XLV Diagnostics Inc. secures $3 million Series A from Boston-based investor
THUNDER BAY, ON, May 28, 2014 /CNW/ – XLV Diagnostics Inc., a MaRS Innovation (MI) start-up company based in Thunder Bay and specializing in low-cost, next-generation digital mammography machines, has closed a $3 million Series A investment round with Boston-based Bernard M. Gordon Charitable Remainder Unitrust. The funding will support continued product development and regulatory approval.
XLV’s product will provide mammography image quality equivalent to top-of-the-line mammography machines currently in use, and will do so at a fraction of the cost of current generation systems.
In traditional markets, many radiology departments are replacing film and screen systems with x-ray digital technology. XLV’s machines are of great interest particularly in emerging markets where over 600 million women have inadequate access to screening for early breast cancer detection.
“XLV’s technology is attractive in emerging markets, such as China, India and Brazil, where breast cancer cases are outpacing access to image based diagnostic technology,” said Sorin Marcovici, president and CEO of XLV Diagnostics. “This financing supports multiple key milestones along the path to installing the first XLV clinical mammography machine at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and obtaining Canadian, U.S. and European regulatory approvals in preparation for taking our product global.”
Marcovici, named CEO in 2014, brings many years of worldwide, corporate business development experience and innovative technical leadership in multi-modality medical imaging, Selenium based flat-panel detectors, digital radiology and electronics. Until 2011, he was Analogic Corporation’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.
“As investors experienced in medical devices, we were very impressed with the robust and affordable digital mammography system that XLV is developing,” said Bernard Gordon. “We look forward to combining our many years of experience in launching medical device companies with the innovative academic research that emanated from XLV’s founding institutions, and to working with the company’s seasoned management team.”
XLV’s technology is based on Dr. John Rowlands’ research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI) where he was the founding scientific director.
“XLV Diagnostics is built on a great partnership between engineers, scientists and commercialization experts in Thunder Bay and Toronto,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, MI’s president and CEO. “Dr. Rowlands was XLV’s scientific visionary, but MI’s Joel Liederman became the business partner who launched and built XLV into the successful start-up it is today. Joel was XLV’s CEO for three years. He secured early-stage funding, oversaw design and development of XLV’s mammography system, worked with our patent experts to protect its technology and hired the technical and managerial expertise to help the company grow.”
Incorporated in 2011 and with seed funding from MI, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, TBRRI and Sunnybrook, XLV Diagnostics received $600,000 in non-dilutive funding from FedNor, the Government of Canada’s regional development organization for Northern Ontario and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. This investment directly led to XLV growing its team and developing its equipment in Northern Ontario, where the company plans to remain headquartered.
“XLV Diagnostics is a good example of the spinoff companies that emerge from Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute,” said Roxanne Deslauriers, acting CEO of TBRRI, “They not only address patient needs, but also create positive economic and healthcare impacts for Northwestern Ontario and beyond. Partnerships such as this will continue to fuel our health sciences cluster.”
XLV Diagnostics Inc. awarded $500,000 to develop digital mammography technology
February 19, 2013 (Thunder Bay, ON) – XLV Diagnostics Inc., a start-up company working to commercialize a faster, cheaper and better digital mammography technology, has received a $500,000 investment from FedNor.
Over 600 million women living in developing countries have inadequate access to breast screening for early cancer detection. In the developed world, many radiology departments are replacing traditional film and screen systems with digital technologies. In both cases, better digital mammography technology promises to solve logistical challenges and save money.
XLV’s solution has the potential to provide image quality that equals or surpasses that which is currently in use, making images easy to analyze, manipulate and transfer much like digital photographs. It will also substantially decrease the cost of digital mammography machines.
“The technology that XLV is developing into a product promises to reduce the cost of an x-ray imaging system, making it more affordable for customers in the developing world and similar rapidly-growing markets,” said Dr. Michael Wood, CEO of Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute. “I am so very proud of the scientists whose research led to this technology.”
The start-up company’s technology emerged from Dr. John Rowlands’ research and is being developed through partnership between the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and MaRS Innovation.
FedNor, the Government of Canada‘s regional development organization for Northern Ontario, facilitates and catalyses activity intended to help communities to thrive, businesses to grow and innovation to prosper.
“XLV Diagnostics is a remarkable example of a great partnership among engineers and scientists in Thunder Bay and Toronto,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “It also validates our members institutions’ commitment to taking exciting technologies to market by collaboratively creating dynamic start-up companies. We are pleased to have the Canadian government partner with us in creating the seed funding framework that will allow XLV to complete prototype development and begin working toward clinical validation.”
“Congratulations to the federal government for recognizing that research and its commercialization are part of the solution, not only for our health care system, but also for regional, provincial and national economic development,” said Dr. Michael Julius, vice-president, Research, Sunnybrook Research Institute; and chair of the Board, XLV.
The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister for FedNor, announced the XLV funding as part of a larger investment of more than $2.9 million to support small business development, growth and innovation in the Thunder Bay region.
“The Harper Government recognizes the importance of investing in infrastructure and innovation that will lay the groundwork for business expansion and industrial land development, as well as enhance business productivity and competitiveness,” said Minister Clement. “Our government’s support for these kinds of initiatives will help businesses prosper, create jobs, and diversify the regional economy.”
Thunder Bay is home to a new medical imaging start-up company: XLV Diagnostics Inc.
The new company will commercialize Dr. John Rowlands’ X-ray Light Valve system
June 20, 2011 (Thunder Bay, ON) – Today a group of leading medical research organizations in Ontario announced the launch of XLV Diagnostics Inc., a new medical imaging, prime sector start-up company. XLV Diagnostics Inc. is supported by Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI), Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI), Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and MaRS Innovation. The new company will commercialize Dr. John Rowlands’ X-ray Light Valve (XLV) system, build a full-scale prototype of the imaging detector in Thunder Bay, and will then validate its performance (cost of production and improved imaging quality). The XLV system will be applied to mammography to improve access to screening and diagnosis of breast cancer.
“I am thrilled to see this made-in-Ontario technology being commercialized right here where it was developed – in Thunder Bay,” the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation. “We were pleased to support the work of Dr. Rowlands, as he developed this technology. It’s a great example of the McGuinty government’s commitment to innovation that improves health care, creates new jobs and strengthens our economy.”
The digital mammography marketplace is currently growing at a rate of 20% using current technology. The new XLV innovation promises to capture and generate a new market of affordable x-ray technology. Globally, mammography sales are about $1 billion annually.
“This new company will help bring XLV to the next phase of commercialization. The idea is based on real patient need. The XLV technology would be applied first in mammography as a faster, better, less expensive way to screen for breast cancer, and eventually it will expand to other types of medical imaging,” says Dr. Rowlands, Founding Scientific Director of TBRRI, who has also been named the Research and Development Advisor of the new company.
“It’s tremendously exciting to see the launch of an innovative technology company that will change people’s lives for the better, and today’s announcement truly demonstrates the incredible momentum of our Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute. Just 15 months ago, our government made the largest investment in research ever in Northwestern Ontario – $6.5 million – to support advanced research work through TBRRI, and it’s clear that was a very wise investment indeed,” says the Honourable Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forests, and MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North.
Key partners are poised and ready to support the company’s efforts to bring XLV to market. “This new company is the direct result of teamwork,” says Michael Power, CEO, TBRRI. “We have a superior invention here that will meet the needs of patients and that is why we’ve joined forces to work together. Our common goal is to bring XLV to market in a professional and timely manner in order to remain competitive.”
“This is certainly one of the most exciting fruits of the partnership among SRI, TBRRI, OICR and MaRS Innovation,” says Dr. Michael Julius, Vice-President, Research, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and SRI. “Geography is not a barrier when like-minded organizations pool their intellectual and business resources toward a shared goal of extracting value from knowledge for the benefit of patients and the economy.”
The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) shares this vision. An OICR program will support the new start-up company XLV Diagnostics Inc. “OICR, through its seed program, the Intellectual Property Development and Commercialization Fund, invests in promising cancer-related technologies throughout Ontario,” says Frank Stonebanks, OICR’s Chief Commercial Officer. “The goal of the Fund is to bridge the gap between academic research grants and private investment and to help bring these exciting technologies to market where they can benefit cancer patients in Ontario and world-wide. OICR has invested in technologies held in start-up companies and research institutions across the province and we are proud to support Dr. Rowlands’ ingenious approach to digital mammography.”
The realization of XLV Diagnostics Inc. is the combined effort of federal, provincial, municipal, local government support, and academic, healthcare, and industry partners. The new company will contribute to key areas of research and development, and the ongoing growth of medical research in the Northwest and across the province.
“MaRS Innovation is pleased to be working with TBRRI, one of our newest member organizations, and to have been instrumental in helping the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and TBRRI to launch a new start-up company to commercialize this exciting technology,” says Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein, President and CEO, MaRS Innovation. “We are looking forward to helping guide XLV Diagnostics to commercial success, and to identifying other promising ventures with TBRRI,” he adds.
“Today is another expression of growth in our knowledge-based economy. Our government is proud to have been a partner in the earliest stages of this expansion and looks forward to other announcements in the future,” Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay – Atikokan.