Investment in homegrown innovator creates jobs and helps commercialize “connected wearables” that can spot onset of diseases
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing over $1.5 million, through the Ontario Together Fund, in Myant Inc. to help commercialize “connected wearables” that can sense, monitor and help detect various symptoms that may signal the onset of diseases, including those associated with COVID-19. The project is expected to create 80 jobs.
“Ontario has world-leading talent in the innovation and life sciences sectors,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “In today’s knowledge-based economy, our government is pleased to collaborate with companies like Myant and support projects that create jobs and transform how we receive the healthcare services we need.”
Myant Inc. is a Canadian SME in the health care sector that has developed the Textile Computing platform by embedding biometric sensors into fabric and creating textile-based medical devices and connected wearables under the brand name Skiin. Everyday clothing items with embedded sensors can track the wearer’s vital signs through Myant’s Connected Care Life App. This information can be shared with an individual’s circle of care, including their family and healthcare providers, enabling remote patient monitoring and real-time decisions for improved patient care.
“Myant truly represents the best of the Ontario Spirit,” said Premier Doug Ford, MPP for Etobicoke North. “They stepped up early in the pandemic by producing textile based solutions to help our frontline workers, and continue to demonstrate Ontario’s world class manufacturing capability every day.”
Ontario’s investment will help Myant accelerate the commercialization of Skiin by conducting a broad, community-based deployment of the product. Myant will produce Skiin kits to be distributed to about 2,500 trial participants and is partnering with Algoma University and the Sault Area Hospital to deliver the trial. Trial participants will wear Skiin garments for three to four months. Clinicians will monitor their health through the mobile app and data platform and university students studying computer science or biomedical engineering will monitor the user experiences of both participants and clinicians. The goal is to replicate the type of environment and recipients that the product is designed to serve, including homebound elderly people, Indigenous people and those who experience difficulty getting access to care when needed.
“Our government is committed to supporting made-in-Ontario innovations and products in the medical technologies sector that delivers solutions to our health challenges,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie and Minister of Colleges and Universities. “I am thrilled that Myant has chosen Sault Ste. Marie to further advance the innovation and development of new technology that will have a far-reaching impact across the province as we build up a healthy economy and keep the people of Ontario safe and healthy.”
Through this project, Myant will learn and test how to deploy the system with several key stakeholders including hospitals, public health institutions, physicians, and home care workers. The company anticipates fully launching Skiin in the market by the summer of 2021. Once commercialized, Skiin will be manufactured at the company’s facility in Toronto.
“While COVID-19 has caused incredible challenges to healthcare, it has also encouraged us to embrace new and transformative ways of taking care of each other,” said Ilaria Varoli, Executive Vice-President, Myant. “With the support of the Ontario Government, Myant’s deployment of Skiin will help health professionals bridge physical distances and deliver the preventative care needed to ensure the ongoing well-being of the most vulnerable communities in the Sault Ste. Marie area. We look forward to expanding our support to other communities across Ontario and Canada in the near future.”
“Sault Area Hospital is pleased to collaborate with Myant Inc. and Algoma University on this exciting initiative in support of improving patient care and investing in innovative approaches to health care services,” said Dr. James Chan, Director Innovation, Sault Area Hospital. “The community-based trial will help to improve care for many of Sault Ste. Marie’s vulnerable community members.”
“Algoma University welcomes this announcement of funding to support Myant’s Remote Health Monitoring project, an innovative community-based research program in Sault Ste. Marie,” said Dr. Donna Rogers, Vice-President Academic and Research at Algoma University. “The project aligns beautifully to the Special Mission of Algoma University, with our focus on the needs of Northern Ontario and the importance of working closely with Indigenous partners, to promote and support good health outcomes for northern, rural, and remote communities.”
The government is delivering targeted investments through the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses retool or adopt the technological changes needed to produce supplies and equipment for the health care sector or organizations developing solutions for other critical public services.
Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. With vaccines being distributed, hope is on the horizon. Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy provides the resources necessary to finish the battle with COVID-19, building on the government’s record investments to protect health and jobs during the global pandemic.