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MaRS Innovation

$29.9 million for 2008-17
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MaRS Innovation

Number of partners

Partner contributions
$56 million

Toronto, Ontario

President and CEO
Rafi Hofstein Rafi Hofstein

Board chair
Barry McLellan Barry McLellan
President and CEO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Harnessing innovations from Canada's largest research cluster

Toronto’s research community receives more than $1 billion in annual funding. Like similar hubs around the world, it has struggled to transform brilliant research inventions into successful startups and innovative technologies. That changed in 2008, when the University of Toronto, its affiliated research institutions and other academic research institutions joined forces to bundle their collective intellectual property into a single commercialization platform. This unique commercialization model is converting great science into commercially viable products and services. It acts as a bridge to take important inventions across the historical chasm of seed-stage funding and development, while creating jobs and making a significant contribution to Canada’s economic outlook and the quality of life of Canadians and others around the world.

Among the results

  • MI has assessed more than 1,500 technology disclosures spanning the health care, ICT and physical sciences sectors, and has launched 60 companies, of which 52 are growing in Canada.
  • MI co-directs the University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) program, which has launched 28 ICT startups from the university’s software research community since its creation in 2012.
  • Founded in partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children and MI, ScarX Therapeutics discovers and develops innovative treatments for dermal scarring. The company received approval from Health Canada to begin a Phase I clinical trial of its nefopam cream, the first-of-its-kind topical treatment developed to significantly reduce surgical scarring.
  • Encycle Therapeutics is a drug discovery company that exploits a novel process to generate a new class of therapeutics called nacellins, which can act on protein targets in the body that are inaccessible to conventional drugs.  The company has collaborated with multiple pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Merck, and has secured nearly $11 million in funding to date from various entities, including Takeda Ventures and MI.

Connect with MaRS Innovation


MaRS Innovation revolutionizes approach to commercialization
June 22, 2016
MaRS Innovation (MI) is attracting global attention—and global investors—for a novel model that solves the three biggest challenges to early-stage commercialization: generating robust deal flow, financing young companies and recruiting experienced entrepreneurs. Read more
NCE community members among winners of prestigious Canadian science awards
February 18, 2015
The winners of prestigious science prizes given out to some of Canada’s top researchers include innovators who have made important contributions to NCE-funded networks and centres. The annual awards from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) are bestowed for a wide range of world-class achievements by Canadian researchers that boost discovery, training and innovation in Canada. His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, honoured the winners at a ceremony at Rideau Hall on February 17. Read more
New grading software saves teachers time and governments money
September 24, 2014
What started as a "logistical nightmare" – marking 5,000 exams with just 100 graders for the 2011 Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge (COMC) – has evolved into a rapidly growing start-up with global market potential. Read more
Building Canada's Strengths: Regenerative Medicine
April 17, 2014
Canada is recognized as a global leader in stem cell and bioengineering science, with over 400 stem cell scientists working in 68 research centres within, or affiliated with, 25 Canadian universities. Given its rich history of research excellence in the field, this country is uniquely placed to be one of the earliest beneficiaries of stem cell advances. Read more
Building Canada's Strengths: Drug Discovery and Commercialization
April 17, 2014
Developing new drugs is a long, complex and expensive process. The NCE supports several models that are helping reduce the risk and accelerate the commercialization of medical innovations that will improve health-care delivery and patient care in Canada and abroad. Read more
Connecting people with technology
October 3, 2013
Two years ago, becoming an entrepreneur was not on Will Walmsley’s radar. Today, he can’t imagine doing anything else, thanks to a program that helped him take his master’s degree research project and turn it into a business. Read more
Building the world's largest life sciences corridor between Quebec and Ontario
August 1, 2013
In 2011, the Ontario and Quebec governments established the Ontario-Quebec Life Sciences Corridor, enabling the two provinces to become one of the largest bioclusters in the world. One of its priorities is to enhance opportunities for investment, partnership and collaboration in life sciences research, innovation and commercialization. Read more
Watch Video
MaRS Innovation, Ahead of Innovation
November 4, 2016