A look at health innovation in Edmonton during 2021

As Alberta's health innovation industry grows, Edmonton companies continue to demonstrate their ability to be leaders in areas like drug and vaccine development and biotechnology infrastructure.

"We have phenomenal anchor companies within the region, and a lot of companies are showing a whole bunch of promise, such as Entos and Providence," Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation CEO Andrew MacIsaac said on an Edmonton Global panel earlier this year.

"The next three to five years, what I think we will start to see is the development of a very mature and robust industry around drug development and life sciences much more broadly."

Among the year's highlights:

In addition, mental wellness startup DiveThru secured $800,000 in pre-seed funding, amidst challenges and setbacks faced along the way, which founder Sophie Gray shared with Taproot. University of Alberta spinoff company PulseMedica landed more than $400,000 in investment funds at Startup TNT's Investment Summit IV; and True Angle Medical closed a $1.64 million funding round, led by Accelerate Fund III.

Three vials of vaccine

Entos Pharmaceuticals' COVID-19 vaccine candidate was approved for a Phase 2 clinical trial in South Africa (Supplied/Entos Pharmaceuticals)

As part of the larger innovation ecosystem in Edmonton, the city's health sector will look to continue its forward momentum in 2022.

The next year will determine whether projects like Entos's commercial manufacturing facility come to fruition, and whether Alberta will establish itself as a major hub for medical research.

"The world needs what Edmonton offers, a passionate and vibrant community of entrepreneurs committed to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, aimed at solving some of the world's biggest challenges," Catherine Warren, CEO of Innovate Edmonton, told Taproot.

"Our world class universities, artificial intelligence, public health research, and innovative companies, entrepreneurs, and cultural communities are leading the change."