By Sanjana Basu

Radical Market Maps:
AI and Healthcare in Canada 

Radical Market Maps present our original research in the North American AI landscape. We are releasing Canada’s first AI and healthcare market map showcasing startups exemplary of their market category.

Canada's AI and Healthcare Market Map. Companies are divided into categories: AI driven Decision Support, AI accelerating Therapeutics, and Data Infrastructure and Process Efficiencies

Click to download our market map as a pdf

Digital Healthcare’s Acceleration

Digital healthcare adoption has accelerated since the onset of the pandemic. In the first half of 2021, approximately $14.7B was invested in digital healthcare in the United States, surpassing the total amount invested in 2020 (~$14B). We previously identified this inflection point for the industry and believe there will be a rapid expansion in technology, occurring in two waves, with AI driving the second wave.

On the back of these tailwinds, Canada is well positioned to leverage its unique competitive advantage to develop breakthrough AI healthcare solutions. 

Categorizing AI and Healthcare

The companies in the map fall into 3 main categories:

1) AI enabled decision support: Companies in this category are mapped across the value chain of care including: diagnosis and screening, treatment selection and planning, and remote monitoring. Companies could belong to more than one part of this value chain and have been categorized for the purpose of clarity.

Diagnosis and screening is the most active space for AI companies. Most companies use imaging as a modality for diagnosis while others use clinical data captured in different formats to detect biomarkers. Treatment selection and planning, as well as remote monitoring, augment both the clinician and the patient. The most active indications include mental health, gut health, fertility, neurodegenerative diseases, and chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiac health. Emerging demographic trends include women and children’s health. Finally, prescription digital therapeutics also fall under this category and can be considered a companion or alternative to traditional therapeutics.

2) AI accelerating therapeutics: The acute urgency for developing treatment solutions during the pandemic sets the stage for inventions that fast track the medicine to market process.

Over the last few years, AI for drug discovery and development companies have started seeing AI-discovered drug candidates through to clinical development to capture the value of the assets. Another set of companies continue to focus on research intelligence by leveraging software to enable discovery and medical research. Finally, the prediction power of AI is used extensively today in clinical trial technology to optimize recruitment, saving millions of dollars and significant time costs for pharmaceutical companies.

3) Data infrastructure and process efficiencies: Companies in this category sell primarily to providers to build process efficiencies across clinical workflow and revenue cycle management tools. These companies are also building data infrastructure to ensure data security, enable data interoperability, and set the foundation for a new generation of technology-first healthcare products.

The Canadian Advantage

Canada is an AI centre of excellence and a brain gain market for AI. It has one of the highest concentrations of AI researchers including over 100 world leading researchers who oversee labs at universities across the country. Canada is also a world-leader in AI fundamental research. Over the past two years, Canada’s AI research leaders collectively published more than 4,000 research papers and trained over 2,400 master’s and doctoral students. Further, AI startups in Canada are booming with approximately $1.4B raised in the first 6 months of 2021, up 190% YoY. It’s not surprising that Toronto is the fastest growing tech talent market, currently the third largest, in North America according to CBRE’s latest report

Canada also has a competitive advantage when it comes to healthcare. In theory, Canada’s public healthcare system means data is controlled by a single source and is less siloed and disparate than other jurisdictions. CIFAR’s AI4Health Task Force is working hard to put structures in place to build a learning health system for Canadians. Canada’s universal healthcare dataset would be one of the largest in the West, and one of the most genetically diverse. Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America, is consistently ranked the most multicultural city in the world with over 50% of the population born outside of Canada

At Radical, we strongly believe that Canada has a unique position boasting a nexus of world-class health and machine learning researchers, as well as data controlled by a single source. Our role in the ecosystem is to commercialize, support, and scale such innovations.

If you are a founder building a business that enables this new era of healthcare, have thoughts that resonate, or have a different point of view, please reach out to sanjana@radical.vc

About the Author

Portrait of Sanjana BasuSanjana Basu

Sanjana Basu is an Investor at Radical Ventures. Radical Ventures is a $325 Million Series A fund investing in bold entrepreneurs developing and applying artificial intelligence to invent the future. Sanjana enjoys supporting founders who are on a mission to use deeply disruptive technology to address the many opportunities that lie ahead of us. Prior to Radical, Sanjana worked at the venture and incubation arm of the Tata Group. Before, she was an Investment Banker at Barclays. She completed her MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore and her undergraduate in Economics & International Relations from Tufts University in Boston, US.