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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

U of Toronto program helps cardiovascular researchers launch their own start-ups

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 8th, 2018

A program launched at the University of Toronto (U of T) is accelerating the commercialization of cardiovascular research through start-up activity.

The Entrepreneurship for Cardiovascular Health (ECHO) program introduces researchers to the start-up world and provides them with mentorship, networking and opportunities for funding.

“Canada is an internationally recognized hub for cardiovascular research, with exceptional scientists and clinicians developing ideas with high translational potential,” says Soror Sharifpoor, founder of ECHO. “We want to provide them with the necessary tools to turn their ideas into products that can be used by patients and their doctors.”

The 12-month program is supported by U of T’s Health Innovation Hub (H2i), one of the university’s nine on-campus accelerators, and teaches everything from business strategy to regulatory processes. ECHO concludes with a pitch competition that hands out a collective $250,000 in prize money for the winning start-ups.

Sharifpoor sees a wide range of market opportunities for cardiovascular research, such as new drugs, medical devices, mobile apps and wearable health monitoring technologies. She hopes that venture teams will keep working with H2i after they finish the program.

“We wanted these companies to have a place to continue onward,” says Sharifpoor. “Our goal is to deliver much needed cardiovascular innovations to patients faster.”

Source: U of T News

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