Pitch your cancer innovation to win the

$100,000 Ernsting Entrepreneurship Award

Hosted by FACIT, Falcons’ Fortunes is Canada’s only annual pitch competition targeting cancer innovations. FACIT invites entrepreneurs and scientists to pitch their Ontario-made cancer innovation to a panel of judges and in front of a live audience. The winner, based on the BEST PITCH that convincingly tells a relatable story while sharing the commercial value of the innovation and how it will impact patients, is awarded the $100,000 investment grant. An Audience Choice award is also presented to the favourite pitch presentation as selected by attendees.

Now in its 11th year, Falcons’ Fortunes is FACIT’s premier event to celebrate and grow the entrepreneurial spirit within the cancer research community. Developing more experienced entrepreneurial scientists will drive a culture of commercialization where Ontario-based cancer research discoveries becomes Ontario-made solutions to benefit patients worldwide.

“Thank you so much and the whole FACIT team, along with the judges, for organizing such a fantastic event. Every pitch was unique and very impactful, and I felt they all deserve to win. I am honoured and ecstatic to receive this award…. I am so proud to be a Canadian citizen (since 2012) living in Ontario. The support and the environment for innovation are amazing, so thank you and FACIT for this opportunity. It is a dream come true for me.”

Run Ze Gao, Co-founder of Air Microfluidic Systems Inc, 2021 Falcons’ Fortunes Winner

Pitch Competition Details

Prizes 

  • $100,000 Ernsting Entrepreneurship Award (*see note below) + $400 cash prize, as selected by the judging panel and based on the best pitch.
  • Audience Choice Award is selected by the audience who votes for their favourite pitch presentation.

Winners of each award will be announced shortly after the competition during the evening networking event.

*Note: the $100K award is an investment grant managed through FACIT’s Prospects Fund and follows its terms and conditions. Funding is subject to further due diligence following the competition and approval by FACIT’s Board of Directors is required to finalize awarding the prize.

Eligibility

Falcons’ Fortunes pitch competition is open to any Ontario-based start-up or entrepreneurial researcher developing a cancer-related research idea or innovation with commercial potential.

To be considered for the pitch competition, completed Innovation Summary forms must be received by FACIT before the deadline on February 16, 2024.

Pitch Competition Format

Six finalists will be selected by FACIT based on the online Innovation Summary submissions. The finalists will appear at the Falcons’ Fortunes event to present a 10-minute pitch in front of a live audience and panel of judges, followed by 5-minutes of Q&A.

While the innovation must be novel and based on sound technological and scientific rigor, this competition is for the BEST PITCH presentation. The objective is to convincingly share the big picture idea by telling a relatable story and addressing the following questions:

  • What is the innovation and the scientific or technological basis?
  • What is the problem or unmet need?
  • Who is the target customer and what is the addressable market?
  • What is the key differentiator of your innovation and its commercial value?
  • How would you use the funds awarded ($100K) to advance the innovation towards patient benefit?

Other considerations for the presentation (i.e. for the Q&A) include an understanding of the intellectual property (IP) position and any potential challenges.

Judging Criteria

The judges will select the entrepreneur whose presentation best articulates the market value and patient impact of their cancer innovation and how the $100,000 investment prize would be used to advance the innovation towards benefiting patients. The following criteria will be used to evaluate the pitches:

  • Has the pitch clearly articulated the value proposition?
  • Has the pitch demonstrated an addressable need and market opportunity?
  • Has the pitch demonstrated competitive differentiation?
  • Has the pitch described the use of proceeds?
  • How effective and convincing was the overall pitch?

Pitch Training Support 

FACIT will provide pitch preparation training and resources to help selected entrepreneurs refine their innovation story, pitch deck, and to polish the delivery of their pitch presentation.

Falcons’ Fortunes Event 

FACIT’s premier event including the live pitch competition and networking reception is attended by many in the health innovation and start-up ecosystems from across the province.

Date: April 25, 2024
Time: 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm keynote and pitches, followed by reception and awards
Location: Vantage Venues – 16th floor (150 King Street West at University Ave) in downtown Toronto

Selected finalists must appear in-person to pitch at the Falcons’ Fortunes event. For those based outside of the Greater Toronto Area, FACIT will reimburse travel expenses to attend the in-person pitch event. Please inquire in advance.

Key Dates

Deadline to submit Innovation Summary form
Announcement of pitch finalists
Pitch preparation webinar
1:1 pitch coaching sessions
Falcons’ Fortunes event

February 16, 2024
March 8, 2024
April 9, 2024
April 16 or 17, 2024
April 25, 2024


Past Falcons’ Fortunes Winners

SEARCH FILTERS:

Innovation Type
Cancer Type
Current Funding Stage
FACIT Fund


Sort by:

Yellowbird Diagnostics Inc.

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Yellowbird Diagnostics’ novel PET imaging tracer, NeuCaVis, is a radiofluorinated fructose molecule providing higher sensitivity and specificity than fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), the current clinical gold standard PET contrast agent.

Virano Therapeutics

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Virano is bringing improved and safer gene therapies to patients. They are developing a pipeline of the next generation of enhanced gene therapies using Vector Potentiators (VEPO) and vector therapeutics for high unmet need diseases through in-house discovery and partnerships with global gene therapy players.

DTPx Therapeutics (UHN)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Other
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Falcons’ Fortunes, Prospects
DTPx Therapeutics (University Health Network) is aiming to prevent relapse in colorectal cancer patients using a novel cell-based immunotherapy targeting a newly identified group of hibernating and drug tolerant cancer cells.

Point Surgical Inc.

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Falcons’ Fortunes, Prospects
Instant and accurate intra-surgical identification of cancer types or subtypes in under 10 seconds through combining laser vaporization and mass spectrometry

OICR

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Enhanced target screening for WD Repeat Platform to accelerate the identification of targets that with higher probability of generating clinical candidates.

OICR (Dr. L. Stein)

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Target Prioritization Platform – an interactive, web-based application to interrogate curated knowledge databases. It leverages genomic, ‘omics’, pathway annotations and clinical data that allows users to explore and view biologically related data.

Hyivy Health

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof Of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose, Prospects
Remote patient monitoring, pelvic rehab system for gynecological and colorectal cancer patients and their clinicians

HDAX Therapeutics

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Other
Funding Stage:
Proof Of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
A blood-brain barrier permeable HDAC6 selective inhibitors for CNS cancers based on proprietary technology that unlocks novel binding mechanism for improved next-gen targeting.

OICR (QuAccel)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Innovative quantum computing based technology (QuAccel) to screen protein-ligand interactions with higher speed and accuracy for drug discovery projects

Air Microfluidic Systems Inc.

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Falcons’ Fortunes, Prospects
Air microfluidics-enabled active compression sleeve for treating breast cancer-related lymphedema

Tenomix

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Other
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose, Prospects
The first-ever automated, bench-top robotic scanning device for the detection of lymph nodes in surgically removed colorectal cancer tissue, making this step less labour intensive, less costly, and more reliable resulting in better patient care.

Sunnybrook Research Institute (Dr. H. Leong)

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Prostate
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
At-home semen-based screening test for prostate cancer that allows easy and fast specimen collection. It consists of a compact collection kit which preserves all genetic material and then is mailed to the lab for biomarker analysis.

doctalk

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
A virtual space for physicians to better collaborate with each other and with organizations around pharmaceutical information.

Bridge7 Oncology

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Falcons’ Fortunes, Prospects
Scaling clinical expertise with AI to automate and improve the delivery of cancer care

Replica Analytics (Aetion)

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Prospects
Modeling software to generate synthetic data that protects the individual privacy of data subjects and maintains the statistical properties of real data. This enables easy, fast and effective access to high utility data that is made portable through data simulators

Multimagnetics Inc.

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Hand-held photoacoustic device to detect tumour margins and residual disease in the surgical cavity during breast-conserving surgery

University of Toronto (Dr. R. Laposa)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Development of small-molecule inhibitors of mitochondrial RNA polymerase (POLRMT) as an anticancer strategy

Radiant Biotherapeutics

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
An antibody platform company developing multi-valent, multi-specific therapeutics, called Multabodies, to deliver transformative therapies for patients.

cTRL Therapeutics

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Compass Rose
Harnessing the power of cTRLs (circulating tumor-reactive lymphocytes) in the blood to unlock the next generation of solid tumor cancer therapies.

Xpan Inc

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Compass Rose, Falcons’ Fortunes, Prospects
Xpan’s Universal Trocar System is a minimally invasive surgical innovation – a first of its kind, radially expanding trocar that can be tailored by surgeons during laparoscopic procedures to accommodate various sized instruments.

OICR

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
WD Repeat Platform

Sunnybrook Research Institute

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Algorithm to predict breast cancer patient response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy

University of Toronto (Dr. I. Staglijar)

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
A unique system for detecting protein-protein interactions (PPI) in real time called the Split Intein-Mediated Protein Ligation (SIMPL).

Polumiros

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Falcons’ Fortunes, Prospects
ReFilx, a polymeric soft tissue filler for the permanent restoration of breast tissue defects following lumpectomy

Talon Pharmaceuticals

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Heme
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Developing a novel series of small molecule drugs to induce apoptosis and impede cancer cell proliferation

Notch Therapeutics

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Notch Therapeutics has developed best-in-class, off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived synthetic T cells of unprecedented scale and functionality to further the advancement of cellular immunotherapies for patients and their families.

OICR

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
ADC-Linker Platform

QurCan Therapeutics (formerly Nanology Labs)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Compass Rose, Prospects
QurCan Therapeutics is fostering scientific creativity and pioneering a proprietary nanoparticle drug delivery technology called TERP to accelerate ​advanced nanomedicine-based therapeutics.

16-Bit

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Prospects
Automatic analysis of screening mammograms for breast cancer

DNAstack

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Compass Rose, Prospects
Development of a cloud platform for genomics data management, analysis and sharing

Dalriada Therapeutics

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Heme
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Prospects
Developing a DT-1 class of small molecules, for the treatment of leukemia, with selective cancer cell-killing activity and reduced toxicity due to a unique cloaking mechanism.

KA Imaging

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Other
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Compass Rose, Prospects
World’s first and only portable dual-energy detector, enabling bone and soft tissue differentiation in a single, highly sensitive x-ray exposure.

Radialis Medical

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Prospects
Radialis Medical is developing an advanced Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) system for highly sensitive molecular (or functional) imaging of small pre-invasive cancerous breast lesions independent of breast tissue density.

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
pancreas
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Falcons’ Fortunes
Development of a Multi-mechanistic Vaccinia Virus-based Platform for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

OICR

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Molecular Profiling for Anthracycline Sensitivity in Patients receiving Chemo for Breast Cancer

Propellon Therapeutics Inc. (Triphase Accelerator)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Heme
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Compass Rose
Developing potent and selective small molecule WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of leukemias and solid tumours

Pattern Pharma (formerly Realist Pharma)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Prospects
Evaluation of survival benefit and preclinical proof of concept of a novel ganglioside-based cancer vaccine.

Queen’s University

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Heme
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Development of Novel CYP26 Inhibitors for the treatment of AML

Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Compass Rose
Next-generation radiopharmaceuticals for precision medicine (antibody conjugate for lung cancer), providing a safer approach to targeted radiotherapy by helping the drug clear from normal, healthy tissues and reducing toxicity

Novera Therapeutics Inc.

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Heme
Funding Stage:
Seed
Fund:
Compass Rose
Development of BCL6 inhibitors for the treatment of hematological cancers

FocusOnCare

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Falcons’ Fortunes
ChemoTracker App Development

Capnostics

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Other
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
CellMate product for esophageal cell sampling. Acquired by PAVmed.

Sunnybrook Research Institute

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
External Clinical Validation Study of a Quantitative Ultrasound Spectral Analysis Platform For Monitoring Tumor Response In Women Receiving Neoadjuvent Chemotherapy for Locally Advanced Breast Cancer

OICR

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Ring Study to Evaluate the PRedicTive brEast Cancer Test (PRoTECT)

Sunnybrook Research Institute

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Evaluation of immune responses engendered in CEA transgenic mice by a vaccine formulation composed of a recombinant CEA N domain antigen and GSK AS15 adjuvant

Ziliomics

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose, Prospects
Development of heliotrope bioinformatics software platform

Sunnybrook Research Institute

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Falcons’ Fortunes
Ultra-Low Dose Microbubbles for Cancer

OICR

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Prospects
Fully synthetic, self-adjuvanting vaccines incorporating tumor-associated antigenic epitopes for cancer immunotherapy

Turnstone Biologics Inc

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Series A,B,C
Fund:
Compass Rose
Developing next-generation tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) therapies by selecting the most potent and tumor-reactive T cells for potential treatment across multiple solid tumors

Fluorinov Pharma (Trillium)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Heme
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Compass Rose
Breakthrough medicinal chemistry technology enabling fluorine atoms linked to drug candidates to improve therapeutic potency, stability and safety. The lead candidate, FV162, is an oral proteasome inhibitor for the treatment of blood cancers.

OICR (Cellax)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Cellax is a self-assembling nanoparticle drug-polymer conjugate that selectively targets tumour cells for enhanced cancer treatment with fewer side effects.

XLV Diagnostics

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Breast
Funding Stage:
Series A,B,C
Fund:
Compass Rose
X-ray light valve (XLV) for low-cost digital mammography

Privacy Analytics (IQVIA)

Innovation Type:
Informatics & AI
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Compass Rose
Software unlocking the vast potential of medical data without compromising individual privacy or causing unacceptable distortion of the data

Arrayus Technologies (formerly Harmonic Medical)

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Liver
Funding Stage:
Series A,B,C
Fund:
Compass Rose
A system using ultrasound to both detect and treat tumours in bone and liver for the relief of pain without surgery and without expensive imaging equipment

McMaster University

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Development of Radiolabeled Insulin Probe

Triphase Accelerator Corporation

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Series A,B,C
Fund:
Compass Rose
Triphase Accelerator is dedicated to advancing novel compounds from pre-IND through Phase 2 clinical proof-of-concept studies using a unique, science-based model that is faster and more cost-effective than traditional pharmaceutical industry approaches.

Kapplex

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Compass Rose
A Digital Microfluidics Platform for High-Throughput Apoptosis Screening

Xagenic

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Compass Rose
Point-of-care platform for decentralized, rapid molecular diagnostic testing including GenEplex platform for clinically accepted leukemia biomarkers.

DLVR Therapeutics

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Liver
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Novel nanoparticle delivery technology

University of Toronto (Receptor-OncoTek)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Other
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Preclinical development of PoLi-PTX, Intraperitoneal Ovarian Cancer Therapy

DVS Sciences (Fluidigm/Standard BioTools)

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Multiple
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Compass Rose
Flow cytometer-mass spectrometer for multi-parametric cell and bead analysis

UHN (TorCell Therapeutics)

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Heme
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Novel T-cell Immunotherapy (autologous cellular therapy)

UHN

Innovation Type:
Therapeutics
Cancer Type:
Heme
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Development of novel chemical proteosome inhibitors

Sunnybrook Research Institute

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Liver
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Glypican-3: a novel marker for the early diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma

UHN

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Liver
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Novel Radio Frequency Ablation Technology for Treatment of Solid Tumours

ArcticDx

Innovation Type:
Diagnostics
Cancer Type:
Other
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
Development of a colon cancer risk prediction diagnostic tool

Robarts Research Institute

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Prostate
Funding Stage:
Proof of Concept
Fund:
Compass Rose
3D ultrasound-guided intraoperative and dynamic minimally invasive trans-perineal prostate therapy and biopsy platform

Profound Medical

Innovation Type:
Medical Technologies
Cancer Type:
Prostate
Funding Stage:
Exit
Fund:
Compass Rose
MRI-guided transurethral ultrasound therapy for localized prostate cancer

Naming of the Ernsting Entrepreneurship Award


In 2016, the Falcons’ Fortunes prize was named the “Ernsting Entrepreneurship Award” in honour of Dr. Mark Ernsting, Senior Biomedical Engineer at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research whose life was tragically cut short in December 2015. Mark exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit that FACIT strives to build and support within Ontario.


    QUESTIONS?

    For more details about the competition, contact us for more information.