New Partnership to Establish Ontario as Premier Site in Pre-Market Evaluation of Medical Technologies

Toronto, December 6, 2011 – MaRS today announces pilot studies that will position Ontario as the premier global site for pre-market evaluation of innovative, new medical technologies. Both multinational and small and medium-sized enterprises are invited to apply to participate in the studies, the first stage in a groundbreaking public-private partnership—MaRS Excellence in Clinical Innovation and Technology Evaluation (“EXCITE”).

Medical devices and equipment are contributing to the increased cost of health care in Ontario and around the world. EXCITE will lower health care costs and increase patient benefits by improving the quality and relevance of these technologies, streamlining their health system adoption and expediting their market penetration. In doing so, EXCITE will accelerate innovation for the benefit of patients, the health system and the economy.

EXCITE brings Ontario’s established excellence in technology evaluation to important products earlier in their development lifecycle. Focusing exclusively on high-potential products that align with health system priorities and patient needs, EXCITE’s pre-market approach identifies opportunities for improvement while products are still in development, resulting in better technologies for patients and lower system costs, while also streamlining the subsequent adoption process.

Dr. Les Levin, MaRS EXCITE Chief Scientific Officer, is building on his experience as head of Ontario’s Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) at Health Quality Ontario, which, together with multiple academic partners, has positioned Ontario as a globally recognized leader in medical technology assessment.

Dr. Levin sees EXCITE as the next step in the evolution of assessing technologies through a single process, doing away with the multiple, evidence-based approaches currently applied to new health technologies by many countries, which may be stifling innovation. “Medical technologies have most often been developed without the benefit of interaction between the health system and industry to help us understand how new technologies meet the health system’s needs,” he says. “EXCITE provides an opportunity for industry, government, academia, medical experts and the health system to work together in a single, efficient process to bring breakthrough medical technologies to patients and to the market.”

EXCITE represents a unique and powerful partnership:

  • Health system (Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee [OHTAC])
  • Government (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care [MOHLTC] and Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation [MEDI])
  • Academia (Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario [CAHO] and more than 10 leading academic health institutions across Ontario)
  • Industry (MEDEC and HTX)
  • MaRS Discovery District

EXCITE is hosted by MaRS Discovery District, benefiting from MaRS’ role as a neutral platform focused on accelerating innovation.

Ilse Treurnicht, CEO MaRS Discovery District, sees EXCITE as a potential catalyst for innovation and job growth in the province. “Leadership in this field will attract multinational companies here to test and build technologies under the new streamlined process. It will also make it easier for Ontario innovators to get their products validated using our own health system. In combination, these efforts will stimulate job growth in the health technology sector, and increase the local and global adoption of Ontario-produced innovations.”

“A key focus of our innovation strategy is fostering strong collaborations that are vital to success in the new knowledge economy,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation.  “We’re proud of this project, which will drive innovation and grow our economy by bringing medical breakthroughs that provide better healthcare to Ontarians.” The deadline for applications to participate in the studies is December 20, 2011. For more information on EXCITE and the pilot application process, visit

The MaRS Excellence in Clinical Innovation and Technology Evaluation initiative (EXCITE) is a groundbreaking partnership between the health system, academe, government and industry to establish effective pre-market evidence development and evaluation of high-impact medical technologies. EXCITE is hosted by MaRS Discovery District.

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District (Twitter: @MaRSDD) is a mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building Canada’s next generation of growth companies.

For more information, contact:

Karen Greve Young
Director, Strategic Initiatives
(416) 673-6609

Chris Stevenson
Director, Communications
(416) 673-8104