Joel Liederman, vice-president of Physical Sciences, appeared on CanadaAM April 5, 2016 to talk about how to make a product. The interview is part of CanadaAM's "What's Next" segment on…
2015 created a flurry of activity for MaRS Innovation and our portfolio. As the holidays begin, here are our picks for the top 10 news stories from MI's portfolio in…
Biotechnology Focus, a compendium of the Canadian life sciences industry, has published a guest column by Dr. Raphael Hofstein, MaRS Innovation’s president & CEO, and Elizabeth Monier-Williams, director of marketing and communications.
The article explores the way research focused on discovery and commercialization are often viewed or positioned as competitors within the funding ecosystem and the need to align their goals:
The time of Canada’s French and English solitudes may be past, as Governor General Michaëlle Jean notably stated when she took office in 2005, but the solitudes of thought concerning how Canada supports basic and commercial research persist.
This thinking is most easily spotted after the government announces a federal budget, triggering a flurry of opinion pieces debating the breakdown for the $2.7 billion Canada spends on research.
Most recently, Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Research in Motion (now BlackBerry Ltd.), wrote for the Globe & Mail about the Canadian need to understand that “geopolitics is at the heart of commercializing ideas,” and create better policies to protect Canadian ideas, including “better
incentives for researchers to spur commercialization,” such as during an academic’s consideration for tenure. Yet, like any business endeavor whose success depends on people, there’s more involved in changing Canada’s approach to commercialization than just policy.
The people must want to change, too.
Co-development agreement, brokered by MaRS Innovation, to advance ultrasound chemotherapy monitoring technology as clinical tool
TORONTO (March 12, 2015) — Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and MaRS Innovation today announced a co-development agreement for WaveCheck, an ultrasound technology that transforms conventional equipment so that physicians can monitor a breast cancer tumour’s response to chemotherapy.
The partnership with GE Healthcare, brokered by MaRS Innovation, seeks to develop WaveCheck as a clinical tool that gives clinicians rapid, improved transparency to determine if breast cancer tumors are responding to chemotherapy.
WaveCheck is a clinical technique invented, refined and tested by Dr. Gregory Czarnota, chief of Radiation Oncology at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre, and Michael C. Kolios, professor of Physics and associate dean, Research and Graduate Studies, in Ryerson University’s Faculty of Science. Their technology uses ultrasound to visually demonstrate whether chemotherapy is destroying a breast cancer tumour at the beginning of chemotherapy treatment in as little as one week. If applied to the clinic, this knowledge has the power to transform patient experience, since existing breast cancer patients typically wait until the end of treatment, anywhere from four to six months, to know if their tumor has responded.
In early clinical testing, WaveCheck’s inexpensive, non-invasive, image-guided technology shows promise as an accurate, efficient way to monitor tumour response, opening the door to tailored treatment.
The agreement leverages GE Healthcare’s extensive ultrasound technology and market expertise in bringing new ultrasound innovations to global hospitals and clinics with Sunnybrook’s leadership in oncology research and cancer care through the Odette Cancer Centre.
MI’s Fazila Seker also interviewed in National Post article on what prompts medical researchers to consider crowdfunding
The WaveCheck crowdfunding campaign, which raised $53,390 on Indiegogo to support clinical trials for a clinical technique invented by researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Ryerson University, was included in a new Canadian-led study on the merits of crowdfunding to support cancer and rare diseases.
“Crowdfunding drug development: The state of play in oncology and rare diseases,” was published in Drug Discovery Today‘s June issue.
MaRS Innovation has confirmed with lead author Professor Nick Dragojlovic of the University of British Columbia that WaveCheck was among the campaigns included in the study.
OICR’s catalyst grant enables WaveCheck to open first partner site at MD Anderson Cancer Center in May
TORONTO, April 8, 2014 — People with breast cancer are a step closer to knowing if their tumour is responding to chemotherapy at the start of treatment, thanks to a $100,000 catalyst grant from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR).
Read Jane Gerster’s article for the Toronto Star about OICR’s catalyst grant for WaveCheck. This announcement was also covered in Metro, BetaKit and Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario’s Catalyst newsletter.
WaveCheck, a clinical technique invented, refined and tested by scientists at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Ryerson University over 20 years, aims to show whether chemotherapy is actually destroying a breast cancer tumour at the beginning of chemotherapy treatment (in as little as four weeks), rather than at the end of treatment (typically four to six months).
In early clinical testing, the non-invasive, image-guided technology has shown promise as an accurate, efficient way to monitor tumour response, opening the door to tailored treatment.
“This is a significant step towards achieving the goal of personalized medicine. The clinical trials will confirm that information provided by WaveCheck can determine if the treatment is the appropriate one or that other options should be chosen, sparing patients the side effects of treatments that will not likely be successful,” said Dr. Tom Hudson, OICR’s president and scientific director. “If successful, WaveCheck could become a standard tool in the cancer treatment of the future.”
MaRS Innovation’s Dr. Fazila Seker and Elizabeth Monier-Williams spoke with Deanna Pogorelc of MedCity News about how to define success for campaigns crowdfunding for technologies and research related to the medical field.
The article, in MedCity News‘ Hot Topics section, questions whether a crowdfunding campaign needs to reach its funding goal to be deemed successful.
Seker and Monier-Williams completed an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in December for WaveCheck, a clinical technique developed to let women and men know if their breast cancer chemotherapy is working within weeks of beginning treatment instead of months later when treatment has already ended.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Fazila Seker, the director of technology and venture development at commercialization agency MaRS Innovation, said that one of the trickiest things about the crowdfunding industry is the notion that these platforms have an established crowd that’s lurking around looking for the next best thing.
“You can’t rely entirely on that,” she said. “You need to go out there and do your research and create your own following.”
The Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario’s online magazine highlighted WaveCheck on February 3, 2014 as a more personalized approach to cancer treatments because of the technology’s ability to effectively monitor chemotherapy response.
WaveCheck’s technology, invented by Dr. Gregory Czarnota of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Professor Michael C. Kolios of Ryerson University, allows women and men undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer to know if their treatment is working at the beginning of treatment (within one to four weeks) rather than at the end of treatment (typically four to six months).
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in women in this country. The Canadian Cancer Society estimated that, in 2013, 65 Canadian women would be diagnosed with breast cancer every day, totaling 23,800 women a year; and 14 Canadian women would die from breast cancer every day, totaling 5,000 women a year. According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, one in nine Canadian women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime; one in 29 will die from it.
MaRS Innovation staff and WaveCheck Campaign Co-directors Dr. Fazila Seker and Elizabeth Monier-Williams spoke with the CBC’s Colleen Ross about the process of crowdfunding WaveCheck’s partner-based clinical studies on “The World This Weekend.”
The radio segment, called “Crowdfunding Science,” aired on January 25, 2014 and discussed the lack of funding researchers have access to for commercialization, making it harder to advance research that could be helping people in a variety of industries.
To listen to the full interview, click here.
WaveCheck’s crowdfunding campaign is an example of how MaRS Innovation gets creative when traditional funding channels take too long or run dry, speeding up the commercialization process.
Indiegogo campaign raised $53,390 from over 500 worldwide donors
CTV National News featured WaveCheck’s crowdfunding campaign on December 15 in a report by Avis Favaro. The report included an interview with MaRS Innovation’s President and CEO, Dr. Raphael Hofstein (at the 1:37 mark).
William Tran, a researcher associated with the project at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, was also interviewed on Canada AM on December 16.
WaveCheck, which closed its campaign December 4, was invented by Dr. Gregory Czarnota of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Prof. Michael C. Kolios of Ryerson University. WaveCheck uses ultrasound technology to show people with breast cancer if their chemotherapy is working within weeks.
While the Indiegogo campaign has concluded, Sunnybrook Foundation is now accepting donations flagged “WaveCheck” on behalf of the researchers through its website.
At campaign close, WaveCheck ranked in the top 0.005 per cent of health-related campaigns on Indiegogo, and was covered by CBC television and Metro Morning, the Toronto Star, Sing-Tao and MedCity News.