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Ontario advancing nine medical research projects in cancer, heart disease and sleep apnea to market

February 4, 2016

TORONTO (February 4, 2016) — Nine Ontario-based medical research projects built on great science with potential for significant economic impact are advancing a step closer to market entry thanks to funding from Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Medical Sciences Proof-of-Principle (MSc PoP) program. The projects range from cancer to heart disease to sleep apnea in children.

The MSc PoP program helps commercialize promising intellectual property (IP) in life sciences and medical technology developed at Ontario’s publicly funded academic research institutions (universities, colleges, and research hospitals). It seeks to deliver substantial and sustainable economic benefits to the province by allowing new Ontario-based companies to build businesses upon this IP or by licensing the IP to an existing Ontario-based company.

“The MSc PoP program is producing some truly game-changing research for the life sciences space,” says Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). “These projects are great examples of what happens when publicly funded institutions and the private sector work together to advance ideas and support innovation.”

As the commercialization agent for 15 of Toronto’s research hospitals and institutions, MaRS Innovation (MI) is a key OCE partner in delivering the MSc PoP program.

“The MSc PoP program has a long, successful history with applicants from MaRS Innovation’s member institutions,” says Dr. Rafi Hofstein, MaRS Innovation’s president and CEO. “Past start-up recipients include Encycle Therapeutics, ScarX Therapeutics, XOR Labs and 7D Surgical, among others. We’re pleased to see five of our institutional members represented in this year’s successful applications and look forward to working with their founding teams to advance these technologies to create social, health and economic benefits for Ontarians.”

"Ontario is known around the world for its innovative research in life sciences, and our government is proud to support this hugely important sector," says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. "Through the MSc PoP program, researchers and companies are working together to advance disruptive and life-saving technologies and products that will have tremendous social and economic benefits.”

OCE recently announced a call for the next round of projects eligible for grants of up to $70,000 each, which must be matched with industry funds for a total of $140,000. The application deadline is Feb. 25; more information can be found on OCE’s website.

The 2016 projects to be funded are:

  • St. Michael’s Hospital and LifeLabs are developing a non-invasive test to accurately predict aggressive tumor behavior in prostate cancer patients to seek alternatives to unnecessary surgery with reduced costs, complications and side effects.
  • The University Health Network (Princess Margaret Hospital) is examining mitochondrial proteasome (ClpP) as a new therapeutic target for patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
  • University Health Network and BresoTec Inc. are exploring a new way to test sleep apnea in children using a cordless, portable device.
  • The University Health Network is investigating brain cancer treatment improvements.
  • The Hospital for Sick Children, IRICoR and Blueline Bioscience are advancing drug discovery work related to heart arrhythmia.
  • The University of Toronto and Pfizer Canada Inc. are working to improve the flow of drug treatments across the blood brain barrier.
  • Sunnybrook Research Institute and Johnson & Johnson Innovation are working to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy treatments.
  • The Hospital for Sick Children, IRICoR and Universite de Montreal are continuing their work on brain cancer treatments.
  • McMaster University and Triumvira Immunologics Inc. are working on data collection and demonstrations of cancer treatments.

 About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (www.oce-ontario.org)

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, domestic and foreign investors, and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices, innovation, entrepreneurship and research, OCE invests in such areas as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), which helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. Learn more at www.onebusiness.ca

About MaRS Innovation (www.marsinnovation.com)

MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 leading academic institutions in Ontario. It provides investors and licensees with a single point to access technology assets emerging from its members, who receive $1.4 billion in annual research and development funding. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its 15 member institutions, MI is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. Learn more at www.marsinnovation.com or follow us on Twitter @marsinnovation.   

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Media contacts:

Stuart Green
Manager, Media Relations
Ontario Centres of Excellence
416-861-1092 x 1022
stuart.green@oce-ontario.org 

Elizabeth Monier-Williams
Director, Marketing and Communications
MaRS Innovation
647-537-9097
emonierwilliams@marsinnovation.com
@marsinnovation