About Us

MaRS Innovation exists so that when inventors in our community discover the next insulin, we can help them bring it to market from Canada.

Who We Are
MaRS Innovation (MI) is a non-profit organization that acts on behalf of our members–15 of Toronto’s top universities, institutions and research institutes, plus the MaRS Discovery District–to bring their most promising research breakthroughs to market.

Our portfolio is built upon a pipeline of over 1,400 intellectual property disclosures from researchers within our member institutions, which collectively receive over $1.47 billion in Canadian research funding each year.

MI staff work with inventors and their founding teams to bring these discoveries to global markets through industry partnerships, licensing or start-up companies. We provide commercial services, early-stage funding resources and broker deals with industry and private investors.

Created in 2008 as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) by the Networks of Centres of Excellence, MaRS Innovation is supported by its 15 member institutions and by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Our Vision
To successfully commercialize our member institutions’ great science into viable products and companies while making a significant contribution to improving Canada’s economic outlook and social prosperity.
Our Mission
To convert the technologies built upon world-leading research from our 15 member institutions into commercially viable start-up companies or licensable assets through our suite of commercialization services, which include business development, company creation and deal brokering services. MaRS Innovation also aims to maximize the monetary returns from our portfolio for our members, inventors and co-investment partners, while becoming a financially self-sustaining organization.
Our Team
Photo of Rafi Hofstein Rafi Hofstein President & CEO

Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein joined MaRS Innovation as President and CEO in June 2009. He is currently member of the board of directors of Life Science Ontario and of Clinical Trials Ontario, as well as a member of the Organizing Committee of the Public Policy Forum on Venture Capital and Innovation (part of the Quebec City Conference) and part of the Ontario Health Innovation Council (OHIC).…

Photo of David Asgeirsson David Asgeirsson Manager, Technology & Venture Development

David manages technologies in physical sciences, engineering, ICT and medical devices through licensing or company creation. Prior to joining MI, David was an engineer for a small company that specialized in factory testing and automation systems for manufacturing heavy-duty trucks and machinery. In this role, he gained experience applying technology to solve business and manufacturing problems.…

Photo of Mike Betts Mike Betts UTEST Co-Director

Michael (Mike) Betts is entrepreneur-in-residence at MaRS Innovation where he co-directs theUniversity of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) program, which identifies and provides very early-stage investment, mentorship and working space to promising academic founding teams working in the software space and affiliated with U of T. Michael is a recognized entrepreneur and technology executive with over 10 years of experience working with and managing rapid growth technology start-ups.…

Photo of Judy Blumstock Judy Blumstock Senior Director, Strategic Planning

Judith provides financial strategy and in-depth portfolio reporting for MaRS Innovation and its technologies and companies under management. She also takes an active role in fundraising and investor relations, and leads a variety of special projects. Prior to joining MaRS Innovation, Judith was a principal with Genesys Capital Partners, one of the largest Canadian-based venture-capital firms focused on the life sciences industry.…

Photo of Mary Fournier-Park Mary Fournier-Park Administrator, IP Processing

Mary maintains MaRS Innovation’s main disclosure and Intellectual Property (IP) databases. Her role includes facilitating agreement execution, financial tracking and managing the IP portfolio. Mary has more than a decade of experience spanning trademark and patent prosecution, including domestic and foreign jurisdiction filings, as well as general maintenance of trademark and patent applications.…

Photo of Phil Goldbach Phil Goldbach Manager, Intellectual Property

Phil manages intellectual property rights across all technologies within MaRS Innovation’s portfolio. He advises on various forms of intellectual property protection, assessing patentability and managing patent application filings and prosecution decisions. Prior to joining MaRS Innovation, Phil trained with an intellectual property boutique law firm in downtown Toronto as a member of the firm’s life sciences patent practice group, where he was exposed to a wide array of technologies including biologics, small molecules, medical devices, and information technologies.…

Photo of Stacey Ivanchuk Stacey Ivanchuk Director, Intellectual Property

Stacey has over 10 years experience relating to intellectual property (IP) protection, management and strategy. She oversees and provides strategic advice for all projects in MaRS Innovation’s portfolio spanning diverse technical fields, working closely with the venture development teams to evaluate technologies and develop optimal IP protection strategies. In addition to her IP role, she is responsible for strategic oversight of all technologies originating from Baycrest, a MaRS Innovation member.…

Photo of Hassan Jaferi Hassan Jaferi Commercialization Manager

As a commercialization manager at MaRS Innovation, Hassan divides his time between projects located in York University’s Innovation York office and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Technology Transfer office, located in the Sunnybrook Research Institute. He conducts due diligence on invention disclosures, aids in patent application preparation and prosecution, executes business development for early-stage technologies, helps to manage start-up companies, and pursues public and private funding to advance early-stage research projects.…

Photo of Dominic Jaikaran Dominic Jaikaran Director, Technology & Venture Development

Dominic has a decade of varied experience in biotechnology and finance, including venture capital, impact investment, business development and research and development; he has been involved in sourcing new deals, performing due diligence for new and follow-investments and monitoring portfolio companies on the investment side and project management, research and development and business development on the company side.…

Photo of Timothy Key Timothy Key Manager, Technology & Venture Development

Tim manages projects in MI’s Life Sciences portfolio. He performs technical and market due diligence and evaluates the competitive positioning and advantages of new technologies to support and grow MI’s portfolio. He develops business, technical, strategic and financing plans to support new start-up ventures. He also actively markets technologies to support licensing, co-development and other commercialization transactions.…

Photo of Michael Midmer Michael Midmer Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Michael has over 15 years of experience in the life science industry, fund management and corporate finance. Michael was formerly the Director of the Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) at Genome Canada. The GAPP program funded partnerships between industry and academia including companies such as Xagenic, Vasomune, Assurex and Roche.

Before joining Genome Canada, Michael was a Director at Rosetta Capital, an international venture capital firm, where he managed a portfolio of over 30 companies in North America and Europe including company exits such as Enobia, Cytochroma, Ambit and Resonant. 

Photo of Abu Nana Abu Nana Accounting Specialist, New Ventures

Abu conducts the day-to-day accounting and finance activities for several new ventures within MaRS Innovation, including Bedside Clinical Systems, Encycle Therapeutics, Kapplex, QD Solar, ScarX Therapeutics and Vasomune Therapeutics.…

Photo of Parimal Nathwani Parimal Nathwani Vice-President, Life Sciences

Parimal Nathwani has a decade of experience in various aspects of the biotechnology industry, including finance, intellectual property management, business development and operations; he has been actively involved in preparing business plans, forming start-up companies, raising early-stage capital, managing intellectual-property portfolios and out-licensing initiatives. Most recently, Parimal was a healthcare analyst with a boutique investment bank, where he conducted due diligence on publicly-traded biotechnology companies in Canada and the U.S.…

Photo of Echo Pan Echo Pan Accounting Manager

Echo is MaRS Innovation's accounting manager. In the past, she has managed accounts for many of the start-ups in MaRS Innovation’s portfolio, including Xagenic and Bedside Clinical Systems. She also provided accounting services to the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). She has more than 10 years accounting experience in full cycle accounting and reporting, year-end auditing, policies and procedures set up and new system design and implementation.…

Photo of Shatha Qaqish Shatha Qaqish Manager, Technology & Venture Development

As a venture manager for MaRS Innovation, Shatha specializes in ICT, medical devices and physical sciences invention technologies, including cleantech and advanced materials. Prior to joining the team, Shatha managed and evaluated early-stage research commercialization potential both for a technology transfer office in British Columbia and for the GreenCentre Canada, another Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR).…

Photo of Ben Rogers Ben Rogers Director, Technology Transfer & Scouting

Ben created and directs MaRS Innovation's Technology Transfer & Scouting department, which provides on-site intellectual property identification, protection and commercialization services to several MaRS Innovation member institutions, including Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and York University.…

Photo of Samir Sahoo Samir Sahoo Technology and Venture Development Manager

Samir has been working in the Healthcare/Medical Device space for over 7 years and has worked with a number of start-up companies in Microfluidics, Diagnostics and Healthcare IT. He has been responsible for in-depth due diligence with Health businesses and startups.  More recently he has been working in the orthopaedics and musculoskeletal space in US and Canada, managing Spinal Implants, Orthobiologics products and Surgical Power Tool portfolios at Zimmer.…

Photo of Fazila Seker Fazila Seker Director, Technology & Venture Development

As director, technology & venture development for the physical sciences, Fazila develops strategies for bridging emerging technologies to market and monetizing assets, assesses the business potential, and project manages their commercial implementation with a focus on medical imaging and healthcare markets. She brings ten years of experience leading technology development and commercialization for GE and Xerox in electronic devices, systems and related materials.…

Photo of Fanny Sie Fanny Sie Manager, Technology & Venture Development

Fanny Sie’s academic studies include Human Biology (HonsBSc) and Radiation Therapy degree (BSc/M.R.T.(T.) at the University of Toronto (U of T). She worked at Princess Margaret Hospital as a radiation research therapist for eight years. In this dual role, she was involved in managing treatment delivery for cancer patients and in researching and developing initiatives for novel optical and imaging devices utilized for treatment target optimization.…

Photo of Susanne Staer Susanne Staer Manager, Corporate Affairs

Susanne oversees the office of the CEO and is the general office manager.  In addition, she is in charge of corporate governance and administration of the Board of Directors and the Board's various governing and advisory committees. Prior to joining MaRS Innovation, Susanne was administrative assistant to two senior partners in a nation-wide law firm, in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and securities, and general corporate matters.…

Photo of Jackie Terry Jackie Terry Program Administrator, EA to the Vice-Presidents

Jackie administers all aspects of MaRS Innovation’s Proof of Principle program, including calling for Letters of Intent, receiving and collating applications, convening expert review panels, communicating with principal investigators and technology transfer officers with regards to outcomes, metrics submission, quarterly updates and the flowing of funds. Prior to joining MI, Jackie collaborated on and managed projects in the polymer characterization department of an organization that specialized in contract and service-based research, development and testing.…

Photo of Mark Zdziebko Mark Zdziebko Chief Financial Officer

Mark oversees all aspects of MaRS Innovation’s accounting and financial reporting and compliance framework, along with those of many of the portfolio start-ups. As part of the executive team, he works closely with the CEO and the Board of Directors on MaRS Innovation’s strategic and investment planning, risk management, and portfolio performance.

Mark’s passion has always been for the start-up environments; he first joined MI’s finance team as the accounting specialist of new ventures and has managed finances for Bedside Clinical SystemsCrowdmarkEncycle TherapeuticsFlybitsGranata Decision SystemsKapplexOtoSimScarX Therapeutics and Vasomune Therapeutics.…