Southern Ontario Pharmaceutical and Health Innovation Ecosystem
Powering life sciences innovation in Ontario
SOPHIE is a catalyst for the commercialization and scale-up of innovative technologies in Ontario. The SOPHIE program was established as a partnership between the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Innovation Factory and the Synapse Consortium.
SOPHIE brings together Innovation Factory’s commercialization services with the Synapse Life Science Consortium’s strategic network to leverage access to Hamilton’s unique life sciences capabilities and research expertise.
Leverage more with SOPHIE
Through the CAMEDA grant program, you can leverage up to $100,000 in matching funds to access expertise and facilities required to build up domestic manufacturing know-how and establish manufacturing capacity in Canada by launching a project with world-class contract development and manufacturing organizations.
Synapse Pitch Competition
Innovation Factory’s Synapse Life Science Pitch Competition is designed to help move innovative life science products and services out of the lab and into the market. The competition is the culmination of a cohort commercialization training and mentorship program that supports businesses to prepare for investment and growth opportunities.
Synapse Life Science Consortium
The Synapse Life Science Consortium is the formal regional cluster organization for the life sciences ecosystem in the greater Hamilton region. Acting as a strategic broker, Synapse helps to accelerate the commercialization of healthcare and life science innovation, and celebrates the successes of industry leaders and new startups in the Hamilton region.
Partnerships that move you forward
SOPHIE is a catalyst for the commercialization and scale-up of innovative technologies being produced by life science firms across Ontario. Our partnerships accelerate commercialization efforts, enabling health-tech innovators to further develop intellectual property, obtain critical clinical data or undertake key product testing and evaluation.
Meet our team
Alex leads Synapse’s efforts to facilitate the commercialization of innovation across Hamilton’s life sciences ecosystem. In this capacity he supports innovators and entrepreneurs to succeed in Canada’s most dynamic research and education health cluster. Through Synapse, Alex is focused on raising the profile of Hamilton and attracting new companies and investments to the city.
Born in Ottawa and raised in Hamilton, Alex is a proud Hamiltonian who is passionate about contributing to his home town’s economic development and prosperity. Prior to joining Synapse, he worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada), Harvard’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Deloitte Consulting (in both Canada and US) and most recently the Massachusetts Health Connector.
As Program Manager of the SOPHIE and HEALTHI programs, Alek works to support all companies and institutions that make up the Hamilton Life Science Cluster. Alek is driven by helping life science companies commercialize their innovative products. He supports healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs that are in late stages of commercialization and in need of financing to get to technology validation and first sale. Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Alek has an Armenian background. Alek holds a BSc (Hons.) in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Ottawa and has previously worked with healthcare technology startups and medical device companies in product development and data analytics.
Brandon McIntyre began working at Innovation Factory in 2023 and is an experienced graduate researcher and teaching assistant. Brandon has over a decade of experience working in the Canadian Armed Forces where he has led, instructed, and managed a variety of teams demonstrating a capacity to work collaboratively and effectively as part of a team. Brandon is an accomplished academic researcher in both wet and dry lab environments where he employed strong organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills. Brandon holds a Master’s of Science degree in Biology from McMaster University, and a Honours Biomedical Sciences degree from Brock University. In addition to working for the Canadian Armed forces Brandon enjoys camping, exercising, board games, and spending time with family and friends.
Help to bring your innovation to market
Apply to the SOPHIE program to begin your collaborative project and access clinical and research expertise, and evidence to commercialize your innovation. The SOPHIE Program bridges your access to Hamilton’s unique life sciences capabilities, research expertise and the financing to help achieve technology validation.
One of only four Canadian Universities consistently ranked in the world’s top 100, McMaster has a proud tradition of academic and research excellence. McMaster University collaborates across disciplines to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges, working together to improve people’s lives and contributing to their global knowledge base.
- Named Canada’s most research-intensive university for fourth straight year in 2020
- Ranked in the world’s top 70 by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2021
- Home to over 70 research centres and institutes
- Named one of Hamilton-Niagara’s top employers for five consecutive years
Hamilton Health Sciences
Hamilton Health Sciences a community of 15,000 staff, physicians, researchers, and volunteers that proudly serves southwestern Ontario. It is the most comprehensive hospital network in Ontario, and the only hospital in the province that cares for all ages, from pre-birth to end-of-life. As the largest employer in Hamilton, Hamilton Health Sciences plays a vital role in training the next generation of health professionals.
- Ranked as the number four research hospital in Canada in 2020
- Largest employer in the city of Hamilton
- $5.7 million Canadian Institute of Health Research Grant awarded for
- Sepsis research
- Named to Forbes Canada’s best employers 2021
CREATE (CentRE for dAta science and digiTal hEalth) was founded to support research and innovation at Hamilton Health Sciences. The multidisciplinary team is made up of specialists in health systems, data engineering, data science, software engineering and interoperability. CREATE’s mission is to partner with scientists and innovators to invent the future of health care.
The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is committed to making a difference in people’s lives and creating a lasting future for the community through integrated health services and internationally recognized programs. Their threefold mission is to provide dynamic research, revolutionary methods in health sciences education, and the highest standard of clinical care in a spirit of compassion, innovation, and commitment.
- Named one of the Hamilton-Niagara’s top employers
- 99% of patients would recommend to family and friends
Mohawk College ranks among the top 20 colleges in Canada for applied research, with a focus on electronic and mobile health solutions, additive manufacturing, and energy distribution. Recognized as a leader in health and technology education, Mohawk College is also one of the largest trainers of apprentices in Ontario.
- Named one of Canada’s greenest employers for eight consecutive years
- Named one of Hamilton-Niagara’s top employers for eight consecutive years 86% of graduates are working within six months of graduating
- Ranked as the number four research college in Canada in 2020
Innovation Factory is a not-for-profit business accelerator, serving as the catalyst for technology innovation in the greater Hamilton area since 2011. From ideation to commercialization and scale-up; Innovation Factory provides business services, training, mentorship, and strategic connections to drive market adoption, leverage intellectual property, and increase revenues, investment, and jobs. Innovators can also access sector-specific resources including exclusive smart transportation test environments and data; and a formal life science and health innovation ecosystem.
- Met with over 2,200 unique companies and clients since inception
- Ventures have received $425+ million in funding across all industrial sectors
Synapse is the formal regional cluster organization for the life sciences ecosystem in the greater Hamilton region. An initiative of Innovation Factory and its community partners, Synapse supports efforts and projects that magnify the impact of collective action across the cluster ecosystem and accelerate the commercialization of life science innovation. Synapse strives to support all organizations that make up the Hamilton life science cluster, celebrating the strengths and successes of industry leaders and new start-ups, as well as promoting the region as an attractive place to live, work and invest.
Founded in 2016, the Consortium brings together leaders from across the region, including private- and public-sector organizations who saw opportunity for greater collaboration and coordination across the cluster. Synapse Consortium partners represent the bulk of life science research and economic activity in Hamilton.