German Evotec and MaRS Innovation establish LAB150 in Toronto

Evotec AG and MaRS Innovation (MI) has announced the launch of LAB150. This transformational Toronto-based partnership will give Canadian academic institutions and teaching hospitals access to the world-class infrastructure and drug discovery expertise of Evotec and pair it with cutting-edge drug discovery projects emerging from the 15 member institutions of MaRS Innovation.
A crucial lack of the funding, specialised infrastructure and drug development expertise necessary to translate disease-related biological pathways into focused drug discovery programmes has been a persistent hindrance for promising biomedical research to reach clinical development and the marketplace in Canada and globally. LAB150 addresses precisely this challenge. The goal of this new partnership is to significantly shorten the drug discovery timeline and to generate viable start-up companies with high potential for success.
MI will identify projects and build technical and business cases from scientific concepts that focus on first-in-class and disease-related novel biological pathways. Evotec will contribute infrastructure and pre-clinical drug development expertise to translate such discoveries into potential medicines.
Dr Rafi Hofstein, President & CEO of MI, 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 downtown Toronto and of developing ground-breaking therapies to benefit Canadians and others around the world.” Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented: “We are delighted to expand our Academic BRIDGE network and partnerships together with MaRS Innovation. The dramatic reduction of search costs for capital for the first translational work packages of academic science, early validation of experiments, and industry-proven drug discovery processes will add a highly valuable new tool to the Canadian ecosystem of innovation.”
Evotec is seeking partnerships across all biotechnology innovation hubs and has selected MI and Toronto as a top-notch venue for its first North American partnership. This is a testament not only to MI’s novel approach to commercialisation but also to the quality of science and innovation of MI’s member institutions. Supported by financial contributions from both MI and Evotec, this newly formed five-year partnership will accelerate the development and commercialisation of Canadian-born therapies delivered globally. MI and Evotec are already collaborating on other projects, notably Fibrocor Therapeutics LP, a company based in Toronto, which focuses on developing first-in-class therapeutics targeting fibrotic diseases.
The name of this partnership, LAB150, commemorates Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Innovation MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 of Ontario’s leading academic institutions including the University of Toronto and its affiliated research hospitals, York University, and Ryerson University. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its members, MaRS Innovation is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. MaRS Innovation represents over $1.47 billion of R&D funding annually, a portfolio of 60 companies, $160M in outside risk capital, and is credited with creating over 400 jobs.