.ca

Edward Hutchinson

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

edward.hutchinson@feddevontario.gc.ca

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