November 1, 2021 – Toronto – According to the latest Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) North American Annual Licensing Survey, the University Health Network (UHN) ranks as the #1 research commercialization institution in Canada for the second year running according to gross licensing revenue from the research it has commercialized. Recently released for 2019-2020, the AUTM annual survey provides an in-depth review of technology licensing and related activity for North American academic and non-profit research institutions. With CAD $37.1 million in gross licensing revenues, UHN leads the sector in Canada, and ranks 8th among the top 10 research commercialization hospitals in North America. UHN’s licensing revenues are fully re-invested into its four hospitals and seven research institutes to fuel and sustain innovation and discovery.
Contributing the lion share to UHN’s reported survey results this past year are an exclusive license to a UHN discovery being used to develop best-in-class cancer immunotherapy at its oncology start-up Treadwell Therapeutics, as well as one with another UHN start-up, AvroBio, a biotechnology company based on UHN technology to combat rare diseases, now running gene therapy trials in patients with Fabry disease.
Many of the healthcare innovations and discoveries derived from research at UHN create impact on health care when delivered to patients through partnerships with the private sector. These discoveries become “commercialized” as they are transformed into medical devices or products, improvements in care and disease diagnosis, or as they evolve into medical treatments that can significantly change an individual’s health care journey. The basic research initiatives and translational expertise of UHN’s research and clinical investigators continue to generate a large and growing portfolio of opportunities for corporate partnerships and alliances, all with the generous support of the UHN and Princess Margaret Cancer foundations, government and industry partners, whose investment in research and innovation at UHN makes discoveries and their advancement to benefit society possible.
When research and innovation meet business in the process of commercialization, it’s not only patients who benefit. Although maximizing patient impact is always the primary goal, the contribution to our economy is immense as well. Within the last 5 years alone, 14 life science companies created at UHN have attracted more than $1.1B in financial investments to the local economy, with UHN companies such as Adela, Treadwell Therapeutics and BlueRock Therapeutics each having a significant footprint in Toronto, opening offices and creating jobs within our local biotech community.
“Research hospitals are today’s biotechnology engines, and it’s important that we make Canadians aware of this important role in researching and developing the very best treatments and in fuelling our future economy and employment market. At UHN, we have the best in science and scientists working to create new options to improve patient care. World-class research and development is expensive and complex, and when we partner with industry, we accelerate our translation of research into treatments, so that patients can benefit, faster. This is why we commercialize the very best of our knowledge,” says Dr. Kevin Smith, President and CEO, University Health Network.
“UHN’s commercialization revenue is driven by world-class science and a unique in-house de-risking model for our medical technologies to ensure they are viable options to help support patient care down the road. We aim to strike the right balance between opening up opportunities to the right investment partners around North America, and nurturing our companies and technologies to establish home-grown roots,” says Dr. Brad Wouters, Executive Vice President, Science and Research at the University Health Network. “The proximity of our start-up companies operating adjacent to the hospital and our world-class facilities and researchers continues to fuel new opportunities for collaboration and growth, powering our local ecosystem into a destination of choice for life-science commercialization,” he says.
“While a tech start-up can spring up seemingly overnight, life science commercialization means we are working to assess whether medical breakthroughs are safe for patient care – and this takes time. As a young commercialization office with our beginnings some 20 years ago, and comparing ourselves against established North American giants like the Massachusetts General hospital system, the Mayo Clinic and Cedars Sinai hospital, each of which had commercialization offices starting in the early 1980s and boasts significant developments, including drugs on the market, our position today foretells a bright future ahead,” says Mark Taylor, Director, Commercialization at UHN.
University Health Network consists of Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and The Michener Institute of Education at UHN. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in arthritis, cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. For more information, visit: www.uhn.ca.
About Commercialization at UHN
Enabling and leading industry partnerships at UHN, Commercialization at UHN is UHN’s catalyst for accelerating its world-class research and innovation into medical products, devices and therapies that improve care for patients around the world. This is how we create a healthier world. For more information, visit: www.uhncommercialization.ca