MaRS Innovation’s Commercialization Program Raises $15M


Startup 3

MaRS Innovation, which assists in the commercialization of promising research breakthroughs from 16 of Toronto’s top universities, institutions and research institutes, has raised C$15 million from government sources for its Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs) program. To date, CECRs has helped launch 94 companies and leverage almost C$270 million in partner contributions. MaRS Innovation has raised a total of C$65 million since its establishment in 2008.

PRESS RELEASE

MaRS Innovation awarded $15 million to further commercialize world-leading Canadian innovations

Networks of Centres of Excellence recognizes strength of partnership between MI and its 16 member institutions

TORONTO, February 5, 2013 — How do you make sure the brilliant ideas emerging from Toronto’s academic research community get the best possible chance to succeed?

MaRS Innovation (MI), created in 2008, bridges the chasm between these early-stage technologies and successful start-up companies and licensable technologies. By offering early-stage funding in tandem with hands-on management, mentorship and IP strategy protection, MI acts as a commercialization agent for its 16 member institutions.

The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) has recognized the increasing strength of this novel partnership by awarding MI $14.95 million in funding through the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program.

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology):

“Congratulations to MaRS Innovation for its successful application to the recent competition,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “MI has a strong record of generating results for small and medium-sized companies by helping them realize the commercial potential of innovative Canadian ideas.”

Member institution fees, grants from the Government of Ontario and the MI-Global Industry framework fund will provide matching funding.” In total, four centres were extended for a total of $48.1 million through the recent CECR competition.

“MaRS Innovation’s application was a team effort in the truest sense, involving our staff, our Board of Directors and our colleagues within the members’ technology transfer offices,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president & CEO. “Our team presented a rigorous strategic business plan and case for financial sustainability, based on detailed analysis and forecasts of our portfolio assets. We are confident that we will achieve that sustainability in three years.

Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation:

“On behalf of our members, MI thanks our colleagues at the NCE for their continued support of our mandate.”

To date, CECRs have helped launch 94 companies and leverage almost $270 million in partner contributions, or $1.85 for every dollar of CECR funding spent by the centres. Companies served by CECRs have created more than 3,600 jobs in the program’s first four years.

“The CECR program has been extremely effective in bridging the challenging gap between innovation and commercialization,” said Nancy Hughes Anthony, chair of the NCE’s Private Sector Advisory Board. “It occupies a unique place along the innovation continuum, leveraging the expertise and resources of the private and public sectors to translate promising research into tangible benefits for Canada.”

About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation (MI) is the commercialization agent for the exceptional discovery pipeline from 16 leading Ontario academic institutions, and has raised over $65 million to commercialize their technologies. As a single-entry point to total member research activity of $1 billion in annual research and development, MI provides a gateway for investors and licensees who wish to access technology assets in Ontario. 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 member institutions, MI is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into real commercial opportunities. MI’s portfolio includes the most promising assets and advances commercialization into global markets through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.

About the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research program
The CECR program is managed by the Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat on behalf of the three federal granting agencies—the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—in partnership with Industry Canada and Health Canada. It was created in 2007 with a $285 million investment over five years. The program’s budget was $31.2 million in 2011-12, and it currently supports 22 active centres based across the country.

The NCE operates a suite of national funding programs that mobilize Canada’s best research, development and entrepreneurial talent and focus it on specific issues and strategic areas. By supporting large scale collaborations between universities, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations, NCE programs focus research capacity on economic and social challenges, help commercialize and apply research breakthroughs, increase private-sector R&D, and train highly qualified people.

By Elizabeth Monier-Williams, marketing and communications manager.

 Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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