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Provincial Investment Supports Commercialization of Leading-Edge Molecular Diagnostic Screening Technology

Xagenic Inc., one of MaRS Innovation's (MI) portfolio investments, was awarded $1-million in funding by Ontario's Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) through its Investment Accelerator Fund-Life Sciences (IAF-LS) program. The announcement was made at MaRS by Research and Innovation Minister Glen Murray.

"Today's announcement will go a long way in helping us to commercialize a technology that will ultimately shape the future of diagnostic testing - instead of waiting days for results, doctors and patients will only need to wait minutes," said Dr. Shana Kelley, Founder of Xagenic Inc. and Professor from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Xagenic has pioneered a revolutionary class of chip-based molecular diagnostics. Using a breakthrough in engineering matter at the nanoscale, Xagenic employs its patented nanostructured microelectrodes to achieve highly sensitive nucleic acid sensors that detect DNA and RNA at record-breaking speed. The diagnostic screening technology was developed at the University of Toronto.

Unlike existing molecular tests which are complex, time-consuming and require skilled laboratory technicians, the Xagenic technology enables faster detection of pathogens -- in less than 30 minutes. For patients, faster diagnosis of conditions (ranging from infectious disease to cancer) can mean less anxiety and faster treatment decisions. For Ontario's strained health care system, the accurate and rapid technology will enable more efficient, on-site detection of pathogens in the comfort of a physician's office or by the patient's bedside.

"We're thrilled that the Ministry of Research and Innovation shares our vision to bring to market Xagenic's innovative technology. Xagenic is a prime example of how MaRS Innovation and its member institutions can turn a powerful idea into reality and deliver tangible benefits to patient care as well as fuel the knowledge economy," said Rafi Hofstein, CEO of MI and Xagenic Inc.

"We're proud of Ontario's creative environment. Our highly skilled workforce, world-class education system and internationally recognized research community are all second to none. Our government invests in innovative companies like Xagenic so that our province's best ideas can flourish, create jobs and improve the lives of Ontarians, now and in the future," said Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation and MPP for Toronto Centre.

In its first year of operation, Toronto-based Xagenic Inc. secured investments totalling more than $1-million from key organizations representing the research and commercialization community: MI, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) and The Health Technology Exchange. Today's provincial funding and an additional $200,000 commitment by OCE's Centre for Commercialization of Research brings Xagenic's total amount of secured investments to more than $2.2-million. Xagenic's establishment and the significant amount of investment raised in its first year of operation reflects MI's leadership in identifying and nurturing exciting inventions and ideas towards the marketplace.

Founded in 2010 and based in Toronto, life sciences company Xagenic Inc. is pioneering a leading-edge, chip-based diagnostic screening technology that uses nanotechnology-based microelectrodes. This technology, invented at the University of Toronto by renowned scientist and Professor Dr. Shana Kelley, is being developed to address a large clinical unmet need: rapid, on-demand, sample-to-answer detection of pathogens in less than 30 minutes.

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