MaRS responds to the Ontario Health Innovation Council (OHIC) landmark “Catalyst” report

MaRS Discovery District strongly endorses the recommendations released on December 19 by the Ontario Health Innovation Council (OHIC) landmark “Catalyst” report that tackles new health innovation strategies in the province.

The council issued six recommendations that if implemented would achieve the twin goals of promoting better access to and delivery of heath services while transforming the province into an international leader in health innovation development and adoption.

“We believe that implementing these recommendations will position Ontario as a global health innovation powerhouse, while improving citizen health, and growing Canada’s new health economy,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District. “The recommendations are both broad enough to cover the key levers and barriers to health innovation in Ontario, and bold enough to truly put Ontario onto a new — and much needed — trajectory of excellence.”

OHIC was tasked with finding ways to leverage the province’s purchasing power for the greater good of the health economy. Their recommendations include:

  • the establishment of an Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist;
  • the appointment of innovation brokers to connect health start-ups to resources;
  • the creation of a $20 million pre-market fund to put Ontario’s health system to work in the evaluation of emerging “made in Ontario” health technologies;
  • and strategies to improve and coordinate the procurement, adoption and diffusion of these technologies across the entire health sector.

To read the full report, visit

“MaRS is looking forward to working with the new Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist on implementing these recommendations,” said Dr. Zayna Khayat, lead of MaRS Health and director of the MaRS EXCITE program that was referenced in the OHIC report. “MaRS particularly lauds the emphasis on seeding and supporting Ontario-grown health technology innovators who struggle with getting their products to the Ontario market. MaRS’ internationally recognized EXCITE (Excellence in Clinical Innovation and Technology Evaluation) program is already working to connect promising health technologies to the Ontario health system for evaluation.”

It is estimated that the global market for medical devices alone will reach US $440 billion by 2018. If the health sector works collaboratively to support and validate technologies before they are marketed elsewhere, Ontario has the opportunity to become a global powerhouse in this growing field.

Dr. Treurnicht and Dr. Zayna Khayat were among several health innovation leaders that provided recommendations during the OHIC consultations.


About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS cultivates high-impact ventures and equips innovators to drive economic and societal prosperity. MaRS provides expert advice and market research, and makes connections to talent, customers and capital. MaRS startup ventures have created 6,500 jobs and, in the last three years alone, they have raised $1 billion in capital and generated $500 million in revenue. Among its achievements MaRS Discovery District supports 300 Ontario-grown health technology start-ups, to secure financing and help fledgling firms navigate the regulatory and procurement systems in Canada and abroad.