Federal Government Awards $49M to Terry Fox Research Institute and Imagia to build AI platform for Precision Medicine

MONTRÉAL, May 24, 2019 /CNW/ - The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced an investment of up to $49M from the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) as part of the Stream 4 - Health and Biosciences competition. This award, together with $108M in-cash and $165M in-kind contributions from 97 consortium partners, supports a Digital Health and Discovery Platform (DHDP) that will combine Canadian expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and precision medicine to improve healthcare for Canadians. The joint endeavour will catalyze collaborations with industry to stimulate commercialization of home-grown research discoveries.

Announced at Imagia headquarters yesterday in Montreal, Minister Bains said the recipients of the innovation grant will establish a cutting-edge, national digital health data initiative.  According to the Office of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in Canada, "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."  The full government release can be found here.

The hope for conquering complex diseases such as cancer is in the intelligent use of digital information. The new Digital Health and Discover Platform will greatly empower the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network, launched by the Terry Fox Research Institute on April 12 in St John's, Newfoundland on the 39th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope to cure cancer. For the first time, cancer centres and research institutes across the country are joining forces from coast to coast to coast to advance a world-leading, precision medicine cancer plan, a roadmap to cure cancer, to benefit all Canadians. The platform will provide world-leading infrastructure and an innovation framework that will enable collaborations and the sharing of data insights, knowledge and resources with partners across the country to accelerate precision medicine. 

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.


"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."


"We thank the Honourable Minister Bains and the Government of Canada for their vote of confidence in this pan-Canadian, multi-partner collaborative partnership that brings together the nation's best minds in precision medicine and artificial intelligence. The new Digital Health and Discovery Platform will help us to transform cancer research and care in Canada by enabling the new Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres network to analyze enormous amounts of genomic and clinical data to find new and better ways to treat cancer patients, no matter where they live in Canada."


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. 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."




The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), established in 2007, invests in world-class, collaborative cancer research teams and partnerships. Together with its research and funding partners, TFRI is working to inspire the transformation of cancer research in this country by bringing together leading cancer research and treatment organizations in Canada and empowering them under the framework of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network. www.tfri.ca


Imagia is a leading Canadian healthcare AI company on a mission to leverage advances in AI and accelerate the advent of accessible personalized medicine. Imagia developed EVIDENS, an AI-first platform for clinician driven end-to-end discoveries of AI biomarkers with the greatest chance of clinical benefit for patients. The company is engaged with clinicians from world-class research institutes as well as category-leading pharma, medical device, and diagnostic companies to co-develop healthcare AI solutions and drive the future of personalized medicine around the world. Imagia.com

For further information contact: For Imagia: Gregg Delman, gregg@gthreemedia.com, 415-935-1804; For TFRI: Kelly Curwin, kcurwin@tfri.ca, cell:778-237-8158, office: 604-675-822

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.