New Initiative will strengthen Trans-Atlantic life science ties

Toronto, October 17, 2006 — MaRS today signed a Letter of Intent with Biolink Canada-Ireland, a new Enterprise Ireland network initiative linking scientists, industry, academia and government agencies from the Irish and Canadian life sciences sector. The agreement will create opportunities for knowledge sharing, research partnering and commercialization between the life sciences sectors in Ireland and Canada.

“Canada is the worlds third largest biotechnology cluster,” noted Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Micheál Martin, T.D., who represented Enterprise Ireland at the signing ceremony. “The creation of the Biolink Canada-Ireland network and its agreement with MaRS will further enhance the potential of the Irish biotechnology sector, building on the success of Biolink USA-Ireland and enhancing the strategic supports Enterprise Ireland provides to Irish companies in the sector.”

With both Ireland and Canada focusing on the medical, biotechnology and life sciences sectors as drivers of future economic prosperity, the agreement is a timely reminder of the strong ties between both countries. “MaRS is dedicated to helping Canadian companies and researchers access international partners, and we see Biolink Canada-Ireland as an important part of that strategy,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS.

Tim McTiernan will serve as the inaugural president of Biolink Canada-Ireland. Currently the Assistant Vice-President of Research at the University of Toronto (and Executive Director of the school’s technology transfer group Innovations at U of T), McTiernan is also the former acting Deputy Minister at the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

As part of the agreement, a number of shared industry events are already being explored. These include the participation of a delegation of Canadian life sciences researchers at the BioIreland International Biotechnology conference in Dublin in November 2006, and inserting a focus on Irish innovation policy into the Global CONNECT conference being held at MaRS from December 6-8 2006.

About Biolink Canada-Ireland

This is a new network that has been set up as an Enterprise Ireland initiative, following the success of Biolink USA-Ireland. It is an association of members from the biotech/life science research, commercialisation, and business communities in Canada and in Ireland, and others who are similarly engaged and who support the aims of the organisation. The aims of Biolink Canada-Ireland ( are connecting and fostering relations and interactions among members for mutual benefit, and providing support to the development of the biosciences in commercial, academic and government settings in Canada and Ireland.

About MaRS

MaRS Discovery District ( is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and digital media technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose business.

For more information, contact:
Linda Quattrin
Director Communications
MaRS Discovery District