GSK signs strategic deal with MaRS innovation

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

UK drug major GSK has entered into a ‘strategic partnership’ with MaRS Innovation, a Canadian group focused on harnessing the commercial potential of the discovery pipelines of 16 top Toronto academic institutions in its network.

Unlike other strategic partnerships announced this week​, GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) new collaboration is designed to establish an innovation fund to support the commercialisation of promising translational research.

The fund will focus its support in three key project areas: drug development, diagnostics and healthcare delivery. The plan is to provide capital, access to experts and help scientists develop promising research into successful commercial projects.

Paul Lucas CEO of GSK in Canada said: "Collaborations such as these--where we share knowledge, expertise and resources--provide a highly effective way of progressing and commercializing cutting edge research​. “

This was echoed by MaRS Innovation CEO Rafi Hofstein who said that the partnership is both a reflection of the potential of the projects being conducted and of Ontario’s history of innovative research.

"From the discovery of insulin in 1922 to the discovery of stem cells, Ontario has a rich, proud history of world-class medical and scientific breakthroughs. Our partnership with GSK Canada furthers Ontario's position as a major international research hub by providing much needed capital to fund exciting drug discovery and development technologies and bridging the gap to successful commercialization.

"The launch of this development fund is also part of a global trend where government, researchers and industry are partnering at the early stages of translational research with an eye to achieving global impact and improving patient care," Hofstein added.


GSK spokeswoman Kelly O’Neill told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “Collaborations such as these - where we share knowledge, expertise and resource - provide a highly effective way of progressing and commercializing cutting edge research​.”

O’Neill went on to explain that part of the motivation for the partnership is to tap innovation going on at academic institutions, which she said: “Have an extraordinary history of producing groundbreaking innovations, like insulin or discovery of stem cells​.”

The academic institutions are:

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

Related topics: Regulatory & Safety

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