Interoperability is key in the next revolution of healthcare so that health data is easily accessible for critical decision making for patients.

Surath Gomis, Co-Founder & Director of R&D

A vital aspect of quality healthcare is providing patients more access to monitor their own health. Although personal health monitoring devices are still in their infancy, Arma Biosciences is successfully demonstrating that patient accessibility in the digital world is where the future of healthcare is headed.

Formed in 2020, the Arma Biosciences team has repeatedly demonstrated that they have what it takes to grow, succeed and innovate in the healthcare entrepreneurship space. It is with great pleasure that H2i announces that Arma Biosciences is the recipient of the annual Temerty Innovation Prize for Student Entrepreneurship!

In its second year, the prize is been made possible by the generous gift from James and Louise Temerty and the Temerty Foundation. As an endowed prize, it will support student entrepreneurs at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and University of Toronto in perpetuity. We sat down with Co-Founder and Director of R&D Surath Gomis as he reflected on this recent honour and their overall journey to date.

Based in Toronto, Arma Biosciences is developing a new sensor technology for biomarker-informed digital healthcare. Sensors can be designed for a multitude of applications in chronic and infectious diseases and wellness monitoring, and can detect biomarkers in multiple biofluids. For their first product, they are developing a handheld finger-prick blood test for patients with heart failure, enabling the user to monitor key biomarker levels from home.

Arma Biosciences was inspired by the gap in available technologies to autonomize patient healthcare delivery. “I believe it is important to give patients agency over their own health monitoring,” Gomis says. “Interoperability is key in the next revolution of healthcare so that health data is easily accessible for critical decision making for patients. There is a race to develop technologies that satisfy these goals and I believe our sensor technology can play a part in it, and in advancing digital healthcare overall.”

When reflecting on their biggest milestones to date, Gomis shared that he is proud to be accelerating future products through partnerships with other prominent ventures. “We recently announced our partnership with Analog Devices, Inc. for the development of our first product in the heart failure space. This has been an extraordinarily productive relationship and ADI’s expertise in semiconductor manufacturing has accelerated our handheld reader and test strip development.”

While Arma Biosciences has seen many great accomplishments, like any new-and-growing venture the team has faced challenges and has had to adapt and learn as they’ve grown. Gomis recalls the stress of meeting multiple demands at once during the early-phases of Arma Biosciences.

“You wear many hats as a new venture, but it is key to figure out which hats you need to wear and when to wear those hats,” Gomis remarks. To combat the challenge of multiple demands, Gomis learned how to get more organized and implement good time-management habits. “It’s very easy to be overwhelmed with tasks, so careful planning of milestones and gating items, as well as proper delegation of tasks, is critical. There will be many parties with different asks all at once, so being clear about your plan and priorities will help manage realistic expectations and, importantly, improve your mental wellbeing.”

Based on his experiences growing their venture, the best advice Gomis can give to new ventures is to never lose sight of your vision. “You will encounter daily challenges when you are in the weeds working on our venture, and it can definitely affect your morale. When this happens, take a step back and remember the bigger picture of your venture. Talk through the path from your current tasks to that eventual goal. Also remember that if your goal was easy, it would have already been achieved. Be proud of every small victory, don’t be discouraged by obstacles, and surround yourself with a team that supports each other.”

As they continue to grow, Arma Biosciences plans to use the Temerty Innovation Prize for Student Entrepreneurship to purchase equipment that will help parallelize and scale up their daily experiments. “Future products will include wearable, implantable, and ingestible sensors for continuous monitoring applications, [so] for us, the larger our experiments, the more data we collect and the faster we can iterate designs.”

Arma Biosciences is one of the many healthcare-focused ventures emerging from the robust and growing entrepreneurship ecosystem at University of Toronto. H2i and the Temerty Foundation look forward to continuing to support and accelerate cutting-edge health innovation across the university landscape and beyond.

Congratulations again, Team Arma Biosciences!