MaRS Innovation selects umbilical cord stem cell technology from Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital as its first commercialization opportunity



    TORONTO, June 29 /CNW/ - MaRS Innovation and the Samuel Lunenfeld
Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital are pleased to announce that they
have entered into an agreement to collaboratively initiate commercialization
of an umbilical cord stem cell technology for potential treatment in
cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurological disorders.
    "With the Toronto area identified as a world-leading cluster in stem cell
research, we are extremely excited to have identified this technology as our
first commercialization opportunity," said Dr. Rafi Hofstein, President and
CEO of MaRS Innovation.
    The technology - invented by Mount Sinai scientists Dr. Ian Rogers and
Dr. Robert Casper - offers a proprietary method to create multi-potent stem
cells (MPSCs) from human umbilical cord blood. With preclinical data
demonstrating efficacy of MPSCs in diabetes, peripheral vascular disease (a
complication of diabetes that can lead to amputation) and neurological
conditions, the technology has significant potential to address multiple unmet
medical needs.
    MaRS Innovation, along with the inventors and Mount Sinai, will initially
focus on the diabetes application for the technology, as research has
demonstrated that these cells uniquely secrete insulin in response to glucose,
thereby mimicking the "normal" physiological state. Although there are other
technologies currently being developed for diabetes treatment, very few have
the potential to replace insulin injections like the MPSC technology developed
at Mount Sinai.
    "The great advantages of stem cells from umbilical cord blood are their
abundance worldwide," explained Dr. Rogers, Scientist, Samuel Lunenfeld
Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital. "Transferring this knowledge to
the clinic could mean a feasible alternative to insulin injections and
treatment for peripheral vascular disease."
    "We are delighted to be collaborating with the MaRS Innovation team on
this exciting project," said Terry Donaghue, Mount Sinai's Director,
Technology Transfer & Industrial Liaison, noting that safety studies are the
next step toward receiving regulatory approval for clinical studies. "With
Drs. Rogers and Caspers' research, we knew there was a significant opportunity
to potentially develop innovative therapies for patients. With MaRS
Innovation's participation, we are optimistic we will succeed."
    Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount
Sinai Hospital, underscored the Institute's drive to improve patient care.
"Mount Sinai is focused on translating discoveries into technologies that will
improve patient care," Dr. Woodgett said. "Our partnership with MaRS
Innovation on developing methods for using stem cells for diseases such as
diabetes will allow us to work towards advancing care for these critical
conditions."
    With the launch of this first exciting opportunity, MaRS Innovation has
embarked on a journey to transform the Toronto-based research enterprise into
a successful commercialization cluster.
    Furthermore, today's announcement demonstrates that MaRS Innovation is
building its own internal infrastructure to support intellectual property and
market due diligence to identify the most promising commercial opportunities.
MaRS Innovation is dedicated to converting the outstanding science of its
member institutions into products and services, making a significant
contribution to Canada's future economic outlook and the quality of life for
Canadians and others around the world.
    "We are deeply committed to creating a powerful engine for
commercialization that brings together an experienced team to identify and
validate market opportunities, develop technologies to market requirements and
build the linkages that will advance the exceptional research of all of our
institutional members," added Dr. Hofstein. "We look forward to announcing
additional technologies to add to our pipeline over the next several weeks."

    About MaRS Innovation:

    MaRS Innovation (www.marsdd.com/mars-innovation) provides an integrated
commercialization platform that harnesses the economic potential of the
exceptional discovery pipeline of 14 leading Toronto academic institutions.
MaRS Innovation is a non-profit organization with an independent industry-led
Board of Directors, funded through the Government of Canada's Networks of
Centres of Excellence and contributions of its member institutions.

    About the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital:

    The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital
(www.lunenfeld.ca), a University of Toronto affiliated research centre
established in 1985, is one of the world's premier centres in biomedical
research. Thirty-four principal investigators lead research in diabetes,
cancer biology, epidemiology, stem cell research, women's and infants' health,
neurobiology and systems biology.

    
                               MaRS Innovation
    

    Designed to enhance the commercial output of Toronto's outstanding
scientific research cluster, MaRS Innovation will make a significant
contribution to Canada's economic outlook and the quality of life for
Canadians and others around the world. Supported by the Government of Canada
through the Networks of Centres of Excellence and its 14 member institutions,
MaRS Innovation is a partnership that is truly transformational and will focus
on turning research strengths into real economic opportunities. MaRS
Innovation, with support from MaRS Discovery District and BioDiscovery
Toronto, will advance commercialization through industry partnerships,
licensing and company creation. The Board of Directors, which includes
academic and business leaders from across Canada and the U.S., has the
targeted expertise to direct MaRS Innovation to work together with its
members, build a diverse portfolio of assets, and harness the economic and job
creation potential of the best opportunities for Toronto, Ontario and Canada.
    The MaRS Innovation mission is to put Canada on the global innovation
stage, by better connecting research with industry and strengthening Canada's
competitive capacity in knowledge based businesses - in short, to launch a new
generation of robust, high-growth Canadian companies that will become global
market leaders.

    
     MaRS Innovation Member Institutions:

    - Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care    - Ryerson University
    - BioDiscovery Toronto                  - St. Michael's Hospital
    - Bloorview Kids Rehab                  - Sunnybrook Health Sciences
    - Centre for Addiction and Mental         Centre
      Health                                - The Hospital for Sick Children
    - MaRS Discovery District               - The New Women's College
    - Mount Sinai Hospital                    Hospital
    - Ontario College of Art and Design     - Toronto Rehabilitation
    - Ontario Institute for Cancer            Institute
      Research                              - University Health Network
                                            - University of Toronto

    MaRS Innovation Board of Directors:

    -   W. Geoffrey Beattie - Deputy Chair & President, Woodbridge Company
        Ltd., Thomson Reuters Corp.
    -   Christopher C. Capelli, M.D. - Vice President, Technology Based
        Ventures, Office of Technology Commercialization, University of
        Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
    -   Ron Close - Entrepreneur-in-Residence, MaRS, and Executive
        Entrepreneur-in- Residence, The Richard Ivey School of Business, The
        University of Western Ontario
    -   Nicholas Darby - President, Darby & Associates Consulting LLC
    -   Mary Jo Haddad - President & CEO, The Hospital for Sick Children
    -   Jacqueline H.R. Le Saux - General Counsel, Purdue Pharma Canada
    -   David A. Leslie - Former Chairman & CEO, Ernst & Young, and Chair,
        Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
    -   Michael H. May - President, Rimon Therapeutics
    -   Chandra J. Panchal - President, Mentra Nova Enterprises Inc.
    -   Ilse Treurnicht - CEO, MaRS Discovery District
    -   Donald A. Wright - President & CEO, The Winnington Capital Group Inc.
    





For further information:

For further information: Susan McGovern, Vice President, MaRS
Innovation, at smcgovern@marsinnovation.com or (647) 260-7878; Melissa
McDermott, Media Relations, at mmcdermott@mtsinai.on.ca or (416) 586-4800 ext
8306

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