Imagine a device strapped to your wrist that can detect if you're experiencing a drug overdose and notify first responders instantly.
That's the goal behind a Coquitam-based firm and thanks to a recent $30,000 grant, it's set to take another step forward to making the vision a reality.
ODEN Health Solutions Inc. was crowned the overall winner of a competition at Simon Fraser University (SFU) that showcases a diverse group of businesses that aim to make meaningful change to the community.
The 11th installment of the Coast Capital Venture Prize contest featured a variety of outlets — from sustainable fashion accessories to window-washing robots — by SFU students, staff, alumni and faculty founders.
With the money, ODEN is putting together, what it calls, a "life-saving" device capable of monitoring vital signs of the person who wears it — regardless of their social or economic situation or geographical location.
This includes detecting opioid overdoses and immediately alerting emergency services so the person can receive medial treatment as soon as possible.
"This win provides recognition and validation of all the hard work our team has been putting in, as well as confirmation that the problem we are solving is not only important to us, but important to the whole community," says Alex McGovern, noting this would be the first product ODEN will have produced since its inception in 2020.
"The prize dollars and services will allow us to invest in further growth, attract investment and help us prepare our product for release, adding to the momentum ODEN has already accomplished and help us to achieve our goal of healthcare equality."
McGovern is an SFU alum after he graduated the B.C. post-secondary school with a biomedical engineering degree.
There, a statement to the Tri-City News explains he received support to develop ODEN through several programs, including the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship and the Coast Capital Venture Connection incubator program.
"Entrepreneurship can be somewhat of a mystery for engineers who are more accustomed to wrestling with the laws of physics than mapping the needs, wants, and desires of customers, but Alex has taken it all in stride and kept on learning and advancing," explains Venture Connection Mentor-in-Residence Doug Fast.
"I believe he’s poised to make a significant difference in the lives of individuals suffering from substance use disorder."
ODEN Health Solutions Inc. was one of eight winners from the 2022 edition of the venture prize competition, totalling $75,000 in cash and prizes.
For more information on SFU's annual contest, you can visit the school's website.