Techna Institute, launched Nov. 9 in partnership with the University of Toronto, is an innovation hub poised to integrate and fast track research, development, and commercialization of new healthcare technologies.
INO is a world-class Canadian centre of expertise in optics and photonics that assists companies in improving their competitive edge and developing their business. INO has executed more than 4,500 R&D contracts in optics and photonics in its 23-year history, spun out 27 companies – all still operational –, and carried out 43 technology transfers. Over the past 15 years INO has been developing innovative biomedical optics solutions for industry, more recently in concert with UHN. The success of this collaboration was a key factor in INO’s decision to expand into Ontario in 2009 — allowing it to tap into the unique medical ecosystem of Toronto’s Discovery District.
Techna – formally The Techna Institute for the Advancement of Technology for Health – will lead the UHN collaboration with INO. As detailed in the agreement, initial projects will include optical dosimetery, non-linear optical endoscopy, and bioluminescence CT imaging. The scope of the collaboration naturally falls into Techna’s Photonics Core, led by Brian Wilson, Senior Scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute and a Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, at the University of Toronto.
As a part of the agreement, INO will provide an in-kind contribution of up to $2.5M over a five-year period including developmental, prototyping, and preproduction activities in biomedical optics; as well as assistance in business development and program management activities in the field of biomedical optics.
Techna/UHN will provide INO with access to clinicians and clinical trial capability and a 400-square-foot laboratory space in the Banting Building at the University of Toronto – Techna’s headquarters.
“We are thrilled with this partnership which builds on our positive experiences with INO for greater success.” says Techna Director David Jaffray, UHN Head of Radiation Physics and a Senior Scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute, the research arm of the health network’s Princess Margaret Cancer Program. Dr. Jaffray is also a Professor of Radiation Oncology and Medical Biophysics at U of T and holds the Orey and Mary Fidani Family Chair in Radiation Physics at Princess Margaret Hospital. “Our efforts to accelerate the translation of clinically-driven inventions into clinic will tremendously benefit form INO’s professional level development and prototyping services, facilities, and expertise. We are determined to make it a very fruitful relationship.”
Marcia Vernon, Manager for INO-Ontario, says: “It is a perfect arrangement. Techna will provide the framework through which our joint innovations will reach patients and change clinical practice. We look forward to joint development and commercialization.” Dr. Vernon, who is leading INO’s first geographical expansion, states that “this collaboration is a key pillar in our strategy for Ontario”.