An expected commitment of $2 million from a combination of private investors, foundations and federal funds will allow the Toronto-based company, LegWorks, to mass produce an innovative, affordable prosthetic knee for amputees in developing countries, according to a press release.
LegWorks began the project based on its All-Terrain Knee (AT-Knee) with a $100,000 proof-of-concept grant from Grand Challenges Canada 3 years ago.
“Five years ago, Grand Challenges Canada began seed funding ‘Bold Ideas with Big Impact’ in global health; today, Canada and developing countries are reaping part of the harvest with the creation of innovative companies like LegWorks, which are serving humanitarian purposes,” Peter A. Singer, OC, MD, MPH, FRSC, Grand Challenges Canada CEO, said in the press release. “We are proud of the success demonstrated by the researchers behind LegWorks, proud that such a high level of private funding has been attracted to scale-up this innovation, and proudly looking forward to helping launch many more such companies in the months and years to come.”
The contribution from the federal government is part of a $10 million strategic partnership fund provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) for Grand Challenges Canada innovations meant to improve health in developing countries. Other investors include MaRS Innovation, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Ontario Centres of Excellence, as well as a number of private investors.
The AT-Knee was developed at Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and is designed for improved stability, fit and maintenance, according to the release. It also can be used in harsh environments, including water.
LegWorks plans to sell 37,000 units within the first 5 years through distributors, non-governmental organizations, prosthesis clinics and government rehab facilities in both high-income countries and the developing world.
The device will be taken to market this summer, according to the release.