Toronto, June 25, 2008 – More than 100 stakeholders gathered at MaRS late last week to formally launch an innovative partnership that aims to aggregate and build a diversified portfolio of discovery and commercialization assets across 16 outstanding Toronto institutions.

The partnership – known as MaRS Innovation – is among 11 new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs) announced earlier this year in Ottawa. As a CECR, MaRS Innovation will receive $14.95 million for a five-year program to accelerate the commercialization of promising research from its member institutions:

  • University of Toronto
  • University Health Network
  • The Hospital for Sick Children
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Baycrest
  • Bloorview Kids Rehab
  • The New Women’s College Hospital
  • Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
  • Ryerson University
  • Ontario College of Art and Design
  • BioDiscovery Toronto
  • MaRS Discovery District

Speaking at the launch event were: Mike Wallace, MP (Burlington), on behalf of Industry Minister Jim Prenctice; Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Chair of the National Centres of Excellence Steering Committee; Monte Kwinter, Parliamentary Assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade, and Chair of the Ontario Investment and Trade Advisory Council; Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children, and Founding Board Chair of MaRS Innovation; and Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, MaRS CEO, and acting Managing Director of MaRS Innovation.

“MaRS Innovation will, for the first time, aggregate the exceptional discovery pipeline and commercialization resources of leading Toronto academic institutions to build a diversified portfolio of assets, and harness the economic potential of the best opportunities,” Dr. Treurnicht said. “This pipeline will span all sectors, drawing on the rich potential of more than 100,000 students, thousands of talented faculty, and more than $1 billion in research funding.”

The objectives of MaRS Innovation are to:

  • Build a professional managed business accelerator platform as a single point of entry for industry partners and investors;
  • Increase the scale, scope and viability of IP offerings, and the quantity and quality of deal flow;
  • Create strong IP portfolios by bundling assets from multiple institutions in areas of strength and market relevance;
  • Facilitate strategic multi-institutional research collaborations with industry partners;
  • Attract new talent – from entrepreneurial students, post-docs and researchers to serial entrepreneurs and business professionals;
  • Launch and grow robust new spin-off companies;
  • Catalyze and attract sources of risk capital for translational research, market validation, company formation and growth.

Dr. Fortier underscored the transformative potential of this broad commercial collaboration. “The work you will be doing at MaRS Innovation over the next five years will not only advance science and technology, it will stimulate job creation and business investment. Your achievements will have a major impact on the economy and international prestige of this region and on the quality of life of all Canadians. It’s a tall order but we wouldn’t be here today if we were not confident in your ability to fulfill that potential.”

The 2007 federal budget set aside $195 million over the next two years to create new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research in four priority areas: environmental science and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and life sciences, and information and communication technologies. These 11 CECRs join seven Centres of Excellence announced in Budget 2007. The CECR program is a cornerstone of Canada’s Science and Technology Strategy. One of the goals of the strategy is to encourage more private-sector investment in research and development. The strategy also emphasizes capitalizing on our people, knowledge and entrepreneurial advantages to build a stronger Canadian society and economy.

For More Information

For more information on MaRS Innovation, contact:
Tony Redpath, MaRS VP Partner Programs
MaRS Discovery District

For information on CECRs, please contact:
Natasha Gauthier, Communications Manager
National Centres of Excellence

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