Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein brings glocal perspective to important leadership role at MaRS Innovation

Toronto, June 1, 2009 – The Board of Directors of MaRS Innovation is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein as President and CEO, effective June 8, 2009.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Hofstein to Canada and to MaRS Innovation,” said Mary Jo Haddad, Chair, MaRS Innovation Board of Directors, and President and CEO, The Hospital for Sick Children. “His outstanding credentials and experience stood out in our extensive international search. He is exceptionally qualified to build and lead this important partnership to a recognized success.”

MaRS Innovation was created as a single, market-facing commercialization storefront for Toronto’s renowned academic institutions. It aggregates the discovery pipeline in life sciences, physical sciences, information and communication technology, and cleantech from its member institutions, which include three universities, 10 academic teaching hospitals and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. MaRS Innovation, with support from MaRS and BioDiscovery Toronto, will advance commercialization through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.

Dr. Hofstein joins MaRS Innovation from Israel, where he has held the position of President and CEO of Hadasit Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, since 1999.  He has also served as Chair of Hadasit BioHolding Ltd., publically traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), since 2005.  In these roles, he was responsible for the commercialization of intellectual property emerging from the Hadassah Medical Organization, clinical trials with industry partners, as well as the launch, development and strategic oversight of a series of medical devices, biomedicine and diagnostic equipment spin-off companies.

“I am delighted to take on this new challenge,” said Dr. Hofstein. “MaRS Innovation is a unique global initiative, and I must commend the institutional leaders in Toronto for pulling this innovation powerhouse together to strengthen commercialization output. In my experience, good science is the single most important ingredient for success in this business. Toronto is already known as one of the strongest science cities in the world, and it continues to grow. Leading MaRS Innovation is a wonderful opportunity to do something remarkable.”

From 1997 to 1999 Dr. Hofstein was President of Mindsense Biosystems Ltd., an Israeli company that develops neuropsychiatric immune assays. Previously, he was Vice President Business Development for Ecogen Inc., a subsidiary of Monsanto, in Langhorne, Pa. Dr. Hofstein is a co-founder and Board member of ILSI, the Israeli Life Science Industry Organization, and a co-founder and executive in Israel’s Tech Transfer Network (ITTN). Other Directorships held on TASE publicly traded companies include: Bioline RX (drug development); Exalenz (medical devices); and Evogene (agri-bio). He has also served as Chairman of BIOMED, Israel’s annual biomedical conference, from 2005 to 2007.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO MaRS Discovery District, for her important contribution to the launch of MaRS Innovation, and for serving as Interim Managing Director for the past year,” said Ms. Haddad. “The foundations are built and the organization is well-positioned for this next phase. We are pleased that Ilse will remain an active board member, providing a wealth of knowledge and experience as MaRS Innovation matures.”

About MaRS Innovation

MaRS Innovation (www.marsinnovation.com) 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 CECR Program and contributions of its member institutions, as well as support from the Province of Ontario.

Contact Information:
For more information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Hofstein please contact Susan McGovern, Vice President MaRS Innovation, at smcgovern@marsinnovation.com or 647-260-7878.
Backgrounder
About Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein

Dr. Hofstein received his PhD and Master of Science degrees in Life Sciences and Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. His Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Physics was attained from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Awards received while completing post-doctoral training and research at the Harvard Medical School in Boston in the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Neurobiology include the Hereditary Disease Foundation Fellowship in 1982-83, and the Chaim Weizmann Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1980-82.

During the 1980s, he held the roles of Scientific Director of Biotechnological Applications Ltd., and Manager R&D and Chief of Immunochemistry at the International Genetic Scientific Partnership, organizations that were pivotal in the development of Israel’s world-leading biotechnology sector.

Dr. Hofstein was Scientific Director of the Israeli office of Ecogen Inc., a subsidiary of Monsanto, for over six years before assuming the role of Vice President, Business Development for Ecogen in Langhorne, Pa.

From 1997 to 1999 Dr. Hofstein was President of Mindsense Biosystems Ltd., an Israeli company that develops neuropsychiatric immune assays. From 1999 to present, he has held the position of President and CEO of Hadasit Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem.

He has served as Chair of Hadasit BioHolding Ltd., publicly traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), since 2005. Other Directorships held on TASE publicly traded companies include: Bioline RX (drug development); Exalenz (medical devices); and Evogene (agri-bio). He has also served as Chairman of BIOMED, Israel’s annual biomedical conference, from 2005 to 2007. In addition, Dr. Hofstein is a co-founder and Board member of ILSI, the Israeli Life Science Industry Organization, and a co-founder and executive in Israel’s Tech Transfer Network (ITTN).

MaRS Innovation Member Institutions:

  • Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
  • BioDiscovery Toronto
  • Bloorview Kids Rehab
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • 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
  • The New Women’s College Hospital
  • Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
  • 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
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  • 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

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District (www.marsdd.com) is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and digital media technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose business.

For more information, contact:
Linda Quattrin
Director Communications
MaRS Discovery District
416.673.8104
lquattrin@marsdd.com