Accelerator program helping U of A team develop a new breathing device


A team of University of Alberta engineers is getting help from an accelerator program to create a new breathing device and bring it to market.

Mechanical engineering professor Andrew Martin worked on a new design for nasal prongs for existing oxygen delivery devices with his then-research assistant Cole Christianson. The goal is to improve performance for patients with low blood oxygen, whose shallow breathing can't be detected by some portable oxygen concentrators.

For help in developing and licensing the device, Martin was introduced to Innovation Masterminds Edmonton (imYEG), an accelerator program that takes research from post-secondary institutions and helps develop it into business ventures.

"The question that got me into engineering in the first place is how on Earth do good ideas somehow end up as products that are sold in the market?" Martin said in an interview with Christopher Micetich, CEO of imYEG.

"The technical innovation is part of it for sure … but there are so many other factors in determining which product ultimately finds a path to the market."

Martin's venture, which is still in early stages of development, is one of the first to be accepted into imYEG's program. Martin told Taproot that he'll be working with imYEG for the next 12 to 14 months to define a roadmap. After that, he'll look at raising capital.

Andrew Martin and Christopher Micetich

Mechanical engineering professor Andrew Martin is getting help from accelerator program imYEG in getting a breathing device to market. (imYEG/Youtube)

imYEG was launched in January 2021, stemming from a partnership between the U of A and Brass Dome Ventures, with financial support from the federal government.

Since its launch, imYEG has worked with several other health innovation ventures. Some of them include:

  • A-BaVi Protec Inc., founded by Hyo-Jick Choi, which develops salt-based technology with antimicrobial and antiviral properties to prevent the spread of diseases such as seasonal influenza, COVID-19, tuberculosis, and pneumonia.
  • Antibiddies Technologies Inc., led by Leanne Bilawchuk and founded by David Marchant. The spinoff company is working to develop a novel oral antiviral drug called RespVirex, designed to interrupt the replication of several different viruses without the associated toxicity to the patient.
  • CARM&A Health Inc., founded by two physicians, Dr. Marjan Abbasi and Dr. Sheny Khera. The company offers an integrated digital health solution that helps doctors detect patients at risk of decline and supports decisions on management.
  • mmHg (Millimetres Mercury) Inc., led by Dr. Raj Padwal and Peter Wood. The company develops and markets secure, cloud-based software solutions that enable users to effectively manage health data.
  • PulseMedica, founded by Nir Katchinskiy. The company is developing technology that will use lasers instead of injections to treat afflictions such as age-related macular degeneration.