Health City and Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. announce collaboration to better predict disease risk, frailty in seniors

May 10, 2019 (EDMONTON, ALBERTA) – Health City is pleased to announce a unique collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., which also includes physicians and local companies. The project will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to examine data as a means to better predict frailty and its impact on chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Frailty is the most concerning reality of our aging population.1 It is estimated that approximately 1 in 4 older adults are at imminent risk of becoming frail and are at a greater risk for declining health, higher health care utilization, and loss of independence.2 However, if frailty and risk for chronic disease can be identified earlier, there is an opportunity to intervene and improve care pathways for patients and positively impact their health.

At the heart of the project is the development of a tool that can facilitate how front-line providers are able to identify patients earlier in order to provide appropriate patient-centred interventions to support healthy aging.

AltaML, a local AI and machine learning company, will develop the machine learning algorithms to pull together the different data sets, uncovering predictions and patterns to solve key questions that physicians are asking patients. “We are thrilled to be part of the project at the ground-level,” says AltaML CEO Cory Janssen. “In order to apply AI to any sector, we have to have a clear understanding of the problem. Working directly with the physicians and the other partners on this project means that we can develop a better and more robust solution.”

Including local organizations like these early on will allow them to test their solutions in a real-world setting which will enable scalability outside the region.

“Our mandate is to drive economic development through innovation in the health sector in this region and this project is the first example of the kind of model we believe will do that,” says Health City CEO, Reg Joseph. “We’re excited that our partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim allows us to bring together this collaborative team from our vibrant health community to solve this very real challenge for our senior’s population, locally and nationally.”

The goal is to enable healthcare teams to proactively identify patients who could benefit from more individualized care and evidence-based interventions such as fall prevention, medication review, or social service interventions to help further mitigate frailty.

We are committed to delivering innovative healthcare solutions that reflect our commitment to serve current and future healthcare needs,” says Richard Mole, President and CEO, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. “Together with Health City, insights gained from the use of AI will help to address the needs of aging seniors in in the city of Edmonton, allowing them to manage their conditions more independently. “

“This is such a significant collaboration on so many levels for this city,” says Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. “When I launched Health City in 2016, I knew that our region had the ability and opportunity to benefit from our world-class health research and innovative spirit. I am looking forward to more investment and jobs in this sector that result in economic prosperity for this region and ultimately impact the health and well-being of our citizens.”


About Health City

Health City is a non-profit, municipal economic development initiative created to connect, promote, catalyze and accelerate innovation in the health sector in Edmonton and surrounding region. Health City works with our community to create a vibrant health industry with health and social outcomes for our citizens. Our focus is on transforming innovations from our health ecosystem into solutions that have commercial application and global relevance; adopting them for impact in Edmonton and scaling them for export to global markets. For more information, visit

About Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

Improving the health of humans and animals is the goal of Boehringer Ingelheim, a research-driven pharmaceutical company. In doing so, the focus is on diseases for which no satisfactory treatment option exists to date. The company therefore concentrates on developing innovative therapies that can extend patients’ lives. In animal health, Boehringer Ingelheim stands for advanced prevention.

Family-owned since it was established in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the top 20 companies in the pharmaceutical industry. Some 50,000 employees create value through innovation daily for the three business areas of human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceuticals. In 2018, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around 17.5 billion euros. R&D expenditure of almost 3.2 billion euros, corresponded to 18.1 per cent of net sales.

As a family-owned company, Boehringer Ingelheim plans in generations and focuses on long-term success. The company therefore aims at organic growth from its own resources with simultaneous openness to partnerships and strategic alliances in research. In everything it does, Boehringer Ingelheim naturally adopts responsibility towards mankind and the environment.

The Canadian headquarters of Boehringer Ingelheim was established in 1972 in Montreal, Quebec and is now located in Burlington, Ontario. Boehringer Ingelheim employs approximately 600 people across Canada.

More information about Boehringer Ingelheim can be found at or in our annual report:

About AltaML

AltaML builds transformational software for business, powered by machine learning (ML). We partner with organizations using a co-development model where we can provide technical and strategic expertise on how to leverage their data with AI/ML to deliver significant ROI and new forms of competitive advantage.


For more information:

Karen Gilchrist
Director, Communication and Stakeholder Relations
Health City

(780) 720-5446


Jennifer Mota
Brand Communications Specialist
Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

(905) 631-4739



  1. Clegg A, Young J, Iliffe S, Rikkert MO, Rockwood K. Frailty in elderly people. The Lancet. 2013;381(9868):752–62.
  2. Song X, Mitnitski A, Rockwood K. Prevalence and 10‐year outcomes of frailty in older adults in relation to deficit accumulation. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010;58(4):681–7. Rockwood K, Fox RA, Stolee P, Robertson D, Beattie BL. Frailty in elderly people: an evolving concept. CMAJ Can Med Assoc J. 1994;150(4):489–495.