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About SickKids

May 8, 2012

MaRS Innovation paves the way for innovative drug development partnership in China

MaRS Innovation (MI), The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and NovoTek Therapeutics Inc. (NovoTek, Beijing/China) have announced a strategic partnership to co-develop, and bring to the Chinese market, a novel therapeutic cream aimed at reducing scar formation post surgery.

For many individuals, the development of excessive scar tissue growth after surgery is a reality and it can cause physical discomfort, and emotional and psychological stress.  Each year, approximately 240 million surgeries are performed worldwide. Market research suggests an efficacious anti-skin-scarring therapeutic represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity.  There are currently no clinically proven prescription therapeutics available for preventing excessive dermal scarring.

Recognizing the value of this promising treatment and the challenging financing environment for preclinical stage therapeutics, MI initiated a co-development licensing option agreement with NovoTek.  NovoTek will be responsible for development and commercialization costs for the anti-scarring medication in the Chinese market.  MI and SickKids will receive clinical development milestones payments from NovoTek, and MI will have access to all preclinical and clinical data generated by NovoTek to support future clinical development for strategic markets outside China, including the US, Canada, Brazil and Korea.

“With a proven track record in clinical development in China and with strong ties to the Ontario research community, we believe that NovoTek and its founder, Dr. Jubo Liu, are ideal partners for MaRS Innovation and SickKids to co-develop, and ultimately commercialize, the anti-scarring therapeutic in the Chinese marketplace and later on in other territories”, stated Rafi Hofstein, President and CEO, MI.  

Dr. Benjamin Alman, Head of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Senior Scientist, Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology at SickKids, discovered that a particular molecule known for its analgesic properties can effectively target myofibroblast cells – the cells responsible for producing scar tissue.  From this finding, Dr. Alman and his team have successfully developed an alternative use for this molecule as an anti-scarring medication.  They have formulated a topical cream containing this molecule which, when applied to a surgical wound, can reduce scarring, as demonstrated in gold standard preclinical models. Clinical trials are expected to begin in early 2013.

“We have a good understanding of which cells are responsible for producing scar tissue during the wound healing process,” says Dr. Alman.  “What has been a real challenge is to stop those specific cells from making excessive amounts of scar tissue without negatively impacting the overall wound healing process; and this therapeutic cream appears to do exactly that.”

“NoveTek is thrilled to partner with MI and SickKids to address this unmet clinical need by furthering the development of this anti-scarring product and eventually bringing it to the Chinese marketplace”, said Dr. Liu, CEO of Beijing-based NovoTek Therapeutics Inc.

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, along with other government and industry funding.  MaRS Innovation advances commercialization through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. www.marsinnovation.com.

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 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. www.sickkids.ca.

About NovoTek
NovoTek Therapeutics Inc. has established a new platform to facilitate drug development in China by connecting new international technologies with improved China-based drug development services.  NovoTek is also providing a conduit that accesses a rapidly growing market through its strong marketing capability.  NovoTek’s new drug R&D platform is dedicated to providing custom synthesis, in-vitro and in-vivo characterization of drug candidates, regulatory filling and clinical trial execution.  The company provides industry-experienced scientists to manage the studies, utilizing the latest technologies and state-of-the-art instruments.
NovoTek’s commercialization platform bears broad capabilities ranging from product market investigation and risk evaluation, and regulatory filling to marketing strategy design and market development.  Six marketing branches and more than 500 sales representatives cover more than 80% of China’s pharmaceuticals and medical device market area. www.novotekchina.com.


Elizabeth Monier-Williams, Marketing Communications Manager
MaRS Innovation
Phone: 647-260-7850

Matet Nebres, Media Relations
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380