TIAP partners with Amgen to commercialize medical research


Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP), formerly MaRS Innovation, has announced its first partnership since rebranding

TIAP and Amgen, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, will identify promising medical research coming from TIAP’s 15 member institutions, which include the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Together, TIAP and Amgen will determine which ones have the potential to disrupt the medical industry. The two institutions will then determine how the research can turn into product development.

“TIAP is one of very few organizations that take risks on early-stage research.”
– Rafi Hofstein, TIAP

Speaking with BetaKit, TIAP president and CEO Rafi Hofstein said that the partnership is currently in phase one: identifying and funding projects. Once they figure out what projects they want to fund, the organizations decide if it makes more sense to license the technology to Amgen, or create a net-new company jointly owned by the two organizations.

“We have had an excellent relationship with Amgen over the years, and we are delighted that it has now led to a more formal collaboration,” said Hofstein “TIAP is one of very few organizations that take risks on early-stage research, and with Amgen’s philosophical and financial backing, we expect to see even more good science reach its potential in the marketplace.”

“To have Amgen as an active partner in our commercialization and venture builder efforts is a benefit not only to us and our members but certainly also to the Canadian health science ecosystem; and a strong testament to the increased profile of Toronto in international research circles,” he added

TIAP has also had a partnership with Evotec, a Germany-based drug discovery and development company, over the past two years. The two organizations launched Lab150 in 2017, which gives promising research from TIAP member institutions the infrastructure and pre-clinical drug development expertise to turn discoveries into medicine.

The Amgen partnership comes following MaRS Innovation’s recent rebrand to TIAP, which it announced on its 10th anniversary. In 2008, MaRS Innovation was created as a not-for-profit to support commercializing medical research from its member institutions. To qualify for federal funding, the MaRS Discovery District, one of TIAP’s member institutions, hosted the firm under the name MaRS Innovation, even though it was operated independently. Entrepreneurs growing their companies with TIAP can access mentorship programs at MaRS. The rebrand was made to allay confusion between the two firms.

To date, TIAP has received $30 million from the federal government, $10 million from the provincial government, and $20 million from member institutions. Portfolio companies created through TIAP have raised over $400 million in external investment.

Today, TIAP remains a not-for-profit focused on venture building and growth, with 60 early-stage companies in sectors such as therapeutics, medical devices, and health IT/AI in its portfolio.

“MaRS Innovation has been crucial in helping many of our most promising scientists and entrepreneurs leverage their groundbreaking research to support the growth of impactful businesses,” said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District. “Canada’s health sciences industry is fast becoming a world-leading sector, and I’m confident that with MaRS Innovation’s, now TIAP’s, refined focus, they will continue to play an invaluable role in this important work.”

Photo via Pixabay.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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