TORONTO and VANCOUVER, CANADA (January 12, 2016) — A novel drug therapy to reduce the severity and frequency of hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episodes in people with diabetes is being…
MaRS Innovation enjoyed an exceptional year in 2014. Our team continues to collaborate with researchers within our membership to help bridge the commercialization gap between their world-leading research and creating successful start-up companies or licenses.
Here are our picks for the top 10 news stories from MaRS Innovation’s portfolio.
1. Triphase Accelerator Corporation, in which MaRS Innovation is an investor, started the year with a bang by signing a collaboration and option agreement with Celgene Corporation. In October, Triphase initiated a Phase I clinical study to evaluate marizomib in Glioblastoma (GBM) with Celgene, signed an agreement to provide Celgene with an option to acquire a new bi-specific antibody (licensed by Triphase from PharmAbcine) and closed the year by announcing that Triphase’s proteasome inhibitor, marizomib, demonstrates potent synergistic anti-multiple myeloma activity in combination with pomalidomide.
2. Flybits Inc., spun out of Ryerson University, announced a $3.75 million Series A financing with Robert Bosch Venture Capital to advance its context-aware mobile experience platform. The company was also named a Red Herring Top 100 North America winner.
3. XLV Diagnostics Inc., spun out from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, secured a $3 million Series A investment round with Boston-based Bernard M. Gordon Unitrust. XLV’s product will provide mammography image quality equivalent to top-of-the-line mammography machines currently in use, and will do so at a fraction of the cost of current generation systems. The funding will support continued product development and regulatory approval.
Article focuses on importance of intellectual property protection for small businesses
Dr. Stacey Ivanchuk, MaRS Innovation’s director of intellectual property, was quoted in Denise Deveau’s article, “Intellectual property protection is a game small businesses can’t afford to lose,” for the Financial Post on September 26, 2014 regarding the importance of protecting intellectual property for small businesses.
Here’s an excerpt:
Stacey Ivanchuk, director of intellectual property for MaRS Innovation in Toronto, says that protecting a startup’s technology is important especially from an investor’s perspective.
“One of the first questions investors will ask a company is, what is your IP position? To them it’s something they can talk about as an asset and shows that you are distinguishing yourself,” [Dr.] Ivanchuk said.
Ivanchuk said businesses run the gamut from doing nothing to protect their ideas to filing for patents on every idea that comes out of a brainstorming session. “Too early is not good because it can be a waste of money if the proof you expected down the road doesn’t happen,” she said. “But if you wait too long someone might beat you to the punch.”
The article also quotes Atul Asthana, CEO of Kaypok, a tech start-up in the text analytics space spun out from York University in partnership with MaRS Innovation:
In the high tech world especially, it’s not always easy to determine whether something should be protected or not, according to Mr. Asthana. “You have to be able to enforce it. If you do it poorly, you will be giving your ideas away and spending a whole bunch of money. It can become a real cat and mouse game sometimes,” he said.
Deal led by MaRS Innovation and Innovation York to strengthen Slyce’s mobile image recognition application for retail e-commerce
Through the acquisition, Slyce also hired former York PhD student, Dr. Ehsan Fazl-Ersi, to lead the integration of the intellectual property into Slyce’s Visual Search Platform as their new head of Research & Development.
Slyce is a premium provider of visual search technology for retailers, brands and publishers. Their platform allows customers to take a picture of real-world products with their smartphone and then find direct or close-matching products from the retailer’s catalogue, which they are able to purchase on the spot.
Slyce’s acquisition of York’s technology was covered in the Financial Post, Dx3 Digest, BetaKit, Mobile Payments Today, Global University Venturing, World News, Consumer Electronics Net and Retail Customer Experience. You can also read the York University announcement.
“Identifying and classifying an object captured within a scene is difficult due to the effects of background clutter, lighting variations and viewpoint changes on the object’s appearance,” says Fazl-Ersi, who designed and developed the technology with his PhD supervisor, Dr. John K. Tsotsos, a professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a member and former director of York’s Centre for Vision Research.
“This is a much bigger problem for mobile applications where the algorithm’s speed and efficiency are the difference between losing a consumer or making a sale,” says Fazl-Ersi. “Our technology will provide higher accuracy when quickly identifying retail items so that consumers can choose among similar items according to style, colour or pattern using a mobile device.”
The researchers partnered with MaRS Innovation and Innovation York, York’s commercialization office, to file patent protection on the initial technology, develop a commercialization plan, secure grant funding, facilitate business development meetings and negotiate the resulting transaction.
This op-ed on Canadian biotechnology and the knowledge economy appeared in The Hill-Times (subscription required), Canada’s politics and government newsweekly, September 9:
Obesity, cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, or the more general stresses of an aging population: no matter which area of concern holds our collective gaze from moment to moment, improving health outcomes and healthcare is the No. 1 challenge for the world’s economy.
Canada has the holistic approach and translational research necessary to address health care’s pervasive challenges, with particular strengths in biotechnology.
In 2007, the Government of Canada made advancing translational research a top priority through the Science and Technology Strategy, with emphasis on cancer, metabolic disorders and, most recently, neurology, as part of the government’s response to the burdensome realities of neurodegenerative disorders.
Scientific research has made significant progress in unraveling the underlying causes of disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, but translating these findings into useful clinical treatments is the key to attaining meaningful accomplishments. Only clinical treatment successes will alleviate pressure on the economy.
Transformational research is the essential first step in this process, but even more importantly, it needs to be put in the hands of those who can translate it into realistic and useful outcomes for patients in particular and society in general.
Thanks to research analytics that capture publications, citations, and other significant metrics, we know Canadian researchers punch above their weight, particularly in medical research. Canada’s challenge is not the quality or quantity of our research ideas but our ability to commercialize those ideas and translate them into market-ready products.
Aware of and concerned by this gap between fundamental basic research and useful patient, social, and economic outcomes, the Canadian government established the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program in 2007. Part of the internationally-recognized Networks of Centres of Excellence suite of programs, the CECR program is a unique collaboration between the three federal granting agencies (the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), along with Industry Canada, and Health Canada.
Designed to bridge the challenging gap between innovation and commercialization, the CECR program matches clusters of research expertise with the business community to share the knowledge and resources that bring innovations to market faster.
MaRS Innovation was among the first CECRs to be created in 2008, largely based on the founding belief of its members that Toronto is a fertile research land for precisely this kind of translational activity.
Dana Fox, vice chair of Waterloo-based ClevrU Corporation, was featured in CBC’s Transforming Tech: Changing Careers in the Digital Age series, hosted by Matthew Kang.
The interview explores Fox’s career and decision to co-found ClevrU and his ongoing role in the start-up’s development.
Fox’s interview runs just over six minutes. After clicking the link, scroll down the page to the second interview to play the audio file.
Networks of Centres of Excellence recognizes strength of partnership between MI and its 16 member institutions
MaRS Innovation (MI), created in 2008, bridges the chasm between these early-stage technologies and successful start-up companies and licensable technologies. By offering early-stage funding in tandem with hands-on management, mentorship and IP strategy protection, MI acts as a commercialization agent for its 16 member institutions.
The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) has recognized the increasing strength of this novel partnership by awarding MI $14.95 million in funding through the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program.
Spin-off company based on founder Razieh Niazi’s research at York University
TORONTO, Dec. 6, 2012 — Kaypok Inc., a start-up company whose technology delivers insight into unstructured big data, today announced that it has selected Zync as its agency of record to create and launch Kaypok’s brand globally.
Kaypok Inc., which was spun off from York University research with support and funding from MaRS Innovation, filters, categorizes, identifies meaning and measures the root cause and emotions buried within unstructured text to understand what people are saying and feeling. Kaypok Inc. launched nationally at the iStrategy Digital Marketing Conference in Toronto on December 4, 2012.
Company to Present on Social Media Behavior and Deep Root Cause Analysis at iStrategy Toronto December 4
Kaypok Inc., a company spun off from York University research with support and funding from MaRS Innovation, uses a contextual natural language process to automatically interpret the meaning of raw data — without analysts, advance preparation, special databases or lag time.
Read the start-up company profile of Kaypok Inc. on the MaRS Innovation website.
MaRS Innovation and York University’s commercialization office support new partnership
In the age of ITunes, videotaping lectures or converting existing textbooks into e-books won’t make you the market leader in online education.
Thanks to a new partnership between ClevrU, and NewMindsets Inc., facilitated by MaRS Innovation and York University’s commercialization office, Canadian technology and content promises to establish the second-generation online learning standard for millions of students worldwide.