Canada’s first industry-led medtech startup incubator accepting applications for Resident Program beginning Spring 2020

Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX) offers medtech startups an environment to grow locally and go-to-market globally to keep IP in Canada and foster Canadian talent.

Kitchener, ON, Canada, Jan. 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX), Canada’s first industry-led incubator for medtech startups, announced that it is now accepting applications for its 2020 Residency program commencing this spring. Successful applicants will join rising medtech stars Penta Medical, Vena Medical, and Bloom Care, who joined the incubator hub spearheaded by Intellijoint Surgical in June 2019.  


MIX offers Residents a unique opportunity to retain ownership in early stages and succeed by leveraging resources in order to avoid early stage pitfalls and post-prototype growing pains. The successes of Intellijoint Surgical, which celebrated its landmark 10,000th surgery in April of last year, and other Canadian champions, help illuminate the path to bootstrapping as an alternative to early acquisition by global medical device and pharmaceutical companies, or packing up and moving operations to the United States.


“Despite Canada’s well-deserved reputation for nurturing startups, challenges remain -- especially for our peers in medtech,” explains Intellijoint Surgical CEO Armen Bakirtzian. “Not only do medtech startups have similar needs as any venture, such as recruiting top talent and managing a business without a lot of capital, we must also conquer barriers facing both high-tech manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies, too -- but without the deep pockets. For example, we need to build physical prototypes, secure IP, and ensure early compliance by regulatory bodies including Health Canada and the FDA. But, all of this is surmountable with guidance.”  


Bakirtzian has assembled a roster of some of the most well-known and successful medtech CEOs, clinicians, and investors to advise Resident companies on specific steps that are critical to success; advice that is often missing or difficult to obtain from the more general startup incubators and accelerators.


“As medtech companies mature and phase out of early stage incubators, they are left without the resources they need to continue product development and enter the most critical stage of their business: commercialization,” says Alexa Roeper, Penta Medical CEO. “MIX’s hub fills this gap.” 


MIX Residents work 1:1 with advisors to navigate such milestones as: “de-risking” device prototypes and product development; U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) compliance and ISO 13485 Quality Management Planning; audit readiness; go-to-market strategy planning; how to take advantage of Canada’s proximity to the largest healthcare market in the world and access to global markets; as well as navigating Canadian healthcare system-specific blockers. 


MIX leadership is establishing relationships with local, provincial, and federal government officials as well as healthcare administrators at top area hospitals to specifically address healthcare procurement policies, with the goal of ensuring that the best of Canadian IP is not lost before it has a chance to be commercialized. 


“Canada is a place where innovation thrives – especially here in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.” says Raj Saini, MP for Kitchener Centre. “We offer one of the best economies in the world for new business ventures as well as small and medium enterprises. And medtech is an area rich in intellectual property -- something Canadians lead at developing. But we need to improve at commercialization. Of patents filed in the past two years, 60% ended up with global companies within a year.”


“We are experiencing a tech boom right across our region,” adds Tim Louis, MP for Kitchener Conestoga. “We excel at IP development, and have a global reputation in high-tech manufacturing – from automotive to aerospace. But we understand that more must be done to cultivate local successes. When IP leaves the country, we miss out on future opportunities, as well as the potential spillover effect from high-tech research. MIX will certainly help to address some of those gaps.” 


Since the June 2019 announcement of its founding, MIX has received dozens of inquiries from interested companies seeking to become part of the community. MIX is a non-profit incubator-hub with transparent terms, of which Bakirtzian emphasizes, “we never take equity in participating companies. Our mission is simple: to pay it forward. We are committed to helping ‘grow our own’, and it starts with ensuring the most promising medtech startups have a home here in Kitchener where they can thrive.”

For more information about Medical Innovation Xchange and to submit an application for the Spring 2020 Residency, please visit the website.  


MIX is Canada’s first industry-led hub dedicated to helping medical technology startups scale and succeed in Canada. Spearheaded by anchor tenant Intellijoint Surgical, MIX was created to reduce the barriers and bridge the resource gap facing medtech startups by fostering a collaborative community that helps develop, sustain, and retain these companies to establish the Waterloo region as a leader in medtech innovation. Our mission is to provide a collaborative environment for Canadian medical technology companies that supports their individual growth and contributes to the overall success of the Canadian medtech ecosystem.


Armen Bakirtzian, Intellijoint Surgical CEO and MIX founder, welcomes industry leaders to the MIX Grand Opening Roundtable, Kitchener, Ontario, Friday, January 10, 2020.  The Canadian Press Images PHOTO/Intellijoint Surgical Inc. Michael Phillips (Right), Vena Medical CEO and MIX Resident, speaks at the MIX Grand Opening Roundtable, Kitchener, Ontario, Friday, January 10, 2020.  The Canadian Press Images PHOTO/Intellijoint Surgical Inc.

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