Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator - Accel-Rx

$14.5 million for 2014-19
About   |   News   |   Features
Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator

Number of partners

Partner contributions
$2.8 million

Vancouver, British Columbia

President and CEO
Natalie  Dakers Natalie Dakers

Board chair
David Main David Main

Building a critical mass of health sciences companies in Canada

The opportunity

Canada’s support of basic and applied research has built a strong foundation for the commercialization of health research. Many of these discoveries are turned into new businesses. Unfortunately, too many of these firms have failed, left the country or were sold to foreign companies because of an inability to raise new funds. Canada’s life sciences industry is showing positive signs of maturity, but access to capital, strategic partners and experienced entrepreneurs continues to constrain the sector’s success. In response, a group of health-related Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs) backed a national centre with the scale, resources and partnerships to focus specifically on growing start-ups and creating a new generation of strong health sciences anchor companies based in Canada.

How Accel-Rx is seizing the opportunity

Accel-Rx leverages the expertise and infrastructure already created at seven CECRs (the Centre for Drug Research and Development [CDRD], MaRS Innovation, the Vancouver Prostate Centre’s Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development, the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization, NEOMED and the MedDev Commercialization Centre) to aid in identifying technologies from across the country. Accel-Rx then employs a highly-qualified and diverse panel of experts to aid in the further screening and evaluation of these opportunities in order to select the top 3-4 companies per year with the highest technical and commercial potential to become part of the Accel-Rx Growth Platform. The selected companies receive an investment of up to $1 million in seed funding from Accel-Rx and funding partner BDC Capital – to be matched by other investors – as well as support services to ensure their development into Series A investment ready companies.

Among the results

  • Accel-Rx and BDC Capital, along with Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Lumira Capital, invested $4 million in KisoJi Biotechnology, a company developing dopamine receptor antibodies that drive cancer stem cell differentiation. This investment will allow Kisoji to obtain proof of concept data, determine a lead candidate and potentially begin a Phase 1 clinical trial by 2018. 
  • Accel-Rx and BDC Capital participated in a $5 million seed investment round for SoundBite Medical, with external funding coming from the Bertrand Group and various angel investors. SoundBite has developed a novel, first-in-class, crossing guidewire to deliver shockwaves for interventional cardiology applications. This investment will support commercialization and clinical validation of their technology, with a Phase 1 clinical trial planned for early 2017. 
  • Accel-Rx, MaRS Innovation and CDRD invested $525,000 in Zucara Therapeutics to develop an antibody treatment for insulin dependent diabetics to prevent hypoglycemia. This investment will allow Zucara to select a lead candidate and generate in vivo validating data to support a clinical trial application. 
  • Accel-Rx previously led the following investments: $2.85 million in Encycle Therapeutics for proprietary macrocycle synthesis platform technology, $2 million in ScarX Therapeutics for an anti-scarring topical cream and $1.8 million in ImStar Therapeutics for a novel drug treatment for ALS.

Connect with Accel-Rx


Accel-Rx and BDC partnership to grow life sciences companies
September 2, 2015
Canada has embarked on a bold and proven approach to turn the country’s $6-billion investment in basic health research into successful and well-managed companies that attract investment, generate profits and create jobs for Canadians. Read more