Queen鈥檚 Partnerships and Innovation (QPI) looks back on the Health Innovation Kingston (HI YGK) initiative.

With the onset of the pandemic and the ensuing global health crisis, the need to keep health innovation evolving is paramount to providing the best possible care to Canadians, while supporting economic development.

In January 2021,  announced an investment of $3 million for the  in partnership with ,, , , and , to establish a health innovation ecosystem in the region.

The project leveraged the expertise and technology available from Queen鈥檚 University and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

Since the inception of the , QPI helped almost 70 health-innovation client groups through various programs and supports. This included 26 startups or small-and-medium sized enterprises, 17 Queen鈥檚 research groups and 25 student entrepreneurs. Thirteen faculty-led startups or emerging startups are commercializing intellectual property assigned to Queen鈥檚 and licensed to the startup.

Cannabis flowers being sterilized inside CPG the plasma prototype machine
Cannabis flowers being sterilized inside CPG the plasma prototype machine. Image via Cold Plasma Group.

, is one notable company that benefitted from the HI YGK programming. CPG鈥檚 patent-pending technology gently destroys bacterial and fungal spores without altering the quality of cannabis flower nor the concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes. CPG鈥檚 technology is eco-friendly and free of ionizing radiation, heat, or added chemicals, which makes it ideal for treating cannabis destined for the European market.

鈥淭he mentorship we have received from Queen鈥檚 Partnerships and Innovation through HI YGK and other programs over the years have helped tremendously in refining our business model, presenting our company, and getting us to this point,鈥 says Dr. Florina Truica, Chief Technology Officer of CPG. 鈥淚n particular, the HI YGK program allowed for us to meet one-on-one with experts who advised us on intellectual property strategies, industry regulations and investment readiness.鈥 CPG is now working with a cannabis company in Europe testing out one of their systems.

Notably, the HI YGK initiative also helped to re-invigorate the , a collaboration between economic development, government, and academic leaders from both the Kingston region and greater Syracuse area who have mutual interest in supporting business growth across the regions by facilitating research and development and optimizing opportunities to advance economic development in Eastern Ontario and Central/Northern New York State.

鈥淭he HI YGK project enabled a boost to the Kingston-Syracuse Pathway as institutions from both sides of the border came together to talk about lessons learned and future planning around the importance of health innovation鈥 says Dr. Jim Banting, Assistant Vice-Principal, Partnerships and Innovation.

Overall, the project was a successful collaboration that brought together partners across the Kingston health innovation ecosystem including the Queen鈥檚 , the Dunin-Deshpande Queen鈥檚 Innovation Centre, , Kingston Health Sciences Centre, St. Lawrence College and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation.

鈥淭he project showed us how well each of the partners can complement each other through our collaborative programs,鈥 says Banting. 鈥淓ven though this particular project has concluded, we still have some very important work that continues to stem from it. We look forward to continuing to serve the research community.鈥