Via the Ontario Together Fund, the Ontario government is investing over $1.5 million in Myant Inc. to help commercialise “connected wearables” that can sense, track, and help diagnose various symptoms that may indicate the onset of diseases, including those associated with COVID-19.
A total of 80 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project.
“Ontario has world-leading talent in the innovation and life sciences sectors,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “In today’s knowledge-based economy, our government is pleased to collaborate with companies like Myant and support projects that create jobs and transform how we receive the healthcare services we need.”
Myant is a Toronto, Canada based company operating in the health care sector that has developed its Textile Computing platform by embedding biometric sensors into knitted fabrics and creating textile-based medical devices and connected wearables under the brand name Skiin.
Everyday clothing items with embedded sensors can track the wearer’s vital signs through Myant’s Connected Care Life App and share the information with an individual’s circle of care, including their family and healthcare providers, enabling remote patient monitoring and real-time decisions for improved patient care.
“Myant truly represents the best of the Ontario Spirit,” said Premier Doug Ford, MPP for Etobicoke North. “They stepped up early in the pandemic by producing textile-based solutions to help our frontline workers and continue to demonstrate Ontario’s world class manufacturing capability every day.”
Trial participants will wear Skiin garments for three to four months. Clinicians will monitor their health through the mobile app and data platform and university students studying computer science or biomedical engineering will monitor the user experiences of both participants and clinicians. The goal is to replicate the type of environment and recipients that the product is designed to serve, including homebound elderly people, Indigenous people and those who experience difficulty getting access to care when needed.
Ontario’s investment will help Myant accelerate the commercialization of Skiin by conducting a broad, community-based deployment of the product. Myant will produce Skiin kits to be distributed to about 2,500 trial participants and is partnering with Algoma University and the Sault Area Hospital to deliver the trial.
“Our government is committed to supporting made-in-Ontario innovations and products in the medical technologies sector that delivers solutions to our health challenges,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie and Minister of Colleges and Universities. “I am thrilled that Myant has chosen Sault Ste. Marie to further advance the innovation and development of new technology that will have a far-reaching impact across the province as we build up a healthy economy and keep the people of Ontario safe and healthy.”
“While COVID-19 has caused incredible challenges to healthcare, it has also encouraged us to embrace new and transformative ways of taking care of each other,” said Ilaria Varoli, Executive Vice-President, Myant. “With the support of the Ontario Government, Myant’s deployment of Skiin will help health professionals bridge physical distances and deliver the preventative care needed to ensure the ongoing well-being of the most vulnerable communities in the Sault Ste. Marie area. We look forward to expanding our support to other communities across Ontario and Canada in the near future.”
Through this project, Myant will learn and test how to deploy the system with several key stakeholders including hospitals, public health institutions, physicians, and home care workers. The company anticipates fully launching Skiin in the market by the summer of 2021. Once commercialized, Skiin will be manufactured at the company’s facility in Toronto.
“Besides the social impact, this initiative done in partnership with Algoma University and Sault Area Hospital will help us refine our understanding of how entire communities can use and benefit from Skiin.”
“So many people helped to make this possible, but I’d like to particularly thank Minister Victor Fedeli and Minister Ross Romano for their vision and support. Together we are strengthening the fabric of Sault Ste Marie society.”
Posting on social media last night, Myant CEO and founder, Tony Chahine said: “I am absolutely elated to share that Myant Inc. will be working with the Government of Ontario to deploy Skiin in the Sault Ste Marie area to help connect 2,500 people in underserved groups, like the homebound elderly and Indigenous communities, to the type of care they need.”
Through the $50 million Ontario Together Fund, the government is making targeted investments to assist companies in retooling or adopting the technical changes required to manufacture supplies and equipment for the health-care sector, as well as organisations creating solutions for other essential public services.