Daniel Bordenave of Bisep Inc., the winner of the 2020 Synapse Life Science pitch competition standing beside a wheelchair with a device connecting it to a walker

Hamilton life sciences competition goes virtual for $100,000 awards show

This article appeared on thespec.com, written by Tom Hogue. To read the original post click here.

The big winner was Niagara’s Bisep Inc., which designed a device for people with mobility issues


Dan Bordenave’s Niagara Falls-based company, Bisep, won the top prize of $35,000 cash and $7,000 in-kind services with a device that joins a walker with a wheelchair to help those with mobility issues. – Julie Jocsak , Torstar file photo

A health care worker with a better idea for a walker, an aerospace executive who designed a guidance system for kids with cerebral palsy, and the inventor of a sexual wellness product shared in $100,000 prizes handed out Wednesday at a virtual version of Hamilton’s Synapse Life Science competition.

COVID-19 distancing measures forced Innovation Factory into a last-minute rethink of its annual event at McMaster Innovation Park. They used a series of video broadcasts of entrepreneurs pitching their health sciences start-up concepts to judges.

Undaunted by the virtual presence, 150 people registered for online “seats” to the networking and awards event and another 300 logged in to watch as the winners were announced.

Niagara’s Bisep Inc. won the top prize of $35,000 cash and $7,000 in-kind services with a device that joins a walker with a wheelchair to help those with mobility issues. Bisep also earned $7,500 as part of a separate set of Praxis awards given to Ontario-based entrepreneurs in the spinal cord injury space.

Working in long-term health centres, Brock kinesiology graduate and Bisep founder Daniel Bordenave witnessed first-hand safety and efficiency issues related to helping train people to use a walker.

To reduce injury and address what Bordenave calculates is $3 billion in costs associated with training, his company developed a metal device that hooks up between any type of walker and wheelchair.

The ARMM — Ambulation Retraining Mobility Mechanism — was tested in 10 long-term care and hospital facilities in the Hamilton-Niagara region, including the Juravinksi Hospital.

Bisep said they received 90 per cent recommendation from staff who took part in the trials. They said patients indicated they had a 50 per cent boost in confidence with the device, walking 15 per cent farther and 24 per cent faster.

“We are very humbled and grateful to be selected as this year’s Synapse Life Science Pitch and finalists for the Praxis Award — this is an amazing investment that will bring Bisep a long way and bring the ARMM to market,” Bordenave said.

Second price of $17,000 cash and $7,000 in services went to Hamilton’s PROVA Innovations.

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