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.