Halifax researcher’s simple urine strip test measures muscle health

At a glance

The team

Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur intern Dr. Rafaela Andrade, co-founder and CEO of Myomar Molecular, and postdoctoral researcher, Dalhousie University; Myomar Molecular team; supervisor Dr. John Frampton, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Dalhousie University.

The challenge

Create a simple procedure to determine muscle health and reduce the risk of debilitation among neuromuscular disease sufferers.

The solution

A urine strip test that measures muscle density easily and accurately as a precaution against avoidable injury and disability.

The outcome

The general public and researchers will have an accessible tool the enables them to protect muscle health and monitor the progress of neuromuscular diseases.

Dr. Rafaela Andrade, Dalhousie University postdoctoral researcher and CEO of Myomar Molecular Inc., has developed a simple urine strip test to measure muscle health and reduce the risk of injury and disability among neuromuscular disease sufferers.

Dalhousie University postdoctoral researcher Dr. Rafaela Andrade has created the world’s first urine strip test that measures muscle loss – an innovation that could prevent serious injury or death and improve the lives of millions who suffer from degenerative diseases, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Dr. Andrade, co-founder and CEO of Halifax-based startup Myomar Molecular Inc., developed the simple, at-home screening tool in consultation with Dr. John Frampton, Associate Professor at Dalhousie University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.

“Right now, there’s no way to know how much you’re suffering from muscle loss until you develop a disease, or experience a fall or some other health event,” says Dr. Andrade, who is dedicating her ongoing work to the memory of her elderly aunt who had no indication her muscles were getting weaker before she died from complications of a fall.

“Muscle loss is only monitored after neuromuscular diseases such as ALS or muscular dystrophy are diagnosed or signs of muscle loss appear, using expensive medical imaging systems like an MRI or CT scan.” But, she explains, “If we can monitor early on for accurate indicators of muscle loss, we can take precautions to change our behaviours to protect our muscle health.”

The technology is ground-breaking, but it’s also deliberately designed for the general population and works like a simple home pregnancy test. Biomarkers – identifying unique and specific molecular changes in urine associated with muscle degeneration – are fed into a mathematical model that predicts tissue loss. So far, the procedure is 80 percent and 96 percent accurate in males and females, respectively.

The short-term goal is to commercialize the test kit as a consumer product by fall 2024. Longer-term goals include the development of an artificial intelligence assistant that can provide individualized recommendations to improve muscle health, and a more robust test that can be used as a medical monitoring tool for neuromuscular diseases.

The startup is now seeking beta users to participate in product development by signing up at as it completes its first round of pre-seed funding.

“Mitacs funding allowed me to work full time on growing our company with tremendous results,” says Dr. Andrade, who was one of five winners of the Mitacs Entrepreneur Award 2023, which recognizes researchers for their efforts to turn their work into innovative businesses that impact the lives of Canadians. “We wouldn’t have been able to get to this stage without that support.”

Mitacs’s programs receive funding from valued partners across Canada. We thank the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon for supporting us to foster innovation and economic growth throughout the country.


Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities:

Mitacs Team
Mitacs Team

Mitacs’s website content is created by people throughout our organization, united in their passion for innovation and eager to share their perspectives with others in the innovation ecosystem.