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Provincial Investment Supports Commercialization of Leading-Edge Molecular Diagnostic Screening Technology

TORONTO (July 26, 2011) — Xagenic Inc., one of MaRS Innovation’s (MI) portfolio spin-off companies, was awarded $1 million in funding by Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) through its Investment Accelerator Fund‐Life Sciences (IAF-­LS) program.

Research and Innovation Minister Glen Murray made the announcement at MaRS Discovery District.

Shana Kelley, co-founder of Xagenic Inc.
Shana Kelley, co-founder of Xagenic Inc.

“Today’s announcement will go a long way in helping us to commercialize a technology that will ultimately shape the future of diagnostic testing — instead of waiting days for results, doctors and patients will only need to wait minutes,” said Dr. Shana Kelley, founder of Xagenic Inc. and professor from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Xagenic has pioneered a revolutionary class of chip-­based molecular diagnostics. Using a breakthrough in engineering matter at the nanoscale, Xagenic employs its patented nanostructured microelectrodes to achieve highly sensitive nucleic acid sensors that detect DNA and RNA at record-­breaking speed.

The company’s diagnostic screening technology was developed through research at the University of Toronto.

Unlike existing molecular tests — which are complex, time-consuming and require skilled laboratory technicians — Xagenic’s technology enables faster detection of pathogens in less than 30 minutes.

For patients, faster diagnosis of conditions ranging from infectious disease to cancer could mean less anxiety and faster treatment decisions.

For Ontario’s strained health care system, the accurate and rapid technology will enable more efficient, on-site detection of pathogens in the comfort of a physician’s office or by the patient’s bedside.

“We’re thrilled that the Ministry of Research and Innovation shares our vision to bring to market Xagenic’s innovative technology,” said Raphael Hofstein, CEO of MI and Xagenic Inc. “Xagenic is a prime example of how MaRS Innovation and its member institutions can turn a powerful idea into reality and deliver tangible benefits to patient care as well as fuel the knowledge economy.”

Glen Murray, Minister of Research & Innovation, Government of Ontario.
Glen Murray, Minister of Research & Innovation, Government of Ontario.

“We’re proud of Ontario’s creative environment. Our highly skilled workforce, world-­class education system and internationally recognized research community are all second to none,” said Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation and MPP for Toronto Centre. “Our government invests in innovative companies like Xagenic so that our province’s best ideas can flourish, create jobs and improve the lives of Ontarians, now and in the future.”

In its first year of operation, Toronto-based Xagenic Inc. secured investments totaling more than $1 million from key organizations representing the research and commercialization community: MaRS Innovation, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) and The Health Technology Exchange.

Today’s provincial funding and an additional $200,000 commitment by OCE’s Centre for Commercialization of Research brings Xagenic’s total amount of secured investments to more than $2.2 million.

Xagenic’s example of establishing a significant amount of investment in its first year of operation reflects MI’s leadership in identifying and nurturing exciting inventions and ideas towards the marketplace.

About Xagenic Inc.

Founded in 2010 and based in Toronto, life sciences company Xagenic Inc. is pioneering a leading-edge, chip-­based diagnostic screening technology that uses nanotechnology-­based microelectrodes. This technology, invented at the University of Toronto by Dr. Shana Kelley, renowned scientist and professor, is being developed to address a large clinical unmet need: rapid, on-­demand, sample-­to‐answer detection of pathogens in less than 30 minutes.

About MaRS Innovation

MaRS 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 an independent industry-led Board of Directors, funded through the Government of Canada’s Networks 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 through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. The MaRS Innovation mission is to put Canada on the global innovation stage, by better connection research with industry and strengthening Canada’s competitive capacity in knowledge-based business.

About The Investment Accelerator Fund-­Life Sciences Program

The Investment Accelerator Fund‐Life Sciences (IAF-­‐LS) helps accelerate the growth of life sciences companies in Ontario. The fund invests up to $1,000,000 in seed and later stage financing in companies that have the potential to be global leaders in their field and provide sustainable economic benefits to Ontario. Funded by the Government of Ontario, the fund is a $7-­million program that helps innovative life sciences companies turn their discoveries into new products and services that meet patient needs. The IAF-LS is delivered by MaRS Discovery District.

About The Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Centre for Commercialization of Research

Ontario Centres of Excellence drives the commercialization of cutting-­edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading‐ edge technologies, best practices and research, Ontario Centres of Excellence invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water.

Ontario Centres of Excellence is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is Ontario’s innovation system. The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations designed to help Ontario-­based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies, and create jobs.

Ontario Centres of Excellence, through its Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), an initiative supported by the federal government, also acts as a catalyst which allows innovative businesses to grow and achieve sustainable commercial success and global competitiveness. OCE’s Centre for Commercialization of Research is supported by the federal government through a Networks of Centres of Excellence Program.

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