TEC Edmonton celebrates successful year turning local research into new businesses

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WATCH ABOVE: Turning innovative ideas into products ready for market is a challenge. But as Margeaux Maron explains, TEC Edmonton is celebrating nine new patents and 11 spinoff companies out of the University of Alberta this year – Dec 24, 2018

It’s one thing to be a gifted researcher, but turning innovative ideas into products ready for market is a complex challenge.

As 2018 comes to a close, TEC Edmonton is celebrating the commercial potential of the emerging technologies coming out of the University of Alberta. The non-profit organization helped start up 11 new companies, while assisting local researchers obtain nine new patents this year.

TEC Edmonton’s Jennifer Sheehan says there’s reason to be optimistic about the emerging technologies coming out of the U of A.

“Some of the companies that come through [TEC Edmonton] are doing such fascinating things in the world of health care,” Sheehan explained, pointing to Nanostics — a diagnostics firm capable of identifying prostate cancer with a couple of drops of blood.
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“At the end of the day, a lot of these technologies are helping make life easier for people,” said Sheehan.

Another standout start-up from 2018 is Tēvosol Inc., developers of the Ex-Vivo Organ Support System capable of keeping organs warm and oxygenated, as though they were still alive. The invention is touted to be a transplants game-changer.

“This technology could double or triple the number of human lungs available for transplant,” said Ron Mills of Tēvosol Inc., adding they also “have a heart machine in development that could do a similar thing for hearts.”

There’s no doubt inventing a machine to keep organs alive is a difficult task, but getting that product to market is also a feat of its own.

TEC Edmonton provides support filing patents, finding investors and navigating complex health regulation. Anything they can do to help new technologies from the U of A reach their full commercial potential.

“The kinds of things that we can do without having to raise the money for it give us a supreme advantage, and gives us speed to market,” said Mills.

READ MORE: University of Alberta nanoscientists create commercial ‘molecular’ product for guitars

From lifesaving health-care tools, to more responsive guitar pedals, these new products are being launched with a serious home-field advantage.

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When Adam Bergren realized his nano-technology research could revolutionize the music industry, he didn’t know what to do next.

“What it takes to actually go from studying something in the lab to talking to other companies and understanding what their needs are, it’s very different from being a scientist,” Bergren explained.

As local executives mentor Nanolog Audio‘s growth, local businesses produce their parts. TEC Edmonton ensures product developers can focus on what they do best – innovate.

“It’s really important to have that conduit because you can have a great idea and it goes nowhere if you don’t have the right pieces in place and you don’t have the right people connecting you to the right other people,” Bergren continued.

Sheehan from TEC Edmonton looks forward to sharing more success stories in 2019, “and we really should be paying attention to them, because I really truly believe [emerging tech] is the future for Edmonton and the region as well.”