Toronto-based MaRS Innovation announced today that one of its leading portfolio companies, Triphase Accelerator Corporation (Triphase), has agreed to sell assets relating to its first investigational compound, marizomib (MRZ) to U.S.-based Celgene Corporation, through an affiliate, for an undisclosed amount. Marizomib is the first major divestiture of a compound developed inside a MaRS Innovation portfolio company.
Triphase was established by MaRS Innovation in partnership with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and MaRS Discovery District, with a single powerful mandate of seeking out oncology innovations with the potential to lead to patient therapies that could be quickly taken into clinical development.
As part of this mandate, the clinical asset marizomib (MRZ), a novel brain-penetrant proteasome inhibitor, was identified that showed promise in the fight against glioblastoma – a common and aggressive malignant brain tumour. Marizomib is currently in development for patients with glioblastoma and relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma.
Glioblastoma occurs in two to three per 100,000 people in Canada, the United States and Europe and accounts for about 15 per cent of all primary brain tumours. It is most commonly found in older individuals and more prevalent in men than women. Marizomib is currently being evaluated in clinical studies in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin®) and as monotherapy in patients with glioblastoma.
As part of its mission, MaRS Innovation was instrumental in building the leadership team inside Triphase, providing seed funding as well as facilitating discussions with external investors. After two years of development, Celgene was introduced to Triphase.
“This engagement between Celgene and Triphase reinforces MaRS Innovation’s commitment to Triphase as a company dedicated to advancing novel compounds through Phase 2 proof-of-concept clinical studies,” said Dr. Rafi Hofstein, President and CEO, MaRS Innovation. “Companies like Celgene recognize the importance of pursuing avenues of medical innovation to advance the science more quickly and address unmet needs.”
The Celgene deal marks the first major exit for MaRS Innovation. MaRS Innovation plans on reinvesting the proceeds from this and future transactions back into its portfolio of companies, fostering new opportunities and setting itself on a path of becoming a self-sustaining centre of innovation.
“We plan on reinvesting back into the companies we have in our portfolio,” commented Dr. Hofstein. “This will accelerate the development of cutting-edge science and emerging technologies. This is not only good for our portfolio but it’s also good for our 15 Member Institutions and for the greater Canadian innovation community.”
Triphase is one example of the many portfolio companies MaRS Innovation has in its pipeline. MaRS Innovation continues to advance its 60 plus companies in areas as diverse as therapeutics, medical devices, clean technology and information technology.
Highlights from the MaRS Innovation portfolio include:
Encycle Therapeutics, a spin-off from the University of Toronto is developing novel enhanced cyclic peptides, which are being developed for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (among other inflammatory diseases) as well as novel cyclic peptide-based treatment for a variety of cancer diseases.
XOR Labs, a spin-off from University Health Network is changing the face of organ transplantation by exponentially increasing the number of donated lungs available for transplantation around the world.
ScarX Therapeutics, a spin-off from SickKids Hospital is a biotechnology company that discovers and develops innovative treatments for dermal scarring (fibrosis). ScarX’s lead candidate, SCX-001, shows promise as the first prescription cream for the reduction of post-surgical scarring.
Flybits, a Ryerson spin-off is the world’s only context-as-a-service product providing instant cloud access to everything needed to transform the mobile experience from generic and static to personalized and dynamic. The technology offers a unique approach to understanding where the user is currently located.
About MaRS Innovation
MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 of Ontario’s leading academic institutions. It provides investors and licensees access to technology assets emerging from MaRS Innovation’s members, who receive over a billion dollars in annual research and development funding. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, and by its members, MaRS Innovation is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.
About Triphase Accelerator Corporation
Triphase Accelerator Corporation is a private drug development company with a primary focus on oncology and with operations in Toronto, ON and San Diego, CA. Triphase Accelerator Corporation is dedicated to advancing novel compounds through Phase 2 proof-of-concept clinical studies using a unique, science-based, high-quality model that is faster and more cost-effective than traditional pharmaceutical and biotech industry drug development approaches. Triphase Accelerator Corporation was spun out of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), with support from the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT), MaRS Innovation and MaRS Discovery District. It has a strategic relationship with Celgene for marizomib.
MaRS Innovation Contact:
Manager, Corporate Affairs
Lindsay G. Deefholts
President, Senior Communications Consultant
LGD Consulting Inc.