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TORONTO (May 31, 2011) — MaRS Innovation (MI) and GlaxoSmithKline Inc. (GSK) today announced a new development fund — the GSK-MaRS Innovation Fund — that will support and fast-track the commercialization of some of the country’s most promising translational research coming from 16 leading academic health sciences centres, hospitals and universities derived from MI’s member institutions.

Raphael Hofstein
Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation.

“From the discovery of insulin in 1922 to the discovery of stem cells, Ontario has a rich, proud history of world-class medical and scientific breakthroughs,” said Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “Our partnership with GSK Canada furthers Ontario’s position as a major international research hub by providing much needed capital to fund exciting drug discovery and development technologies and bridging the gap to successful commercialization.

“Launching this development fund is also part of a global trend where government, researchers and industry are partnering at the early stage of translational research with an eye to achieving global impact and improving patient care,” Hofstein added.

“GSK is proud to work in collaboration with a leading partner in innovation research and development,” said Paul Lucas, president and CEO, GlaxoSmithKline Inc. “Collaborations such as these—where we share knowledge, expertise, and resource—provide highly effective way of progressing and commercializing cutting-edge research. We hope that this collaboration will help to close the innovation gap in Canada.”

The GSK-MaRS Innovation Fund will support translational development projects with strong potential for commercialization in the following areas: drug development, diagnostics and healthcare delivery technologies. This strategic partnership will provide access to capital and opportunities for early engagement with experts in drug development to guide and position technologies for successful commercialization through licensing transactions and/or start-up company creation. Representatives from MI and GSK will select projects for further development under this three-year partnership.

The GSK-MaRS Innovation Fund is the second development fund MI has launched and supports its overall strategy to engage with commercial partners to guide and develop effective commercialization plans to effectively monetize the more than $1 billion annually invested in research conducted within its 16 members, who are among Canada’s leading academic institutions and hospitals.

About MaRS Innovation

MaRS Innovation logoMaRS Innovation provides an integrated commercialization platform that harnesses the economic potential of the exceptional discovery pipeline of 16 leading Toronto academic institutions. MaRS Innovation is a non-profit organization with independent industry-led Board of Directors, funded through the Government of Canada’s Network of Centres of Excellence and contributions of its member institutions. Designed to enhance the commercial output of Toronto’s outstanding scientific research cluster, MaRS Innovation will make a significant contribution to Canada’s economic outlook and the quality of life for Canadians and others around the world by advancing commercialization through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.

About GSK

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a leading research-based pharmaceutical company with a challenging and inspiring mission: to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. This mission gives GSK the purpose to develop innovative medicines, vaccines and healthcare solutions that help millions of people. GSK is consistently recognized as some of the 50 best employers in Canada and is a top 15 investor in Canadian research and development, contributing more than $141 million in 2010 alone. With a proud tradition of charitable and community support, GSK is designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada.

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