BlueDot, a Canadian company that helps decision-makers prepare for and response to infectious disease outbreaks, was profiled in the Toronto Star for their work in tracking the Zika virus. The…
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…
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).
With lead investment from Puffin Partners, the Ontario, Canada-based company is taking lifesaving blood-testing technology to low- and middle-income countries
TORONTO, March 3, 2015 — ChipCare Corporation, a University of Toronto start-up company commercializing a handheld, blood-testing platform for HIV and other infectious and non-communicable diseases has closed a $5.045 million Series A financing to bring its first-generation product to market while further developing the platform’s next generation products.
The Wall Street Journal‘s Venture Capital Dispatch blog, Yonge Street Media, BetaKit and PEHub covered this announcement, along with the University of Toronto’s news site and a follow-up BetaKit article on how smartphones and start-ups are increasing access to healthcare. Information about past ChipCare investment rounds and other company information is available in our ChipCare news archive.
Insufficient access in remote health settings to simple, accurate and affordable diagnostic tests makes it difficult to provide timely, evidence-based clinical care. Current technology within central laboratories cannot fulfill the existing need in remote health settings, including community level health facilities, remote communities, emergency departments, ICUs and doctors’ offices. The result is millions of preventable deaths from infectious and non-communicable diseases globally, reduced economic growth, and limited human development.
ChipCare’s technology will provide simple-to-use, mobile, lab-quality blood testing in remote health settings. The company’s first HIV-related test, targeted at linking people with HIV to appropriate treatments, is scheduled to hit the market in late 2016. The company is developing other products that leverage unique attributes of ChipCare’s technology.
Puffin Partners, LP, of Dallas, Texas led the financing round, which includes existing investors MaRS Innovation and Maple Leaf Angels, and new investors, including the Winfield Venture Group, Epic Capital, and additional Canadian and U.S. Angel investors.
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.
Every six weeks, MaRS Innovation’s marketing and communications manager writes a guest post for the MaRS Discovery District blog profiling MI’s activities or one of our start-up companies. You can read the original post on the MaRS blog.
Nearly 14,000 delegates—representing over 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centres and related organizations across the United States and more than 60 countries—attended the 2013 BIO International Convention from April 22 to 26, 2013.
The event drew biotechnologists, pharmaceutical industry executives and life sciences researchers, along with sector-based organizations and associations, to Chicago.
According to a press release issued by the conference organizers, BIO 2013 offered “a record number of partnering meetings and panel sessions on the latest science, policy issues and business opportunities and challenges facing the biotechnology industry.”