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October 19, 2022

The Health Innovation Roundup, sponsored by Health Cities, is written and published weekly by Taproot Edmonton to bring you the latest news and events in research, technology, companies and people changing health for the better in Edmonton.

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Here are some highlights from this week’s Health Innovation Roundup:



  • DrugBank has announced a partnership with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to address industry gaps. “We’re always looking for ways to improve access to relevant, evidence-based drug information so that our users can quickly and reliably do their best work,” said DrugBank CEO Mike Wilson. “Partnering with ASHP not only expands the breadth of information we’re able to provide, but it allows for further connections and discoveries within that data.”
  • The US Department of Defense has awarded $1.4 million to a cancer centre at the University of Texas to treat acute myeloid leukemia patients with PCLX-001, a drug that Pacylex is developing to treat leukemia and lymphoma. The clinical study will be the first involving the use of this kind of drug in patients with AML.
  • Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) published a Q&A with Paramita Chaudhuri Basu, the former head of the Health Innovation Hub at the University of Alberta who is now the director of programs and ecosystem development for API.
  • The Bird Dogs, a group of volunteers that raises money for prostate cancer research, have enabled the creation of a five-year chair position in translational oncology that will be held by Dr. John Lewis of Nanostics. Lewis previously held the Frank and Carla Sojonky Chair in Prostate Cancer Research, made possible by a $5 million endowment raised by the Bird Dogs, of which Frank Sojonky is a founding member. That position will be filled by Dr. Adam Kinnaird, a surgeon-scientist who will continue to work with Lewis to improve the way prostate cancer is treated.
  • Hepion Pharmaceuticals, which has a research facility in Edmonton, has “largely flown under the radar” but has seen some new developments around its liver disease treatments that may warrant attention, says an analyst from the financial services company Cantor Fitzgerald.
  • Derek Nolt of Bladeflex Inc was interviewed on Alberta Impact about his company’s effort to design, manufacture, and distribute healthcare solutions for musculoskeletal problems. The interview is part of a series sponsored by Edmonton Unlimited highlighting the companies involved in Launch Party 13.
  • The new Glycomics Institute of Alberta will help fill a gap in knowledge around an important process. “Glycosylation plays a critical role in every major disease, and yet it is probably one of the most understudied areas of science,” said glycoscientist Lara Mahal, who leads the institute. She noted that the University of Alberta has long been a leader in this area of science, and the institute offers the opportunity to build new connections.
  • Research on the effects of dietary fibre on inflammatory bowel disease indicates the need for personalized dietary guidelines, says new research from Eytan Wine and Heather Armstrong of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. “We have shown that some fibre has the potential to cause damage, so we have to be much more selective about when we’re exposing our patients to it,” Wine told Folio. The team has received a $1-million grant from the Weston Family Foundation to move into the next phase of research.
  • Biosenta Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sherwood Park’s Voran Group Ventures to help it commercialize its antimicrobial products.
  • The Edmonton Community Health Hub North has officially opened in northeast Edmonton. The partnership between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Edmonton North Primary Care Network (PCN) brings primary care, mental health services, specialty services, and home care together under one roof to meet the complex health needs of area residents.
  • Aurora announced its fall lineup of cannabis products for both medical and recreational use. The new products are to roll out to patients on Aurora Medical this month, to be followed by availability in adult-use retailers.
  • Alberta’s new regulations governing psychedelic therapy may limit patient access instead of increasing it because of the requirement for a psychiatrist’s supervision, say some observers of the emerging field. “When we’re talking about hundreds, if not thousands, of patients needing to now line up to see one of those 10 or 12 psychiatrists that are willing to prescribe or consider psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, you can see how this will inevitably create bottlenecks,” Philippe Lucas of Calgary’s SABI Mind told Postmedia.


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