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Early Screening Tool For Osteoporosis To Receive Up To $2 Million Of Support From INOVAIT Focus Fund To Support Commercialization-Focused R&D Projects

January 23, 2023

Government of Canada announces the recipients of support from INOVAIT’s Focus Fund

On January 18, 2023, INOVAIT and the Government of Canada announced a major investment in the field of image-guided therapy (IGT).

Over 2.3 million Canadians are living with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures can be life-threatening with osteoporotic fractures occurring most commonly in the hip, wrist, spine and shoulder. For individuals who sustain a hip fracture, 22% of women and 33% of men who suffer a hip fracture will die within one year and only 44% of people discharged from hospital for a hip fracture return home; of the rest, 10% go to another hospital, 27% go to rehabilitation care, and 17% go to long-term care facilities. Osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures can be irreversibly debilitating, as it can cause chronic pain, reduced mobility, and depression.

Osteoporosis Canada together with collaborators GE HealthCare Canada, Canadian Association of Radiologists, True North Imaging, and the Centre for Technology Adoption for Aging in the North is excited to announce that 16 Bit is launching a 3-year project that will focus on product iteration and clinical evidence generation to support widespread clinical adoption and reimbursement for Rho™.

Rho utilizes a deep convolutional neural network to assign a Rho Score that corresponds to a patient’s likelihood of having low bone mineral density. If Rho detects that a patient likely has low BMD, a Rho Report is sent to the radiologist. The radiologist can choose to include Rho findings in their report. The referring physician can then conduct a clinical fracture risk assessment, and, if necessary, refer the patient for a DXA. Early identification of risk allows for initiation of prevention or treatment strategies to slow or reverse the loss of bone mineral density. Rho is Licensed by Health Canada, and has FDA Breakthrough Device status, (but is not available for sale in the US, FDA authorization pending).

Catriona Syme, PhD, Head of Research and Quality at 16 Bit; Mark Cicero, Co-CEO & Co-founder 16 Bit; Dr. Famida Jiwa, President & CEO at Osteoporosis Canada and Ravi Jain, Director, Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy.

16 Bit will work closely with early customers to pilot Rho™ in real-world clinical environments to obtain their feedback and iterate on product features. This project will enable key stakeholders in Canada to evaluate the impact of Rho™ on existing clinical practice and population health.

Our project was one of 14 to be selected in the inaugural Focus Fund call for applications. Along with our collaborators, we expect to invest $6 million over three years, with INOVAIT contributing $2 million through their Focus Fund to support our project. The Focus Fund investment will support our three-year commercialization-focused R&D projects associated with Rho™, which have the potential to greatly improve patient outcomes and reduce the overall cost of healthcare in Canada by opportunistically screening for low bone mineral density.

Funding for this project was provided in part by INOVAIT through the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund. 

Ce projet a été financé en partie par INOVAIT dans le cadre du Fonds stratégique pour l’innovation du gouvernement du Canada.


INOVAIT is a pan-Canadian network funded by the Government of Canada and hosted at the Sunnybrook Research Institute with the objective of building a truly integrated image- guided therapy ecosystem, fueling continuous innovation that revolutionizes healthcare globally. Through connecting, educating, and investing in the industry’s brightest minds and most promising ventures, INOVAIT will support and encourage collaborative development and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into medical technologies.

Financé par le gouvernement du Canada et situé à l’Institut de recherche Sunnybrook, INOVAIT est un réseau pancanadien dont l’objectif est de créer un écosystème de thérapie guidée par imagerie véritablement intégré qui favorise l’innovation continue et révolutionne les soins de santé à l’échelle mondiale. Grâce à l’établissement de liens, à la formation et à la réalisation d’investissements au profit des plus brillants cerveaux et des initiatives les plus prometteuses du secteur, INOVAIT soutiendra et stimulera le développement collaboratif ainsi que l’intégration de l’intelligence artificielle (IA) dans les technologies médicales.

About Osteoporosis Canada

Osteoporosis Canada (OC) is the only national Canadian organization serving people who have, or are at risk for, osteoporosis. The organization works to educate, empower and support individuals and communities in bone health and in the risk-reduction and treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis Canada provides medically accurate information to patients, healthcare professionals and the public and was the world’s first organization dedicated to osteoporosis, the first to establish guidelines for long-term treatment and exercise, and the first to introduce fracture risk assessment.

© Osteoporosis Canada, 2024
Charitable Registration No. 89551 0931 RR 0001