MaRS Discovery District appoints new CEO

Dr. Ilse Treurnicht will add impressive commercialization expertise to the MaRS executive team

Toronto, December 9, 2004 – The Board of Directors of MaRS Discovery District is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ilse Treurnicht to the position of Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2005. Mr. Kenneth Knox, currently part-time CEO, will be stepping down from this role. Mr. John Cook will remain as President and Chief Operating Officer.

“MaRS is dedicated to strengthening our ability to commercialize the substantial public investment in academic research to benefit the health and economic future of Canadians,” said Dr. John Evans, Chair of the MaRS Board of Directors.

“The evolution of MaRS calls for the addition of critical expertise in the process of transforming discovery into commercial success and supporting Canadian companies in their quest to become global market leaders. Dr. Treurnicht has a deep understanding of this ecosystem, and her leadership will contribute to realizing the MaRS vision.”

“John Cook’s leadership has taken MaRS from concept to reality, and the MaRS Board of Directors is extremely grateful for his successful efforts in developing a strong foundation for MaRS in a very short timeframe,” continued Dr. Evans.

The MaRS Centre, a globally significant research and commercialization complex, is on schedule and on budget to open in March, 2005. Phase One is 85% pre-leased and has attracted a strategic mix of researchers, start-ups, professional services, venture capital, and larger companies.

The MaRS online portal, which will virtually link MaRS and Ontario’s regional technology opportunities, will be launched in January, 2005. Mr. Cook has also been instrumental in establishing MaRS as a global brand and valid competitor in attracting international capital and talent.

Dr. Treurnicht is currently President & CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures Inc., one of Canada’s leading seed stage venture capital funds. She will continue to support the Primaxis team in the management of its portfolio of emerging companies in the advanced technology sector.

Prior to joining Primaxis, Dr. Treurnicht was an entrepreneur with senior management roles in a number of start-up companies. She has been involved in the commercialization of a variety of technologies, ranging from materials to environmental products, medical devices and consumer products. In the process, she has worked with small and large companies, academic inventors and university tech transfer offices, as well as government research organizations. She currently serves as a Director of Primaxis Technology Ventures Inc., BTI Photonic Systems, Optimer Photonics, Toronto Venture Group (TVG), Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA), Ontario Genomics Institute, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE Inc.) and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR).

Dr. Treurnicht received both her B.Sc. Honours and M.Sc. degrees cum laude from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. She earned a doctorate in chemistry at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Western Ontario.

“Ilse and John are committed to taking MaRS forward to the next phase of its mandate – a bold set of objectives to capitalize on our immense research output in science and technology. Together they will oversee the launch of the MaRS Discovery District facility and build the inter-connecting networks that will help all our stakeholders flourish,” concluded Dr. Evans.

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