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University of Toronto launches new centre to support commercialization of research

Wess Lovell, a senior process developer at Vive Crop Protection, one of the companies in the newly opened Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (photo by Jon Horvatin)

The University of Toronto today launched the Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a new pre-incubation hub for discovery, innovation and commercialization.

Located in the historic Banting and Best buildings on College Street in downtown Toronto, the Centre provides business mentorship opportunities and cross-disciplinary collaborations for U of T faculty and students developing early-stage enterprises and spin-off companies.

Strategically located across the street from the MaRS Discovery District, a powerful resource and already home to many U of T start-ups, tenants in the Centre will benefit from the connections they can make with colleagues in MaRS, the University and other entrepreneurs at Banting and Best.

The launch and tour of the new Centre was attended by the Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation, and U of T President David Naylor.

“In Ontario we are committed to strengthening our economy through innovation,” said Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid. “We’re proud to have postsecondary institutions like the University of Toronto helping students turn their discoveries into high-growth companies and jobs.”

“The University of Toronto, together with our partner hospitals, is the engine of Canada’s buzzing start-up and entrepreneurial capital,” added U of T President David Naylor. “In the past four years, over 70 new companies have emerged from U of T alone – and this number is poised to grow as the University’s new incubation space in the repurposed Banting and Best buildings comes online.

“It is fitting, since Banting and Best were integral to one of Canada’s greatest innovations.”

The Banting and Best buildings were originally constructed to provide a venue for U of T researchers to work with partner hospitals on research inspired by one of the landmark discoveries in the history of human health – the discovery of insulin.

With 50,000 square feet of space, the buildings are now a place where U of T’s faculty, students and partner hospitals focused on research commercialization can turn their discoveries into products and services that improve people’s lives. The private sector companies in the Banting and Best Centre already employ 63 staff.

Professor Cynthia Goh, Director of IOS, said the Banting and Best Centre addresses a long-standing need at the University.

“As these storied buildings attest, the University of Toronto has always had a rich history of innovation,” she said. “Now we have a space dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, a space that brings all the right people to the table to take discovery to the next level.”