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April 25, 2011

Commercialization: SickKids and MaRS Innovation launch OtoSim Inc.

MaRS Innovation and The Hospital for Sick Children announced today the launch of OtoSim Inc. to commercialize an otoscopy training system and process developed by two otolaryngologists at SickKids.

The new product, a program and training device, is the first in a series of training systems directed at improving the accuracy of ear examinations, and is part of a growing trend to use simulation-based training in medicine.

In otoscopy, a health-care professional uses a device called an otoscope to examine the ear and diagnose ear problems. With the new system, otoscopy training can take advantage of modern simulation technology. Improved training will lead to better diagnosis, which in turn will result in reduced use of antibiotics.  

Early funding of the OtoSim unit came from the Women’s Auxiliary at SickKids, and funding for the clinical trial came from the University of Toronto UME Curriculum Renewal Fund. Commercialization funding and business support for the new OtoSim simulator training system was provided by MaRS Innovation and included funding the final commercial design and filing a patent application.

Dr. Vito Forte, MD, FRCSC, Chief of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at SickKids
, Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, is one of the inventors and Chair of the Board of OtoSim Inc. “We developed OtoSim to fill a huge training need,” Dr. Forte says. “Ailments of the ear in both adults and children account for many visits to health-care providers. OtoSim will improve training and bring about better patient care.”

Dr. Paolo Campisi, MSc, MD, FRCSC, FAAP, an Otolaryngologist at Sick Kids
, is an OtoSim co-inventor, and Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto. He cites testing of a group of third-year medical students which showed that the addition of three hours of OtoSim training to the regular curriculum increased the diagnostic accuracy of students by 44 percent. “This represents an enormous improvement for a minimal additional training effort,” Dr. Campisi says.

“We are confident that this breakthrough technology will be bought by medical schools, teaching hospitals, paediatric hospitals and other institutions to improve teaching outcomes,” says Andrew Sinclair Ph.D, a Senior Director at MaRS Innovation and CEO of OtoSim. “The modest cost of the device makes for a compelling and low-risk way for instructors to assess the improvements in their student training. The method allows an institution to add units incrementally, moving from teaching one-on-one to a single instructor teaching more than a dozen students simultaneously.”

Says Rafi Hofstein, President and CEO of MaRS Innovation: “OtoSim epitomizes the enormous reservoir of discoveries suitable for commercialization that are being made by Toronto researchers and scientists. MaRS Innovation is proud to play a crucial role in bringing those discoveries to market, to creating new companies, new jobs and ultimately, new industries.”

The results of the study will be presented at the Triological Society at the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings - COSM in Chicago on April 30, and will be subsequently posted on the OtoSim website.

The product launch will take place at the COSM in Chicago on April 29.  It will also be exhibited at the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology (CSO) AGM in Victoria BC May 22-24, the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO)and OTO EXPO in San Francisco Sept. 11-14, and the Society for Ear, Nose and Throat Advances in Children (SENTAC) in Kansas City Dec. 1-4.  OtoSim units will be available for purchase over the Internet in June 2011.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew (Andy) Sinclair, Ph.D
Senior Director, MaRS Innovation and Chief Executive Officer, OtoSim Inc.
Phone: 647-260-7872
Email: asinclair@marsinnovation.com

Suzanne Gold
Communications Specialist – Media Relations
Communications & Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-7654  ext. 2059
Email: suzanne.gold@sickkids.ca   

About The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally.  Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized child and family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. Follow us on Twitter (@SickKidsNews) and Instagram (@SickKidsToronto).

About MaRS Innovation 
MaRS Innovation provides an integrated commercialization platform that harnesses the economic potential of the exceptional discovery pipeline of 16 leading Ontario academic institutions. MaRS Innovation is a not-for- profit organization with an independent, industry-led Board of Directors, funded through the Government of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence and contributions of its member institutions. MaRS Innovation advances commercialization through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. For more information about MaRS Innovation, please visit www.marsinnovation.com.