Health Canada

Drug Checking Technology Challenge

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Next steps for the finalists

  • Pilot Testing Phase: January 2020 to December 2020
  • Grand Prize Winner Announced: Spring 2021

Malcolm Eade

Handheld Raman with Amplifi Trace Drug ID Kit

Spectra Plasmonics

Spectra’s solution allows precise identification of the components present in a substance, including what cutting agents and fentanyl analogues are present, in a process that is as portable and simple to use as a test kit. The combination of speed, ease of use, and detailed results also enables proactive measures to be taken with regional drug strategy groups by offering near-real time data on substances in the community.


Alexander Boukin and Ari Forman

Scatr Series One


Alex Boukin and Ari Forman (Ontario) are developing a cutting-edge dual spectrometer that will challenge the standard for overdose prevention. By obtaining and analyzing both Raman and Near-Infrared spectra, the device will provide instant, real-time reporting on the identity and concentration of drug mixtures and their analogues. Utilizing a cloud-based machine learning infrastructure, the Series One will continuously update itself to reflect a constantly increasing sample size and the latest in spectroscopy science. The data will be presented in a user-friendly interface designed for health workers in the field without the need for chemical analysis training.

Dr. Dan Werb and Dr. Drew Hall

A smartphone-based drug checking technology and data dissemination tool

DoseCheck Technologies

Dan Werb and Drew Hall are developing a smartphone-based portable drug checking technology to detect toxic adulterants in street drugs. The device uses non-destructive electronic interrogation of the sample and then transmits data to an app for analysis that provides users with quantitative information about their drug sample. This information is then aggregated to provide information about trends in the composition of the street drug market. Because the technology employs disposable sensors, it can be continually adjusted to account for the emergence of new adulterants and toxic chemicals in the street drug supply.


Lead Applicant Organization Proposal Title
Dr. Dao Hinh Nguyen Scintrex Trace Corp. Improvement of GC-SID for the detection of Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogs
Gavin W. Huang 5Bay Healthcare PANOS Drug Detector
Dr. James Wylde Greenlight Analytical Inc. Advanced Narcotics Analyzer for Field Applications
Dr. Chris Gill Applied Environmental Research Laboratories – Vancouver Island University HarmCheck: Rapid, Quantitative Opioid Drug Checking by Paper Spray Mass Spectrometry (PS-MS)
Malcolm Eade Spectra Plasmonics Raman-based Drug Analysis System
Dr. Jean-Francois Masson Université de Montréal SERS instrument for counting molecules in injectable drugs
Alexander Boukin and Ari Forman Scatr Scatr Series One
Dr. Dan Werb and Dr. Drew Hall DoseCheck Technologies A smartphone-based drug checking technology and data dissemination tool
Dr. Jeffrey C. Smith and Dr. Lynne E. Leonard Department of Chemistry, Carleton University and School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa Determining Presence and Concentration of Opioids in Drug Samples Using Novel Rapid Non-Invasive Portable Mass Spectrometry Technology

Challenge details

Who can apply

Open to any for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as companies, industry associations, Indigenous organizations and research associations, as well as post-secondary institutions.


  • Up to 10 Semi-Finalists will receive an estimated prize of $25,000 to further develop their prototypes.
  • Up to 5 Semi-Finalists will receive an estimated prize of $100,000 to pilot their prototypes.
  • A grand prize winner will receive an estimated prize of $1,000,000 to further develop and build their product.

Key Dates

  • Challenge Launch: October 2nd, 2018
  • Application Deadline: February 1st,  2019
  • First Selection Phase - Semi-Finalists Announced: April 2019
  • Incubation Period: April to September 2019
  • Second Selection Phase - Finalists Announced: December 2019
  • Pilot-Phase: January 2020 to December 2020
  • Grand Prize Announced: Spring 2021

Important resources