Canadian AI Healthtech
May 28, 2019 ● Jasmine Pennic
Canadian Government Awards $49M Grant to Establish Canada-wide AI Health Data Platform

Researchers and doctors will use the platform to accelerate development of new and personalized treatments

The government of Canada has announced an investment grant of up to $49 million in the Digital Health and Discovery Platform (DHDP), a network of partners that seeks to establish a cutting-edge Canada-wide health data platform. Through this new platform, researchers and doctors will work to accelerate the development of new and personalized treatments to help to find cures for diseases that affect Canadians. While the platform will initially focus on cancer, the plan is to expand to other areas of medicine in the future.

Terry Fox Research Institute and Imagia led Consortium to Accelerate Medical Breakthroughs

Led by the Terry Fox Research Institute and Imagia, the network with $108M in-cash and $165M in-kind contributions will connect almost 100 partners across Canada, including health care institutions; small, medium-sized and large companies; universities and research foundations; and all four major artificial intelligence (AI) research labs in Canada. Together, they will establish a Canada-wide AI health data platform that will connect to different sources of health data to accelerate research. The joint endeavor will catalyze collaborations with industry to stimulate commercialization of home-grown research discoveries. For example, cancer centers and research hospitals will be able to quickly share data to test theories about how to best treat aggressive cancers and develop better treatments for each patient. 

“This investment promises not only to improve the future of Canadians’ health but also to do it with made-in-Canada solutions. By harnessing Canada’s strengths in health research and AI, we’re helping to usher in a new era of more personalized care that will mean better health outcomes. We’re excited to see all the new health and biosciences innovations that will result from this collaboration,” said The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

4-Year Project Details

The four-year project will leverage Imagia’s EVIDENS AI discovery platform and clinical collaboration ecosystem. EVIDENS enables federated learning on patient data across multiple hospitals and unites creative minds in both AI and healthcare to power discovery at scale. The platform empowers clinical researchers from different pan-Canadian institutions to derive outcome-based insights from real-world evidence (RWE) and collaborate on AI biomarkers and clinical decision support systems.  Imagia’s unique healthcare AI ecosystem gives hospitals, medical device makers, pharmaceutical companies, and diagnostics manufacturers the opportunity to benefit from a vast AI clinical solutions innovation pipeline to develop breakthrough advances in personalized healthcare.

Why The Investment?

The Government of Canada believes that trust is the foundation for economic growth and innovation. The platform will be patient-centric and will ensure the consent of participating patients and the largest health institutions and uphold the highest standards for data privacy, security, and safety. This investment is made through stream 4 of the Strategic Innovation Fund, a program designed to attract and support high-quality business investments in Canada’s most dynamic and innovative sectors.

“The time to harness the power of AI is now so that we continue to augment Canada’s position on the global AI stage. By combining the experience of its clinical collaborators, industry, AI institute partners and the Terry Fox Research Institute, Imagia will fulfill its mission to make accessible personalized health care a clinical reality. The Canadian government’s strategic grant will fuel a significant next step in the life-changing work of Imagia and the Terry Fox Research Institute. Our complementary strengths in research and AI is a fierce combination that will spark the critical change needed for scientific discoveries, improved diagnostics, and more effective treatments resulting from new, scaled technologies,” said Alexandre Le Bouthillier, PhD, Founder, Imagia.

Article by:

Jasmine Pennic