MaRS Innovation selects diabetic wound healing technology from The University of Toronto as its second commercialization opportunity

Toronto, June 30, 2009 – MaRS Innovation and The University of Toronto (U of T) are pleased to announce that they have entered into an agreement to collaboratively commercialize a novel sustained release formulation of nitric oxide (NO) for applications in wound healing, including diabetic ulcers.

“There are 300 million diabetics worldwide, of which some 15% develop troublesome foot ulcers. This wound healing technology is extremely exciting, making it an early commercialization opportunity that MaRS Innovation has identified as being a potential win for some 45 million diabetics globally,” said Dr. Rafi Hofstein, President and CEO of MaRS Innovation.

Briefly, this disruptive technology that facilitates continued therapeutic release of NO over a two week period has been developed by Dr. Ping Lee, Professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and GlaxoSmithKline Chair in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery at U of T. The role of NO in various biological applications, including wound healing, has been well documented for some time. However, widespread clinical utility of NO has been limited by the short
duration of NO release and its half-life of two to four seconds. Although there have been other sustained release NO formulations in preclinical development, stability and duration of NO release have hampered further development. Preliminary data demonstrate a therapeutic benefit of this novel technology developed at U of T in diabetic ulcers with a single administration. Furthermore, NO has a dual mechanism of action – not only does it enhance wound quality and closure rates, but it can also act as an anti-infective agent, which is also an important clinical property in wound healing.

“My co-inventor Dr. Yan Li and I are very enthusiastic about the development of this technology as well as working with MaRS Innovation in order to commercialize this important discovery,” said Dr. Ping Lee. “We have encouraging animal results that could translate into potentially beneficial, long-lasting effects in patients with a single application.”

“This is one of many new commercilization ventures that will be initiated by MaRS Innovation, our partner in commercialization of research with 13 other academic institutions across the Greater Toronto Area,” said Paul Young, U of T’s Vice-President, Research. “We at U of T are delighted that this innovation from Dr. Lee will be taken to the marketplace to the benefit of society and the economy of Ontario and Canada.”

With the launch of this second commercial opportunity, MaRS Innovation will continue to aggregate the exceptional science of its institutional members by being a one-stop commercialization centre for industry, entrepreneurs and investors. MaRS Innovation is expediting the transformation of the Toronto-based research into a powerful commercialization engine.

“MaRS Innovation is deeply committed to facilitating strategic research collaborations with industry partners, strengthening the innovation capacity of Canadian industry through adoption of new technologies, and launching a new generation of robust, high-growth Canadian companies that will become global market leaders,” added Dr. Hofstein. “We look forward to working closely with all of our institutional members and to continue to jointly announce
exciting commercial opportunities.”

Once again, today’s announcement demonstrates that MaRS Innovation is dedicated to bringing brilliant discoveries to market by converting the outstanding science of its member institutions into outstanding economic results for Canada and the world.
About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation ( provides an integrated commercialization platform that harnesses the economic potential of the exceptional discovery pipeline of 14 leading Toronto academic institutions. MaRS Innovation is a non-profit organization with an independent industry-led Board of Directors, funded through the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence and contributions of its member institutions.

For more information please contact Susan McGovern, Vice President MaRS Innovation, at or 647-260-7878.

About The University of Toronto (UofT)
The University of Toronto has assembled one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in breadth and depth on any other Canadian campus.

U of T faculty co-author more research articles than their colleagues at any university in the US or Canada other than Harvard. As a measure of impact, U of T consistently ranks alongside the top five U.S. universities whose discoveries are most often cited by other researchers around the world. The U of T faculty are also widely recognized for their teaching strengths and commitment to graduate supervision.

Established in 1827, the University of Toronto today operates in downtown Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough, as well as in ten renowned academic hospitals.

For more information please contact Jenny Hall, U of T Research Communications, or 416-946-3643.
Designed to enhance the commercial output of Toronto’s outstanding scientific research cluster, MaRS Innovation will make a significant contribution to Canada’s economic outlook and the quality of life for Canadians and others around the world.

Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence and its 14 member institutions, MaRS Innovation is a partnership that is truly transformational and will focus on turning research strengths into real economic opportunities. MaRS Innovation, with support from MaRS Discovery District and BioDiscovery Toronto, will advance commercialization through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. The Board of Directors, which includes academic and business leaders from across Canada and the U.S., has the targeted expertise to direct MaRS Innovation to work together with its members, build a diverse portfolio of assets, and harness the economic and job creation potential of the best opportunities for Toronto, Ontario and Canada.

The MaRS Innovation mission is to put Canada on the global innovation stage, by better connecting research with industry and strengthening Canada’s competitive capacity in knowledge based businesses – in short, to launch a new generation of robust, high-growth Canadian companies that will become global market leaders.

MaRS Innovation Member Institutions:

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

MaRS Innovation Board of Directors:

  • W. Geoffrey Beattie – Deputy Chair & President, Woodbridge Company Ltd., Thomson Reuters>
  • Christopher C.
    Capelli, M.D. – Vice President, Technology Based Ventures, Office of Technology Commercialization, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Ron Close – Entrepreneur-in-Residence, MaRS, and Executive Entrepreneur-in-Residence, The Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario
  • Nicholas Darby – President, Darby & Associates Consulting LLC
  • Mary Jo Haddad – President & CEO, The Hospital for Sick Children
  • Jacqueline H.R. Le Saux – General Counsel, Purdue Pharma Canada
  • David A. Leslie – Former Chairman & CEO, Ernst & Young, and Chair, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Michael H. May – President, Rimon Therapeutics
  • Chandra J. Panchal – President, Mentra Nova Enterprises Inc.
  • Ilse Treurnicht – CEO, MaRS Discovery District
  • Donald A. Wright – President & CEO, The Winnington Capital Group Inc.

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