Six teams chosen from highly competitive field, as previous participants leverage their experience to secure their spot in new cohort
Innovation is alive and well at McGill. That is one of the many conclusions one can draw from the latest round of the McGill Innovation Fund (MIF). Now in its third year, the MIF – one of the largest entrepreneurial funding programs at the University – attracted a broad variety of applications from disciplines as varied as Architecture, Genetics and Ophthalmology.
Indeed, this year the judges had their work cut out for them, as the quality of presentations was uniformly high. Develop stage judge Mitchel Benovoy summarized the challenge: “I’m consistently impressed by the talent and the quality of the MIF applicants and their technologies. It’s getting harder and harder to select the finalists every year!” he said. But after a thorough process, the choices have been made and the long-awaited verdict is in.
What is the MIF?
The McGill Innovation Fund is a university-wide funding competition open to all McGill researchers who have a Report of Invention with the University and who are looking to move their technology from the lab into the marketplace. Companies who have a license agreement or an equity arrangement with the University are also eligible.
The MIF offers three stages of funding: Discover, Develop, and Deploy. Discover ($25,000) teams are usually working on validating their results in the lab, while Develop ($50,000) teams are a bit further along their entrepreneurial path but still needing to be scaled up or commercially proven. The highest tier Deploy ($100,000) is awarded to teams that are already incorporated and are active – or close to it – in the market.
In addition to funding, MIF teams take part in a robust support program, including the establishment of an advisory board, access to a group of sponsor firms who offer discounted service, subsidized student interns, and the opportunity to attend a number of events throughout the year.
Tackling antimicrobial resistance
This year’s edition of the MIF featured a supplemental award from the McGill Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Centre offering an additional $75,000 to selected teams. Antimicrobial resistance is a growing global threat that the UN predicts will become a leading cause of death – even higher than cancer – by the year 2050. The McGill AMR Centre is dedicated to discovering innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat infections and curb the threat of antimicrobial resistance.
“McGill is full of talent to be harnessed into transformative innovations. By partnering with the MIF, the AMR awards will help McGill researchers develop their ideas into real-world solutions to address AMR. The recipients of the AMR awards have truly exciting projects and the McGill AMR Centre is proud to support their endeavors.” says Dao Nguyen, director of the McGill AMR Centre.
And the winners are…
This year the following teams have been selected for the MIF. Three of them have already participated in the MIF, either in the first or second cohort:
Deploy – $100k
- HisTurn (Professor Sarah Kimmins; took part in the first two cohorts)
Develop – $50k
- CaoTech (Professor Changhong Cao; was a member of the first cohort)
- Ikei (Professor Thomas Szkopek took part in second cohort)
- Patholyzer (Professor Parisa Ariya) also won AMR Award of $50,000
Discover – $25k
- Bit Healix (Professor Iannis Trakadis)
- Itaconate Antibiotic (Professor Karine Auclair) also won AMR Award of $25,000
(Full details on each of these teams will be publicized over the coming months on the MIF website)
“Even after just three years, we can see the impact the MIF is having on the McGill research commercialization ecosystem,” said Mark Weber, Director of Innovation + Partnerships and who oversees the MIF. “The teams are more business focused and have considered the market opportunity their technology can address. I look forward to working with this third cohort and seeing how they can translate their research into real-world products and services that can impact society.”