April 6, 2016

McCaig Institute scientists win $100K in seed money to help launch 'tactile bone' product

Ammolite BioModels team places first in Dragon’s Den-style competition for medical entrepreneurs

A team of scientists from the Cumming School of Medicine’s McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health won $100,000 Tuesday in the inaugural TENET I2C (Innovation to Commercialization) Competition.   

The winning team, Ammolite BioModels, has developed bone model designed to feel like real bone to be used in the training of orthopaedic surgeons. A realistic and cost-effective training option, Ammolite BioModels’ Tactile Bones aim to reduce the cost, time and risks of surgeries by improving training outside the operating room. The team will use their prize money to scale up product manufacturing.

TENET I2C is a Dragon’s Den-style competition that awards up to $100K to a team to transition their medical research into products and services that improve lives. Established with a generous gift from TENET Medical Engineering and organized by the McCaig Institute, the competition was developed to support and encourage the next generation of medical entrepreneurs.

  • Photo above: Celebrating their victory at the University of Calgary, from left: Gerald Zamponi, Steve Boyd, Ammolite BioModels CEO Aubrey Blair-Pattison, and Ken Moore.  Photo by Yasir Al-Saffar

“At the Cumming School of Medicine, we believe that not only is it vitally important to pursue and generate knowledge, but it is equally important to see that knowledge translated into improved health and health care for Albertans,” said Gerald Zamponi, PhD, senior associate dean (research)  at the Cumming School of Medicine and the chair of the TENET I2C Management Committee. “The TENET I2C Competition provides vital seed money to teams so they can translate their ideas into something that can really impact health and well-being.”

Ammolite BioModels was one of four teams to pitch their idea to a panel of seven judges in front of an audience of over 100 people. Each team had 10 minutes to sell their ideas, followed by five minutes of questions from the judges. After all teams had presented, the judges convened to decide on the winner.

Ken Moore, retired CFL football player, former McCaig Institute graduate student and one of the founding members of TENET Medical Engineering, gave the keynote presentation emphasizing the importance of financial support for entrepreneurs within the academic community. It was Moore who came to the Cumming School of Medicine with the idea for the TENET I2C Competition. “The goal of this program is to build a community of medical entrepreneurs as an adjunct to the great research being done at the University of Calgary,” said Moore.

The TENET I2C Competition acknowledges the support of its partners and sponsors:  TENET Medical Engineering, Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions, the Haskayne School of Business’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Innovate Calgary.