This last year presented many exciting opportunities to reconnect with our communities and expand our networks. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us and our companies over the last year and beyond. We are excited to continue to grow as we build our ventures into globally impactful companies. As another great year draws to a close, we wanted to celebrate a few highlights at KASTx Ventures and our portfolio companies.
Raft Digital Therapeutics
- The Launch of the Company’s First Therapeutic Video Game, Cloud Bazaar
Raft Digital Therapeutics partnered with Biogen Canada on a new therapeutic game demo. The game was built for people living with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and is called “Cloud Bazaar”. This project received additional support from Alberta Innovates, the Ontario Brain Institute, Starratt Family Foundation, and Campus Alberta Neurosciences. This is the very first game launch for the company, which was covered by Healthing of Post Media and SMA News Today. Cloud Bazaar was developed in consultation with the SMA community, with an interactive interface that tracks physical movements to progress through the levels. Click here to read the release and download the game.
- Chosen for Plug and Play Alberta’s First Digital Health Accelerator Program
Raft Digital Therapeutics was selected for the Plug and Play Alberta health accelerator program. At the cohort’s conclusion, participants got the opportunity to present their technologies to the public, showing their progression throughout the 16-week program.
- Graduating from the Life Sciences Fellowship Program
Dr. Geoff Frost, CEO of Raft Digital Therapeutics, recently celebrated his graduation from the Life Sciences Fellowship Program at the University of Calgary. The program is funded in part by Innovate Calgary and Alberta Innovates, and provides resources and funding to help grow new life sciences innovations in the field. He presented the recently launched demo of Cloud Bazaar at a closing event for the program, giving many the opportunity to try out the game for themselves.
- Launching a Patient Registry for Amyloidosis Research
Lumiio, in partnership with the Canadian Registry for Amyloidosis Research at the University of Calgary and University of British Columbia, announced researchers who are multi-disciplinary experts in amyloidosis have come together to launch a Canada-wide patient registry with both clinical and patient-reported data. Click here to read the full announcement.
- Lumiio and MitoCanada Launch New Patient Registry Targeting Mitochondrial Disease in Canada
Lumiio announced the launch of MitoCanada‘s mitochondrial disease patient registry. This registry will enable a fulsome understanding of mitochondrial disease patients across Canada by capturing critical information directly from patients. These valuable insights benefit the community by supporting research partnerships across the country, advancing patient advocacy efforts, and attracting clinical trials. Click here to read the announcement.
- Launching a Clinical Trial Finder Tool with Defeat Duchenne Canada
Lumiio partnered with Defeat Duchenne to launch a clinical trial finder tool for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and their families. Defeat Duchenne hosted a webinar introducing the tool and providing an important demonstration. Click here to watch the replay and learn more about the tool.
- Company Launched
In January, AphioTx officially launched. AphioTx is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a promising treatment for opioid withdrawal. Read the press release on their website.
- Chosen for a Top 10 Spot at Startup TNT’s Life Sciences Investment Summit
AphioTx CEO Dr. Tuan Trang pitched to investors at a Life Sciences Investment Summit hosted by Startup TNT, landing the company a spot in the top 10. Click here to watch his pitch.
- Co-hosted Community Event with the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
Dr. Tuan Trang was a panelist at a community-led webinar with the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) called “Innovation & Development: Addressing the Global Opioid Crisis”. The event featured a panel discussion on the growing opioid crisis, community resources, and how advances in scientific research like AphioTx’s are working to help address the growing crisis.
Pure Life Carbon
- Presenting a Winning Pitch at Inventures Calgary
Pure Life Carbon took home a cash prize after winning the Cultivating Ag-Tech award at the Inventures event in Calgary. Fred Munn, VP of Stakeholder Relations pitched to a panel of leaders in agriculture alongside 6 other companies. Click here to read their announcement.
- Featured in the Calgary Herald
The Calgary Herald featured KASTx Ventures in an article about how we’re working with research institutions and top researchers, pharmaceutical companies and innovation hubs to provide the people and resources to accelerate company growth. Click here to read the article.
- Jeff Miller, Global Biopharmaceutical Leader, joins KASTx Ventures and expands our footprint to the USA
In April, we officially welcomed Jeff Miller onto our leadership team to help advance our growing ventures. He brings over 25 years of leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry working for globally recognized companies in over 20 different countries. He is the first American to join KASTx and has since been setting up our operations where he’s based in the Northeastern U.S. Click here to read the full announcement.
- Christian Idicula Announced as Chief Operating Officer
At the end of the year, we announced the appointment of our new COO, Christian Idicula. Christian has previously led operations at KASTx Ventures as Director. We are excited to see the growth of both KASTx and our companies under his new leadership. Read the full announcement on our website.
- The KASTx Ventures Team Spotlight
This year, KASTx Ventures has welcomed new team members and promoted existing team members into new positions. Jill Thompson has joined us to support KASTx and our portfolio companies with legal support under the supervision of Michael Flach, In-House Counsel. We also welcomed Rajashri (Raji) Buriac in her role as an Accountant. Ryan Wallace was promoted from Senior Manager to Director of Marketing & Communications.
- KASTx Ventures Attends Platform Calgary’s Reverse Pitch Event
Members of our team had the opportunity to attend Platform Calgary’s reverse pitch event at their new location in downtown. It was a truly rewarding opportunity to hear from and connect with top venture capital firms and other startups and supporters in Calgary’s entrepreneurial community.
Other Important Recognitions
- Toshifumi Yokota Wins BioAlberta’s Scientific Achievement Award
KASTx Ventures scientist Toshifumi (Toshi) Yokota received BioAlberta’s Scientific Achievement and Innovation Award this year. We celebrated this announcement as we work closely with Dr. Yokota to accelerate the future impact of his discoveries through commercialization. The award celebrated teams or individuals responsible for breakthrough innovations with commercial applications. Click here to read the full announcement.
- KASTx Founders Mark Starratt and Lawrence Korngut Awarded Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medals
Two of our Founding Partners, Mark Starratt and Lawrence Korngut were recipients of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medals this year. The medals recognized Albertans who have made significant contributions to their communities and the province.