We went to the MaRS Impact Health Conference so you didn’t have to – here’s what we learnedCategory
Article feature image

From May 25-27th, biotech, HealthTech, and life sciences leaders from across the country came together to discuss how to work together to grow the health ecosystem here in Canada and beyond. The Talk Shop team attended to establish and consider new ways that the biotech, HealthTech and life sciences sector can better tell their stories to the masses through public relations. As a leading communications agency specializing in supporting innovative technology companies in telling their story, keeping on top of trends within the HealthTech ecosystem is essential. Read on to learn some of our key takeaways from the 3-day event.

Talent is not an isolated issue.

Canada is a hotbed of scientific talent within the biotech and life sciences sector, however, talent development is tied to the maturity and success of our ecosystem. The maturation of the HealthTech ecosystem, alongside some major anchor companies coming to Canada, will allow a better cycle of talent development moving forward. One of the major concerns is the fact that often science and HealthTech talent is borderless. As a country, we need to better market our three biotech hubs, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, to attract and retain talent on this side of the border. We have the right foundation and we’re keeping pace, but access to capital, the continued development of a specialized workforce, and engaging people in meaningful work are the three core components for the success of biotech in Canada. Canada needs to double down on the creation of talent, and that starts with our University graduates. Talent development is key, and showcasing the meaningful change in the industry will help get the next generation excited to create long careers in the space.

Data is essential to disrupting the pharmaceutical industry.

It is clear that information, data and open science have changed the way business is being done and how companies are being formed in the healthcare and biotech sectors. Diving deeper, one of the most dominant factors within the pharmaceutical industry in 2022 was big data. During Wednesday’s panel, moderated by Carly Weeks, a health journalist at The Globe and Mail, data was discussed heavily as it pertains to this new phase of growth for biotech in Canada.

Philanthropy and meaning is core to the innovation within the healthcare and biotech industry.

We are seeing a new generation of philanthropists and new models of philanthropy emerging. As we move across generations, there is a psyche change. The next generation wants high risk, high reward, and high touch. A common theme among leading foundations, including SickKids Foundation, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the University Health Network is that donors are thinking about the long-term impact of their donations, future investments, and bringing those discoveries to the bedside of patients. Donors want transparency, the ability to follow funding, and ultimately, visibility into the impact their charitable dollars are having. As a result, foundations are focused on how they can look at donations as investments, rather than philanthropic contributions.

The future is bright.

One of the most positive takeaways from MaRS Impact Health was that there is no doubt that innovation is alive in our own backyard. During the venture showcase, attendees were able to have a look at some of the top up and coming companies in digital health, medical devices and biotech. We’re also seeing exciting advancements in the FemTech space, with Hyivy Health leading the way in creating the first pelvic rehabilitation systems for the ⅓ of women who have pelvic cancer. We’re also seeing Shopify act as inspiration for how to solve important issues within the healthcare sector, with Curv Health on a mission to create a digital clinic focused on allied healthcare, and HoneyBee Health creating a one-stop-shop for clinical trials. Between new categories emerging, like digital wound care management, and the future of dermatology led by Skinopathy, the future of HealthTech is indeed shining with so much promise and meaningful changes on the horizon right here in Canada.

To find out how your brand can have a stronger impact on Canada’s healthtech, biotech and life sciences ecosystem, feel free to reach out here.