MaRS EXCITE announces integration with MaRS Partnerships program, and engagements with Cochlear Canada and Roche Diagnostics

New flexible service offerings maximize patient access to innovation and improve clinical and economic benefits for the province.

TORONTO, November 12, 2018 — MaRS EXCITE today announced that it is integrating with the MaRS Partnerships program to build on its market transformation work within the healthcare sector and target its offerings to meet the needs of companies of all sizes that are looking to access Ontario’s health system.

“MaRS EXCITE is recognized for connecting promising health technologies to our health system,” says Shahira Bhimani, director of MaRS EXCITE. “We are delighted to announce that we’re joining MaRS Partnerships to expand our work to a wider set of partners and market forces. This integration will provide long-term stability for the program as we continue our important work of streamlining implementation of health solutions that have the potential to improve efficiencies and outcomes within our healthcare system here and around the world.”

One of the critical roles that the partnerships team at MaRS plays is addressing the adoption of innovation by the market, making it faster and easier for governments, established businesses and community partners to test, buy and integrate new technology across a variety of sectors, including the healthcare system.

As the evolved EXCITE program continues its work of enabling the system to become a better receptor of innovation, MaRS Partnerships will support EXCITE’s new modular service offerings. These new services provide targeted insight across a broad stakeholder spectrum on how the system values innovation as well as how to optimally position innovative technologies of high impact for greatest success in the Ontario market.

EXCITE identifies system barriers, opportunities and considerations for successful health system integration by taking companies through a series of in-person working groups in collaboration with MOHLTC representatives, clinical experts, industry leaders, payers and other key stakeholders. Key learnings from these working sessions are then synthesized into an implementation navigation report. This service takes approximately four to six months based on the scope of the project.

To that end, EXCITE also announces two new technologies that have recently engaged the program: Cochlear Ltd.’s cochlear implant, an innovative electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear; and Roche’s CoaguChek® system, a patient-centric device that supports optimal management of blood thinners, medication critical in decreasing the rate of recurrent strokes.

“For patients with sensorineural hearing loss, who can no longer benefit from regular amplification provided by hearing aids, cochlear implants are the only medical technology that can efficiently restore functional hearing,” says Bahareh Vali, senior manager, regional market access at Cochlear Canada. “Despite the miraculous outcomes of this technology, barriers to patient access still exist in Canada. We are delighted to be working with EXCITE to tackle these obstacles.”

“We are pleased to be partnering with EXCITE to explore new care models for Ontario patients,” said François Drolet, director, public affairs at Roche Diagnostics, a division of Hoffmann-La Roche Limited. “Today, those who take oral anticoagulants, such as warfarin, must measure their INR levels monthly via bloodwork in a hospital lab. Our system provides more flexibility and independence in daily life, and encourages better patient compliance, thereby improving time patients spend in their therapeutic range, a well-recognized predictor of better outcomes.”

Both technologies have been recommended for use in the province by Health Quality Ontario’s Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) and are working with EXCITE to identify optimal pathways to adoption.

“Patient autonomy, either through self-management of blood testing at home or via restored hearing in both ears, is a critical component of providing better care. We are eager to facilitate a collaborative approach to the adoption and implementation of impactful technologies into Ontario’s health system, ultimately supporting better patient independence and quality of life while optimizing health outcomes for the system,” says Bhimani.

EXCITE program expression of interest forms can be found here, and are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, please contact the EXCITE team at

EXCITE’s mission is to foster the adoption of innovative health technologies in Ontario, and to leverage those successes and experiences into global markets. EXCITE navigates the highly complex health sector and facilitates collaborative engagement of technology companies with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, clinical experts and other key health system stakeholders to provide insights on how best to navigate the Ontario health system. EXCITE’s unique advantage is the ability, as a neutral third party, to engage decision makers, payers, regulators and other relevant bodies around one common table to identify system barriers, opportunities and considerations for successful health system integration.

About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is North America’s largest urban innovation hub. Our purpose is to help innovators change the world. MaRS supports promising ventures tackling key challenges in the health, cleantech, fintech, and enterprise software sectors as they start, grow and scale. In addition, the MaRS community fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration to drive breakthrough discoveries and new solutions to be adopted in Canada and beyond, growing our economy and delivering societal impact at scale.