AltaML formed a strategic alliance with Venture capital Amplitude, a large Canadian company focused on life sciences and the creation of precision medicine businesses. The partnership will seek to leverage the possibility of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the biotechnology sector.
“AI is a horizontal enabler – there’s no AI industry per se. You actually have to do something,” AltaML co-founder Cory Janssen told Taproot. “So this example of a real team within the life sciences really benefits from the talent that’s here.”
The Edmonton-developed AI studio will share a team member with Amplitude as part of the alliance: Alex Hope, AltaML’s data science health lead. He will help identify investment opportunities, with a particular focus on Alberta, as well as “projects where both companies can work together to create, build and develop a talent base by combining a keen sense of AI with expertise in life sciences”.
AltaML, which began developing AI software in Edmonton in 2017, will have access to Amplitude’s expertise to further the company’s health focus, particularly in commercialization.
“Having access to this network and these connections opens the door to opportunities for us right here in Edmonton,” Janssen said.
“I would say there are benefits to this for any startup or researcher looking to commercialize innovations at the intersection of health and data.”
In turn, AltaML will provide AI expertise for Amplitude’s portfolio.
With the largest pure-play AI team in the province, AltaML will be able to participate in the due diligence phase of the investment in addition to accelerating or developing new ideas in the future.
“When we talk about this convergence…areas that used to be totally disparate come together, that’s how you really see the promise of AI in the province coming together,” Janssen explained.
“We believe Alberta can be a real player and take its place on the national and North American stage in AI and life sciences.”
Amplitude, based in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, invests in a $200 million fund that closed in June 2021. It works to accelerate start-ups, as well as building new ventures like Radiant Biotherapeutics.
Alberta Enterprise Corporation was an investor in Amplitude’s first fund and said he chose to strengthen the company because of its focus on life sciences.
“We knew they would share our mission to accelerate the sector in Alberta,” said Kristina Williams, CEO and President of AEC, in a press release.
“This strategic alliance with AltaML will strengthen their ability to make a difference for Alberta businesses.”