MaRS Innovation selects Diabetic Wound Healing Technology from The University of Toronto as its second commercialization opportunity

    TORONTO, June 30 /CNW/ - MaRS Innovation and The University of Toronto (U
of T) are pleased to announce that they have entered into an agreement to
collaboratively commercialize a novel sustained release formulation of nitric
oxide (NO) for applications in wound healing, including diabetic ulcers.
    "There are 300 million diabetics worldwide, of which some 15 per cent
develop troublesome foot ulcers. This wound healing technology is extremely
exciting, making it an early commercialization opportunity that MaRS
Innovation has identified as being a potential win for some 45 million
diabetics globally," said Dr. Rafi Hofstein, President and CEO of MaRS
    Briefly, this disruptive technology that facilitates continued
therapeutic release of NO over a two week period has been developed by Dr.
Ping Lee, Professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and GlaxoSmithKline
Chair in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery at U of T. The role of NO in various
biological applications, including wound healing, has been well documented for
some time. However, widespread clinical utility of NO has been limited by the
short duration of NO release and its half-life of two to four seconds.
Although there have been other sustained release NO formulations in
preclinical development, stability and duration of NO release have hampered
further development. Preliminary data demonstrate a therapeutic benefit of
this novel technology developed at U of T in diabetic ulcers with a single
administration. Furthermore, NO has a dual mechanism of action - not only does
it enhance wound quality and closure rates, but it can also act as an
anti-infective agent, which is also an important clinical property in wound
    "My co-inventor Dr. Yan Li and I are very enthusiastic about the
development of this technology as well as working with MaRS Innovation in
order to commercialize this important discovery," said Dr. Ping Lee. "We have
encouraging animal results that could translate into potentially beneficial,
long-lasting effects in patients with a single application."
    "This is one of many new commercilization ventures that will be initiated
by MaRS Innovation, our partner in commercialization of research with 13 other
academic institutions across the Greater Toronto Area," said Paul Young, U of
T's Vice-President, Research. "We at U of T are delighted that this innovation
from Dr. Lee will be taken to the marketplace to the benefit of society and
the economy of Ontario and Canada."
    With the launch of this second commercial opportunity, MaRS Innovation
will continue to aggregate the exceptional science of its institutional
members by being a one-stop commercialization centre for industry,
entrepreneurs and investors. MaRS Innovation is expediting the transformation
of the Toronto-based research into a powerful commercialization engine.
    "MaRS Innovation is deeply committed to facilitating strategic research
collaborations with industry partners, strengthening the innovation capacity
of Canadian industry through adoption of new technologies, and launching a new
generation of robust, high-growth Canadian companies that will become global
market leaders," added Dr. Hofstein. "We look forward to working closely with
all of our institutional members and to continue to jointly announce exciting
commercial opportunities."
    Once again, today's announcement demonstrates that MaRS Innovation is
dedicated to bringing brilliant discoveries to market by converting the
outstanding science of its member institutions into outstanding economic
results for Canada and the world.

    About MaRS Innovation:

    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 University of Toronto (U of T):

    The University of Toronto has assembled one of the strongest research and
teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels
with an intellectual environment unmatched in breadth and depth on any other
Canadian campus.
    U of T faculty co-author more research articles than their colleagues at
any university in the US or Canada other than Harvard. As a measure of impact,
U of T consistently ranks alongside the top five U.S. universities whose
discoveries are most often cited by other researchers around the world. The U
of T faculty are also widely recognized for their teaching strengths and
commitment to graduate supervision.
    Established in 1827, the University of Toronto today operates in downtown
Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough, as well as in ten renowned academic

    About 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       -   The Hospital for Sick
        Health                                    Children
    -   MaRS Discovery District               -   The New Women's College
    -   Mount Sinai Hospital                  -   Toronto Rehabilitation
    -   Ontario College of Art and Design     -   University Health Network
    -   Ontario Institute for Cancer Research -   University of Toronto

    MaRS Innovation Board of Directors:

    -   W. Geoffrey Beattie - Deputy Chair & President, Woodbridge Co. 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 or (647) 260-7878; Jenny Hall, U of T Research
Communications, at or (416) 946-3643

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