MaRS welcomes new health and life science innovators

MaRS West Tower is oversubscribed; health tenants dominate this round

TORONTO, September 3, 2015 – MaRS Discovery District today announced new tenants in its West Tower, including cutting-edge research groups with a focus on precision medicine and rapidly growing ventures such as Synaptive Medical, a leader in neuro-imaging, and LEAGUE, a new personal health platform.

Today’s news brings MaRS’ West Tower to over 70% lease-up. MaRS has secured a strong pipeline of private sector tenants that will bring the building to over 90% leased in the coming months. These announcements will start next week.

These tenants affirm MaRS’ model of co-locating scientists and entrepreneurs with a view to commercializing discoveries. “Toronto’s world-class science has become a powerful springboard for new companies,” said Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS. “We’ve seen this synergy in phase one. Now with the West Tower filling up, we’re on track to double the scale of this ecosystem of leading researchers, ambitious startups and innovative multinationals.”

The University of Toronto — a new anchor tenant — has acquired a 20% equity stake in the West Tower to advance discoveries and entrepreneurship. An original co-founder of MaRS, U of T has chosen the site for its renowned research teams working in drug discovery, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases and advanced computing. Drawing on Toronto’s leading stem cell and tissue engineering expertise, one group will focus on new models for repairing damaged hearts. This group is part of the new Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research — a partnership that includes the University Health Network (UHN) and the Hospital for Sick Children.

“It is fitting and very exciting that the University of Toronto should become a co-owner of the MaRS West Tower, and a major presence in the building,” said Meric Gertler, President, University of Toronto. “We are a founding partner in MaRS, and U of T faculty, staff and students play a crucial role in the Toronto region technology cluster and innovation ecosystem.”

U of T is joined by UHN and its Transplant Innovation Centre. This Centre develops and commercializes novel methods that enhance the usable pool of donor organs that can be safely transplanted. UHN will also expand its molecular diagnostics hub at MaRS, working closely with private sector partners to develop digital platforms for precision medicine.

“Toronto has some of the most talented, creative and collaborative hospital researchers, all of whom thrive in a dynamic, entrepreneurial hub,” said Dr. Peter Pisters, President and CEO, UHN. “Providing them with the opportunities in MaRS to develop new partnerships and technologies of the future will help patients and establish Toronto as a global innovator.”

Other tenants announced are strategically aligned to grow Toronto’s health industries: The West Tower will accommodate the rapid growth of Synaptive Medical, a leader in brain imaging to guide complex neurosurgery; LEAGUE, a new personal health platform; and Ryerson University’s science faculty, providing critical laboratory capacity for researchers and graduate students.

“We are excited to become an even more significant member of the MaRS eco-system by committing to be a long-term anchor tenant,” said Cameron Piron, Co-Founder and President, Synaptive Medical. “MaRS has provided us with an environment to rapidly grow from a small startup to an international leader in the field of surgical imaging and technology.”

“MaRS is the largest urban tech centre in North America, at the epicentre of healthcare delivery, research and policy,” said Mike Serbinis, CEO and Founder, LEAGUE. “It’s the perfect place to start a new company with a mission to transform healthcare.”

While the health sector dominates today’s news, MaRS’ West Tower has already attracted companies across adjacent technology sectors, including Facebook Canada, the world’s largest social network and Emerald Technology Ventures, a global investor in cleantech and advanced materials.

MaRS’ West Tower is expected to be fully leased by early 2016, ahead of the timelines recommended in the Report of the MaRS Phase 2 Expert Panel.

“MaRS is a great example of the value of partnerships between innovative companies, universities, academic hospitals, research institutes and government,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation. “These exciting new anchor tenants align directly with MaRS’ mandate and will further Ontario’s position as a global leader in life sciences, leading to tangible medical benefits for Ontarians while taking advantage of a massive economic opportunity.”

“MaRS helps generate significant economic activity for Ontario’s economy, and today’s announcement of strong, innovative anchor tenants enhances their vision,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario Minster of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. “I’m pleased the project is on track, and that MaRS can continue creating jobs and helping startup companies grow. With the remainder of the building currently oversubscribed with interested tenants, I am confident that the West Tower will realize its full potential and continue helping innovative health-science entrepreneurs succeed in the global marketplace.”

MaRS West Tower existing and future tenants in health, information technology and cleantech include:

  • University of Toronto
  • University Health Network
  • Ryerson University
  • Facebook Canada
  • Synaptive Medical
  • Emerald Technology Ventures
  • Love Energy Consultants
  • Rethink Sustainability
  • CTR Inc.
  • Intelligent Office
  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR)
  • Public Health Ontario
  • MaRS Innovation
  • Ontario Genomics Institute
  • The Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit (OSSU)
  • Institute for Diagnostic Imaging Research
  • Clinical Trials Ontario

Additional business tenants will be announced in the weeks ahead.

About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is the one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS supports over 1,000 promising young ventures tackling key societal challenges in the health, cleantech and ICT sectors. In the last three years, these ventures have raised $1.3 billion in capital and earned $640 million in revenue. In addition to helping startups launch, grow and scale, the MaRS community is dedicated to cross-disciplinary convergence, commercialization of discoveries and driving ideas to impact.

For media enquires, contact:
Lara Torvi
MaRS Discovery District