$200,000 Heart Rhythm Innovation Competition


An Accessory Device to Stabilize Catheter Contact Force

The curative treatment for atrial fibrillation and other heart rhythm disorders is radiofrequency catheter ablation. Unfortunately, the success rate of first-time ablations is as low as 50%, requiring the patients to return for a repeat procedure, which adds additional substantial costs to healthcare systems (+8B to the US). One main reason for ablation failure is insufficient ablation caused by the unavoidable motion of the heart.

Aufero Medical has developed a small device that removes the effects of motion by stabilizing the force between the catheter tip and the moving heart. The mechanical device adds on to routinely used catheters with minimal impact to regular procedure workflow. The initial proof-of-concept has been shown to work effectively in preclinical studies and to remove the effects of motion during ablation production.

We have designed a smaller prototype of the device, which we aim to evaluate in our first-in-human studies. 


Puzzle Medical Devices has developed the world’s first minimally invasive long-term hemodynamic support. The device features a patent pending modular assembly allowing sequential percutaneous implantation of the pump components, which are then assembled using a transcatheter technique. ModulHeart is implanted in the descending aorta and is designed to augment native blood flow and end-organ perfusion in order to stabilize patients with advanced heart failure, halt disease progression and avoid acute decompensations.

Technology enabling high quality heart rate assessment for newborns

VitaScope, incorporated in 2018, is an early stage Toronto-based medical device start-up with the primary goal of enabling high quality heart rate (HR) assessment for newborns. Each year, approximately 10 million newborns require resuscitation worldwide. The best indicator of the need for and effectiveness of resuscitation is HR, as determined through auscultation, pulse oximetry or the gold standard, electrocardiography (ECG). Unfortunately, these techniques are often inaccurate, slow, expensive, and are challenging to use on such small patients. Thus, the ideal method to rapidly and accurately assess HR remains elusive.

To address this gap we have developed a next generation wearable medical device: VitaScope (VS). The VS is a universal stethoscope add-on device that, at its core, measures HR using miniaturized ECG technology and displays the HR to facilitate timely and appropriate neonatal resuscitation. As runner-up in the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation Angels Den pitch competition, we have used $25,000 to develop a VS prototype that correlates 80% with a clinical goal standard. 


Steve Arless

Mr. Steven Arless, BSc’71(Chemistry), is a McGill alumnus who returned to his alma mater in the fall of 2016, as Professor of Practice in the Faculty of Medicine.

After graduating from McGill, he worked for 17 years at Smith & Nephew Inc., serving as President for close to five years. His innovative talent led him to CryoCath Technologies Inc., which he nurtured from a start-up to commercial success, serving as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from 1996 to 2006, ultimately selling this to Medtronic Inc.

Mr. Arless completed an MBA at Concordia University in 2008. He maintained his interest in the diagnosis of and minimally invasive therapies for rhythm disorders of the heart, assuming the position of CEO of CardioInsight, in 2009. He is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Soundbite Medical, a Montreal-based shockwave technology company, also in the field of cardiovascular diseases.

In 2018, he assumed the role of MedTech Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Centech, one of Canada’s leading technology accelerators.

Most recently, he co-Founded, and is CEO, of a new cardiovascular start-up, ViTAA Medical Solutions, a mapping and AI predicting technology for aortic aneurysms.

At www.stevenarless.com,  he blogs about his experiences with MedTech start-ups.


Danaka Porter

Danaka Porter holds a Master of Engineering in Systems and Supply Chain from MIT, and has a decade of experience in the Mining, Oil & Gas, and Aerospace & Defense industries. She is an effective leader with experience in both industry and as a consultant building a proven track record creating visible value for her clients and company, through root cause analysis, process engineering, change management, as well as contract negotiation and management.

Danaka specializes in inventory optimization having created and copy writed inventory algorithms for hard to predict demand situations over long periods of time. She is a sessional lecturer at the University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business where she teaches Supply Chain and Project Management to upper-level students, she also routinely runs training sessions on products or programs she has developed for clients. Further to that, Danaka has started up a successful consulting company in Canada, as well as co-founding a fertility company in the US. She has been connected with CANet since 2016.

Richard Meadows

Richard Meadows was selected by FORBES Magazine as one of the top ten Life Science Investors in North America in 2013. 

Richard was a Managing Partner and one of the co-founders of CTI Life Sciences Fund, a successful Quebec-based Cdn.$100 million biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical devices investment fund (CTI I vintage 2007). He joined CTI from his previous position as a Venture Partner with VantagePoint Venture Partners, a US$2.8 billion private equity fund based in San Bruno, California. Richard was also a Partner in the Biotechnology Group of CDP Capital Technology Ventures, a Cdn.$1.2 billion fund affiliated with the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec. A few examples of some of his exits:

  • ENOBIA Pharma – acquired by ALEXION for $1.081B 
  • TARGEGEN – acquired by Sanofi Aventis for $575M
  • EXEMIAS Therapeutics – reverse merger into YM Biosciences; just before its acquisition by GILEAD for $510M
  • CGI Pharma acquired by GILEAD for $125M

Dr. Ratika Parkash

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia and attended Dalhousie University from 1989-1996 completing a BSc (Major Chemistry) completing an internal medicine residency from 1996-1999 at the University of Ottawa; completed cardiology training at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute from 1999-2002
and completed a fellowship in cardiac electrophysiology from 2002-2004 at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (program director Dr. William Stevenson) in Boston, MA

In addition, Dr. Parkash completed a Master’s degree in clinical epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and attained an academic appointment at Dalhousie University in 2004 and currently holds the rank of Professor.