Accelerating innovation in Southwestern Ontario

London, February 10, 2006 – London-based TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario and MaRS, a convergence innovation centre based in Toronto, today announced a partnership to create a new model for a MaRS-linked regional community. “MaRS London” will extend the reach of the MaRS platform and provide a formal mechanism for collaboration between the science, business and capital sectors throughout Southwestern Ontario, with the ultimate goal of improving innovation capacity and investment across the province and enhancing Canada’s global competitiveness.

The partnership will be supported by TechAlliance’s community partners: The University of Western Ontario, the Robarts Research Institute, Lawson Health Research Institute, The Stiller Centre for Biotechnology Commercialization, and the London Economic Development Corporation.

Recently, the boards and operating executives of TechAlliance, The London Economic Development Corporation, The Stiller Centre for Biotechnology Commercialization and the Small Business Centre have agreed to the implementation of a plan entitled “London’s Next Economy,” that will see a focused and coordinated approach to the development of London’s long term economic prosperity, under the direction of a single Board of Directors.

MaRS London, which will be managed locally by TechAlliance and operate out of Western’s Research Park, will enable the sharing of entrepreneurial programs and business services and the development of associated talent and knowledge networks in Southwestern Ontario, as well as a suite of joint initiatives to support innovation, commercialization and the promotion of Ontario’s technology assets, in the province and beyond. MaRS London will build on London’s recognized strengths in areas such as imaging, immune-based diseases and surgical technologies.

“The MaRS organization is increasingly becoming a critical driver of innovation in Ontario and across Canada,” said Marilyn Sinclair, General Manager of TechAlliance. “This partnership signals the intention of TechAlliance and its community partners, as well as the larger London region, to play a more prominent role as an enabler of innovation regionally, to the economic benefit of the entire province.”

“MaRS is committed to facilitating the commercialization of Canadian discoveries,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS. “This partnership recognizes the tremendous growth of the London region’s knowledge-based economy in recent years, the leadership of organizations like TechAlliance, as well as the presence of world class institutions and research institutes in this community. It is a real win-win for economic development efforts in Southwestern Ontario and the province as a whole.”

“This partnership will enable the London community to more fully leverage and promote the incredible talent and innovation in this region’s research and technology sectors,” said Ted Hewitt, VP (Research & International Relations) at The University of Western Ontario. “We see this partnership as a very important step for the London region to create a global address.”

In recognition of the emerging relationship between MaRS and TechAlliance, the two groups will move immediately to initiate sharing of networks and services, and collaborate on jointly hosting keynote events in London and Toronto.

About the Partnership

The objectives of the MaRS-TechAlliance “MaRS London” partnership include:

  • Enhancing the presence of MaRS in southwestern Ontario and the exposure of southwestern Ontario through participation in MaRS
  • Sharing of programs and services related to economic development
  • Establishing a series of premier educational and promotional events designed to support and promote commercialization of innovation
  • Facilitating movement of researchers and entrepreneurs between Toronto and southwestern Ontario
  • Sharing of information on technologies available for licensing, or suitable for start-up companies
  • Sharing of knowledge and access to venture capital funding for start-up or emerging companies and other related initiatives
  • Sharing of tools and people networks relevant to the process of commercialization of technologies and the growth of technology companies
  • Jointly recognizing the key research and development strengths of London and the southwest in the broader Ontario context, and promoting those assets within Ontario and beyond.

About TechAlliance

TechAlliance (www.techalliance.ca) is a member-driven organization that represents, supports and accelerates the growth of knowledge-based businesses in London and region. TechAlliance focuses on networking, knowledge-sharing, capitalization, and member marketing initiatives for over 125 regional IT, life sciences and advanced manufacturing companies as well as related professional service providers, and is committed to helping develop the region’s emerging knowledge-based industries into a collective economic powerhouse.

For more information please contact

Ross Wallace
MaRS Discovery District
(416) 673-8126
rwallace@marsdd.com

Marilyn Sinclair
TechAlliance
(519) 858-5003
marilyn.sinclair@techalliance.ca

Douglas Keddy
The University of Western Ontario
(519) 661-2111 ext. 87485
dkeddy@uwo.ca

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