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Posted August 11 , 2010
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Life Sciences

MaRS Innovation Establishes Co-Managed Fund to Advance Transformative Healthcare Technologies

TORONTO - MaRS Innovation (MI) has signed a co-funding agreement with the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology to capitalize and accelerate the use of Toronto-based life-sciences technologies during the early stages of pharmaceutical and medical device development. The Translational Innovation Partnership Program (TIPP) is the first co-funding agreement of its kind for MI.

"This co-managed fund represents a unique public-private partnership that is strategic for MI as it provides a complementary mechanism to address the commercialization gap for Toronto and Canada," says Parimal Nathwani, Vice President of Commercialization for MI. "This gap opens up wide and early in the life sciences, both nationally and globally. Fabulous ideas must gain sufficient support to make it to proof of concept, let alone to clinical trials. This partnership will help our members' innovative therapeutics and medical devices take their first major step toward the national and global marketplace."

During the three-year agreement, both organizations will commit a defined capital pool to co-fund high potential projects that will be selected by a joint management committee. The goal of the partnership is rapid translation of technologies to preliminary proof of concept within 12 to 24 months. Leveraging financial and product development resources through this relationship will provide an effective mechanism for commercialization of MI member technologies through licensing or company creation.

"This relationship establishes MI's ability to foster strong corporate relationships," says Nathwani. "MI members are renowned for their success in securing traditional research grants to support basic research. However, procuring translational funding has proven challenging. By providing additional funding mechanisms and obtaining engaging and valuable industry feedback to drive market 'pull' strategies rather than market 'push' strategies, MI will facilitate successful commercialization of early stage technologies.

"MI will continue to treat all disclosures received from its member institutions, nearly 300 in totally so far, as high priorities for assessment under the MI model," adds Nathwani. "We are committed to the development of innovative deals for all technology sectors including Physical Sciences and Information Technology, akin to the one with Johnson & Johnson in the health sciences sector, that match the caliber of the innovations we consistently see".

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