Oct. 1, 2021
Program attracts international life sciences talent to help diversify Alberta’s economy
Calgary and Alberta offer many supports for researchers to transform discoveries and technical advances into solutions that can build our communities, improve Albertan’s quality of life and diversify our economy. One such program is the Life Sciences Fellowship which is now accepting Expressions of Interest (EOI).
“The Life Sciences Fellowship is accelerating the development of new ventures in high-growth areas, as well as entrepreneurs who can unlock value at the intersection of health and emerging tech. Through such fellowship programs and the partnerships supporting them, Alberta is quickly becoming a health innovation hub that is particularly good at helping research and technical talent transition into meaningful careers as innovators,” says Nicole Mardis, director of health innovation talent, with Alberta Innovates.
The fellowship provides access to $200,000 in startup funding as well as world-class equipment and space at the Life Sciences Innovation Hub, plus, professional development training, advising and community.
One fellowship company that has found tremendous growth is Deep Surface AI with fellow David Katz, the CEO. Katz was excited to immigrate to Calgary from the United States shortly before joining the Life Sciences Fellowship.
“Calgary has a wealth of programs designed to help young companies like ours on our development path. Among them, the Life Sciences Fellowship was the best opportunity for my team and me," says Katz. “The Life Sciences Fellowship gave me a real chance to follow my entrepreneurial aspirations. The stipend allowed me to have the time and resources to focus on our business full-time and get it off the ground.”
Katz has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, having started two companies during his high school and undergrad careers. Now with a law degree and graduate degrees in craniofacial biology, Katz struggled to find a way to blend his many interests and expertise until he and his five co-founders decided to take the leap and start Deep Surface AI Inc.
“Despite all the uncertainty inherent in starting a company, I feel happier in my career now than I have in a decade,” says Katz. “The Life Sciences Innovation Hub has a fantastic pool of mentors and expert advisors who are generous with their advice and insights that have equipped me to run our business.”
About Deep Surface AI Inc
Deep Surface AI is working on a data-driven approach to facial surgery planning. The goal is improving outcomes for patients through rigorous quantification of aesthetic preference data and biological variation in facial form. The potential applications are far-reaching, but the team’s core focus is on improving the outcomes for gender affirming surgeries and facial cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. For the latter, these surgeries can help individuals better breathe, eat, and live in some cases.
To date, the company completed prototype development, conducted extensive customer and market research, provided more than 10 paid internships, established a flexible organizational structure for engaging expertise as the company grows, and secured funding through equity financing and competitive grants. The team is expecting to create a working prototype for surgeons to test in the upcoming months.
You could be the next Life Sciences Fellow and get access to funding, world-class equipment, space, and opportunities to grow your business development skills and company. Join us on Oct. 5 at 11 a.m. to learn more about the program, application process, and eligibility. Register and submit your Expression of Interest by Nov. 15.
Innovate Calgary is committed to helping researchers translate their evidence-informed innovations into scalable, sustainable commercial solutions that positively impact our communities. We support researchers from various backgrounds by providing services in technology assessment, intellectual property management, knowledge translation, commercialization, and company formation.
Innovate Calgary also manages the Life Sciences Innovation Hub programming that offers access to infrastructure, equipment, expertise, and startup support services for life science-based companies.