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15 September 2017

Mars Innovation sets up Lab150 experiment

Inspired by University of Oxford and Evotec’s Lab282 initiative, Mars Innovation has also joined forces with the corporate to establish a drug discovery collaboration.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

Canada-based commercialisation firm Mars Innovation (MI) partnered drug discovery company Evotec yesterday to launch Lab150, a collaboration that will drive research translation for projects emerging from Mars’ member institutions.

Lab150 aims to significantly shorten the amount of time that is currently required to move basic biomedical research into drug discovery programs, clinical trials and commercialisation. To that end, Evotec will provide infrastructure and pre-clinical drug development expertise.

MI, which counts a total of 15 Toronto-based universities and research institutes as members, will be responsible for identifying promising scientific concepts. It will also build technical and businesses cases for these projects.

The five-year partnership has secured financial commitments from both MI and Evotec, though a figure has not been disclosed.

Lab150 emulates Lab282, a similar initiative launched by University of Oxford, its tech transfer office Oxford University Innovation and its university venture fund Oxford Sciences Innovation, which provided a £13m ($16m) investment, in November 2016.

Evotec hopes to further expand its network of such partnerships. The name for the collaboration with MI was specifically chosen to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary this year.

Rafi Hofstein, president and CEO of Mars Innovation, said: “Lab150 represents an extraordinary opportunity for Canada to bridge the drug discovery gap with the objective of stimulating the formation of new ventures in Ontario and of developing ground-breaking therapies to benefit Canadians and others around the world.

“Lab150 is an additional building block aimed at enhancing the increasingly important Canadian drug discovery research and associated commercialisation.”

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