Toronto and Vancouver, November 30, 2009 – MaRS Innovation (MI) and the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) are pleased to announce that they have entered into an agreement to collaborate on projects of mutual interest with a goal to advance and commercialize early-stage health-related discoveries.

“We are excited about our partnership with the CDRD as it provides an opportunity for the two organizations to augment each other’s strengths, and leverage resources to generate attractive packages for potential partners, thereby supporting both of our organizations’ mandates of commercializing promising academic research. By entering into this innovative agreement, we believe the commercial potential of select projects in our pipeline will be enhanced,” said Dr. Rafi Hofstein, President and CEO of MaRS Innovation.

“CDRD’s collaboration with MaRS Innovation is vital as it allows us to further expand our pipeline of innovative and novel research discoveries beyond British Columbia to include exceptional researchers from the Toronto region. While we already work with the major research institutions in BC, our infrastructure has the capacity to support the commercialization of health research projects on a national level, with the aim of translating this academic research into medically important therapeutics,” said Natalie Dakers, Chief Executive Officer for CDRD.

The first joint project arising out of this collaboration involves technology developed by Dr. Paul Fraser (University of Toronto) and Dr. Bruce Verchere (University of British Columbia), who are investigating amyloid aggregation inhibitors as a novel approach to address the treatment of diabetes.

“As the inventor, I am looking forward to seeing this innovative technology progress even further by combining the extensive medicinal chemistry work of my lab with the diabetes-specific expertise of Dr. Verchere. The support of MI and CDRD will accelerate and augment the development of this program,” said Dr. Paul Fraser, Professor and Diener Chair for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Toronto.

“We believe this technology has the potential to be disease modifying and could create a new paradigm for treating Type 2 Diabetes. This partnership allows us to leverage resources and still focus on our core interests and capabilities. Working with MI and CDRD will provide us with project management oversight, funding support, and access to extensive drug development personnel and infrastructure,” said Dr. Bruce Verchere, Professor and Irving K Barber Chair in Diabetes Research at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Verchere is also Head of the Diabetes Research Program at the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI).

The Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program has recognized both MaRS Innovation and CDRD as “Centres of Excellence in Commercialization in Research (CECR)”.
About CDRD
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) ( guides and supports early-stage drug development from leading academic and health research institutions to increase the successful commercialization of new therapeutics. CDRD provides drug development expertise and infrastructure to enable researchers to develop promising drug candidates. CDRD’s commercial arm, Drug Development Inc (DDI), licenses technologies from affiliated institutions, advances projects by leveraging CDRD’s expertise and infrastructure, and establishes working collaborations with other biotech and life sciences companies.
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.

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 additional information, please contact

Jodi Regts
Director, Communications
Centre for Drug Research and Development
(604) 221-7750 x182

Linda Quattrin
Director, Communications
MaRS Discovery District
(416) 673-8104