This is a newsletter about regulatory hacking featuring (mostly) Canadian startups.
Every week, I contextualize a Canadian startup in the legislative landscape.
Because all start-ups need a policy strategy to succeed.
🧪spotlight: aspect biosystems
🗑️space: galactic litterbugs (New Yorker)
🙃for fun: grand challenges generator
🎵tune: the beths - jump rope gazers
spotlight: Aspect Biosystems
Taking a break from the rewards/banking data train. 🚂
“Real tissues for real-world applications.”
I wanted to spotlight Aspect Biosystem because the company uses a lot of combinations of words that don’t mean much (or enough) to me, like:
bioprinted therapeutics OR
microfluidic 3D printing.
Aspect is a Vancouver-based biotech startup, founded in 2013, that has developed what it calls pioneering technology that does 3D bioprinting of living, human tissue. The startup claims that its technology enables advances in the understanding of fundamental biology, disease research, regenerative medicine, and the development of novel therapeutics. They also engage on Twitter, which is a nice touch for a biotech.
Musculoskeletal - injuries and disorders (3D bioprinted meniscus tissue) 😲
Metabolic - disorders and diseases (3D bioprinted pancreatic tissue) 😲
Earlier this year, they closed a $20M USD series A financing round. They’ve also recently collaborated with Genome BC’s GeneSolve program. Earlier in the summer, the Globe and Mail noted that Canada’s big investors are missing the biotech boom. Worth watching whether this company stays and ~commercializes~ in Canada.
*Also notable is that that Aspect is gifting two research labs one of their printers for 6 mo.
I don’t have a ton to say about them from a regulatory perspective - more flagging - did you know we could do this? PRINT TISSUE?! And pointing to what is on the horizon. “Personalized” medicine (also referred to as “precision” medicine) is a field that tailors medical treatments to the individual characteristics of each patient. Hmmm, isn’t that what medicine is SUPPOSED to do, you wonder?
Heads up that the Federal Minister of Health announced a $150M investment over five years (in 2019) to accelerate precision medicine for cancers. As personalize/precision medicine becomes a “norm” of sorts, I hope it will be accessible to all. Stay on it.
PS. Totally okay to read Wikipedia’s page on Organ Printing as a backgrounder, I say.
🗑️ The Elusive Peril of Space Junk
This is a beauty long read from the New Yorker that’s all about galactic litterbugs. Turns out, even outer space has a “secret closet,” and it’s everywhere, moves really fast, and can blow things up. As a result, we have policy documents like: the UN’s Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines or NASA’s International Space Station (ISS)Orbital Debris Collision Avoidance Process.
Will we be [or get] any good at dealing with space junk? Well, are we any good at dealing with littering on Earth? Provincial lands are protected by the Ontario Environmental Protection Act, which prohibits any unauthorized waste dumping and can enforce a whole bunch of fines. Also in Ontario, we have Bill 28, Cigarette and Cigar Butt Litter Prevention Act, 2010 (*bonus points for having BUTT in your legislation) which is a little amendment that increased the fine for BUTTS from $2,000 to $3,000 on a person’s first offence. In Toronto, littering comes with a fine of up to $500. Have you ever heard of someone *actually* getting fined for littering? Ya, me either. 🤷♀️
Does NASA still owe Australia $400 for littering in 1973?
More reading, if you want to join my trashy wormhole: 🐛
legislative pages: data justice + COVID19
With the second wave - cresting? on the horizon? I’ve been snacking through these excellent essays from Meatspace Press that were published in August. I’m fascinated by the range of thinking that is and has occurred *during* the pandemic, and each piece is totally digestible and perfect “food for thought.” Plus, there’s an online launch event today.
I am also making my way through If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future. Slow goings, but would love a mini-book club on it. You in?
And chipping away at: Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, the book-version of this viral January 2019 BuzzFeed piece from Anne Helen Peterson.
While it’s worth nothing that the “Canadian” millennial story is distinct from the American one in two pretty important ways: the comparative cost of a post-secondary education, and the financial burden of health insurance, Generation Squeeze goes a good job of articulating our generation’s challenges.
Millions of younger Canadians are increasingly facing a 360-degree squeeze created by high costs for things like housing and child care, stagnant earnings and mounting debts (including public debts like climate change).
These pressures combine in ways that make it difficult to achieve the basic milestones of adulthood, and in ways that leave younger Canadians and future generations with less opportunities and new burdens compared to the past.
☝️That's called generational inequity.
I was also pretty “into” this recent read from The Verge - How a couple of mom-and-pop Etsy shops made millions off masks. It’s part of understanding the emergence of new micro-economies in the pandemic.
🤷 random, but grand challenges
*This is more of a wonk comment than a technology one, but I made a randomized grand challenge generator. I just want to remind policy pros not to get too caught up in the semantics of naming a “challenge” before we’ve designed it. Also, I need hobbies.
🪕 tune: The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers
A lovely New Zealand indie pop band that I currently have on repeat.
Like we're slowly coming together
Yeah it's slowly coming out about us
Oh I, I think I love you
And I think that I loved you the whole time
How could this happen
We were jump rope gazers in the middle of the night