On January 18, 2017, investors, analysts, and entrepreneurs converged on the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the 2017 Cantech Investment Conference. Exhibitors at the conference spanned a number of industries from cybersecurity to specialty finance to cannabis.
One of the key themes of the conference was that although the "age of the unicorn" may have come to an end, the adoption of innovation is now deeply entrenched and integral into the way companies need to do business to survive. Not only are corporations outsourcing their research and development to start-ups and small tech companies, but they are increasingly having to innovate over new hurdles in order to compete in a world where competitive lines between companies are consistently being redrawn – a world where advancements in technology means that Amazon is no longer competing only with the likes of Walmart and Target, but also with FedEx and UPS.
These technological advancements are becoming particularly salient in the biotech sector. This year, the conference introduced an inaugural 'Biotech Alley', which featured a number of biotech and life sciences companies. In a panel entitled "Undervalued Emerging Biotech Companies Developing Breakthrough Therapies", Eden Rahim, Portfolio Manager of the Bio-Tech Plus Fund at Next Edge Capital Corp. spoke with representatives from three TSX/TSX-V listed biotech companies (ProMIS Neurosciences, Inc. [TSX: PMN], RepliCel Life Sciences Inc. [TSXV: RP], and Critical Outcome Technologics Inc. [TSXV: COT]), about the important trends in biotech in Canada. Panel discussion touched on the following key areas:
As usual, the Cantech Investment Conference provided an opportunity to take the pulse of developments in the Canadian tech industry.