Hamilton, Ontario, a long-standing leader in health and life science research and innovation, was recently recognized with a 2021 investment of $6 million from the Government of Canada, through the Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Awarded to Innovation Factory and delivered in collaboration with Synapse Consortium, the funding was used to launch Southern Ontario Pharmaceutical and Health Innovation Ecosystem (SOPHIE), a program bridging Ontario based life science companies with leading academic and hospital partners. By leveraging the region’s established research expertise and clinical capacity, emerging companies now have financial support to accelerate their product commercialization
Hyivy Health Inc. (Hyivy), a recipient of SOPHIE funding, is excited to be involved. Understanding the complexity of the medical device industry, Hyivy’s Founder and CEO Rachel Bartholomew notes, “Completing clinical trials can be a difficult process, especially for a young company. Through SOPHIE, we have established excellent research contacts and received invaluable support to complete documentation required for clinical trials. This has helped us create a study framework to confidently conduct larger and more extensive clinical trials, positioning us well to seek regulatory approvals for our patient solution. We also look forward to gaining invaluable insight that may help us identify potential market expansion opportunities which will help us scale.”
Armed with a business background and a passion to learn, Rachel’s story is remarkable and inspiring. Several years ago, she lay in her hospital bed recovering from treatment at Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton. She took to social media support groups and noticed a common thread among patients sharing their stories and experiences relating to pelvic health conditions. They expressed significant dissatisfaction related to wait times and treatment options for care and management of these conditions.
While undergoing treatment and recovery, Rachel identified a significantly under-served and under-represented market shaped by a lack of focus, innovation, and options for the management, recovery, and treatment of pelvic health issues. She founded Hyivy, and the concept of developing an integrated product allowing women to manage their pelvic health status, monitor their recovery and progress, and provide data to their rehabilitation team emerged. Hyivy’s solution features a medical device, clinician-based software, and a patient app, and aims to empower women by giving them control of monitoring their status while also reducing the burden on the health care system by providing a digital exchange of information between patients and clinicians.
Growth and expansion are part of the Hyivy’s future. The company is looking ahead and expects to leverage SOPHIE-funded research findings to develop new product releases and identify market expansion opportunities. Today there are 18 employees and an additional five will be hired soon.
As David Carter, Executive Director of Innovation Factory states, “Hyivy’s evolution as a company has been exciting to be a part of. They have capitalized on the strength of our region’s health science innovation ecosystem by taking advantage of numerous opportunities and programs. SOPHIE provides a natural progression by allowing them to complete hospital-based clinical trials to validate their product and commercialize a solution that has the potential to positively impact health outcomes for women in Canada and globally.”
SOPHIE builds upon the unique strengths of Hamilton’s health and life science innovation ecosystem by promoting collaborative opportunities between emerging companies in the sector and leading academic partners and hospitals. As an accelerator, Innovation Factory is well positioned to facilitate commercialization plans for young companies such as Hyivy and looks forward to enabling future projects that leverage the region’s life science capabilities and research expertise.