In one of the largest investments ever seen in the bio-tech industry, two multinational firms are investing US$225 million to launch a Toronto-based stem-cell therapy company, BlueRock Therapeutics, which will initially focus on the work of two UHN scientists.
The work of Dr. Gordon Keller, a world leader in stem cell biology and head of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, and Dr. Michael Laflamme, a cardiac cell therapy pioneer and Senior Scientist at Toronto General Research Institute, will be part of BlueRock's first efforts to commercialize an approach to regenerating heart muscle in patients who have had a heart attack or suffer from chronic heart failure.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said that through the work being done at BlueRock hopefully "will help prevent heart disease from developing in the first place.
Toronto and UHN in particular has been an international hub for stem cell science with generations of scientists advancing knowledge of the stem cell and its uses in treatment.
Today, the McEwen Centre includes 15 scientists at five Toronto hospitals and in U of T laboratories and the focus is the potential use of stem cells in the treatment of heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and spinal cord injury.