To coincide with our presence at the 2016 BIO International Convention (BIO) from June 6-9, 2016, MaRS Innovation launched a video explaining our role in Canada's innovation ecosystem: backing big…
MaRS Innovation portfolio company completing Phase 1 human clinical trial of drug to prevent dermal scarring VANCOUVER (February 16, 2016) — Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator (Accel-Rx), a Centre of Excellence…
Ministry of Research & Innovation joins founding partners University of Toronto and Janssen Inc., and new partners Evotec AG, MaRS Innovation and Ontario Centres of Excellence, to advance treatments for neurological disorders and develop early-stage biotech companies
TORONTO and PHILADELPHIA (June 16, 2015)— Toronto’s neuroscience efforts to find new drugs to treat and manage brain disorders — specifically, mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease — took another step forward as the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation announced a $1 million contribution to the Neuroscience Catalyst consortium, bringing the total raised for the open innovation fund to $3.7 million. Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation and Minister of Training Colleges and Universities, announced the contribution at the 2015 BIO International conference in Philadelphia during the opening of the Ontario pavilion.
This release was covered by Pharma TV and in TechVibes, BioSpace and Biotechnology Focus, and was referenced on the Canadian Science Policy Centre‘s and the Alzheimer Society of Toronto’s respective websites.
“We are pleased to support this collaborative innovation model which will accelerate the development of better treatment options for people with neurological disorders,” said Minister Moridi. “Partnerships between universities, academic hospitals, research institutes, industries and government are key to positioning Ontario as a global leader in Life Sciences.”
Founded by the University of Toronto (U of T) in partnership with Janssen Inc. and facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the Neuroscience Catalyst consortium is using the Toronto research community’s well-established strengths in neuroscience to identify promising early-stage molecules and technologies through an open innovation model. The consortium aims to combine expertise to enable and accelerate the translation of basic sciences through to start-up companies and investor partnerships.
“We all want the next generation of solutions that are so desperately needed by patients and their families,” said Professor Ruth Ross, director of the Centre for Collaborative Drug Research at U of T. “In Canada, mood disorders such as depressive disorder and bipolar disorder affect about 10 per cent of the population. Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 745,000 Canadians. The need is urgent and this unique open collaborative partnership will allow us to rapidly develop new treatments.”
Other partners joining the project include MaRS Innovation, which introduced the partners to the Ministry of Research & Innovation and led the early conversation; Evotec, a global, high-quality provider in the drug discovery field; and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), which is administering the funding.
TORONTO, ON (April 23, 2015) — Life Sciences Ontario (LSO) applauds the government’s continued commitment to supporting life sciences through the Ontario Health Innovation Council and its accompanying $20 million innovation fund, programs to support job creation for Ontario’s highly educated young workforce and a new approach to providing the venture capital needed to support the commercialization of technologies and growth of companies in the life sciences sector.
Specifically, LSO notes the following commitments from the 2015 budget that will help drive innovation in Ontario:
- Endorsing the Ontario Health Innovation Council report, which will establish a $20 million Health Technology Innovation Fund and appoint a chief innovation strategist to act on the report’s recommendations.
- Funding the TalentEdge Program, which provides internships for graduate and postgraduate students and is integral to boosting campus-linked industrial research while developing and commercializing the innovative ideas of young researchers.
- Committing $23.5 million over five years to help establish the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation Centre at Baycrest Health Sciences, a world leader in cognitive neuroscience, and $25 million over five years to support the recently established Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM).
Company’s collaborative partnership with IRICoR, Université de Montréal and MaRS Innovation, funded by Merck Canada, to advance macrocycle drug
TORONTO and MONTREAL, Nov. 10, 2014 — Encycle Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology start-up founded by Dr. Andrei Yudin of the University of Toronto in partnership with MaRS Innovation, is developing its lead orally-bioavailable macrocycle drug to target integrin a4b7, which is involved in the inflammatory process in a number of diseases, most notably for inflammatory bowel disease.
Read this release in French.
To support and advance this molecule, Encycle Therapeutics is collaboratively partnering with the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer — Commercialization of Research (IRICoR), the Université de Montréal (UdeM) and MaRS Innovation. The partnership builds on the Merck Canada Inc. $4 million public-private funding partnership, announced at BIO in April 2013, to develop collaborative research projects with three Canadian academic commercialization centres, including MaRS Innovation and IRICoR.
“We are pleased to help support this important research collaboration that is made possible through the Quebec-Ontario corridor project in an emerging technology area. IRICoR, MaRS Innovation and Encycle have clearly leveraged their respective strengths to accelerate the discovery of novel therapeutics. As a research-focused company committed to early stage private-public partnering, we believe that such interactions will continue to fuel innovation in the life science sector in Canada,” said Mr. Chirfi Guindo, president and managing director, Merck Canada Inc.
The agreement brings a significant investment to fund Encycle Therapeutics’ development work, giving IRICoR an equity position and expanding MaRS Innovation’s equity stake. Cumulatively, Encycle Therapeutics has secured more than $2.5 million to advance its drug development platform.
Vasomune Therapeutics, a MaRS Innovation start-up company from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Sunnybrook Research Institute, was featured in a BioCentury emerging company profile by Michael J. Haas.
The company is currently raising a Series A financing round and recently closed a seed investment with Genome Canada and an unnamed industry partner. MaRS Innovation also contributed a third of the investment, bringing the round’s total to $1.5 million.
Haas’ profile, “Vasomune: Lassoing Tie2,” is available behind a paywall on the BioCentury website.
Here’s a short excerpt:
Agonizing Tie2 could restore vascular integrity and limit tissue damage in kidney injury, but bringing together the four copies needed to activate the receptor is a job too big for small molecules or antibodies. Vasomune Therapeutics Inc. has shown its four-armed peptidomimetic, vasculotide, activates Tie2 and restores vascular integrity in [preclinical] models.
“Many renal diseases are ultimately characterized by a loss in vascular integrity that damages tubules in the kidney,” CEO Parimal Nathwani said. “Our idea is to use vasculotide to fix the problem and restore normal vascular integrity before it gets out of control.”
TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2014 — AvidBiologics Inc., an oncology drug development company, today announced the closing of a financing round. The company is founded on antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technologies co-developed with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).
This announcement was covered by Dow Jones: Private Equity and Venture Capital and by Canadian Private Equity.
Today’s financing builds on prior support from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Business Accelerator Program (MRI-BAP) and other Canadian life science development organizations.
“This financing round enables us to rapidly advance our lead ADC into clinical trials,” said Ilia Tikhomirov, President and CEO. “We would like to thank the NRC and all of our partners for their support as AvidBiologics transitions from a discovery-stage to a development-stage company.”
“The high quality pre-clinical package and exceptional leadership team, including pioneers in the development of ADCs, position the company for a successful transition towards clinical development,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MI. “The cooperation among funding organizations, such as those involved in this financing, represents the strengthening foundation on which commercialization within Toronto’s start-up community can be successfully realized. We are glad to be part of this financing syndicate that supports one of Canada’s leading life sciences companies.”
MaRS Innovation among founding partner CECRs; Accel-Rx will provide funds to new biotechnology start-ups emerging within MI’s portfolio
VANCOUVER, BC (Aug. 25, 2014) –With the awarding of $14.5M under the Canadian government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)) Program, as announced earlier this morning by the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology, Accel-Rx – Canada’s Health Sciences Accelerator is officially launched.
This announcement builds on the previously announced strategic partnership between BDC and Accel-Rx to fund Canadian biotechnology start-ups.
The Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator is a national organization focused on maximizing new health sciences company creation, and ensuring start-ups have the resources they need to enable them to stay and grow in Canada and give rise to a new generation of strong health sciences anchor companies. Accel-Rx therein brings together five of Canada’s leading health sciences CECRs to foster pan-Canadian cooperation and directly address the health science company creation challenge in Canada.
These CECRs include:
- The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
- MaRS Innovation (MI)
- The Vancouver Prostate Centre’s Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development (PC-TRIADD)
- The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM)
- The Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC)
CDRD Ventures Inc. (CVI), the commercialization vehicle of The Centre for Drug Research and Development will provide the initial management to launch Accel-Rx’s operations. BDC Venture Capital, as recently announced, will further advance Accel-Rx’s mission by acting as the main funding mechanism for companies created at and/or supported by Accel-Rx, with the intent to invest in up to three to four companies annually, with that number potentially increasing as the partnership progresses.
Biotechnology Focus, a compendium of the Canadian life sciences industry, has published a guest column by MaRS Innovation President & CEO, Dr. Raphael Hofstein.
The article explores the role life sciences assets, financing and talented management–the three Ms–must play in revitalizing Canada’s biotechnology sector:
At the close of the 20th century, Canada was perceived as a key contributor to the success of the global biotech voyage.
You know what happened next: the mechanisms to fund early ventures collapsed together with the collapse of the Canadian venture capital industry Finding suitable investment for early-stage technologies became incredibly challenging. Facing a dearth of opportunity, talented management sailed for other harbors.
It’s satisfying that on the eve of the 2014 BIO Convention, some indicators suggest to me that we are witnessing a rebound. But to accelerate our pace while holding this bearing, Canada needs to address certain strategic elements.
At MaRS Innovation, we call them the three Ms: merchandize, management and money.
MaRS Innovation and U of T's Innovations & Partnerships Office collaborating with QSperm on intellectual property and business strategy In vitro fertility treatments can be intensely emotional and medically invasive,…