NPS Pharma and VIMAC Ventures locate at MaRS, a major new research and enterprise center in Toronto

05/14/04

NPS seeks strategic location for R&D activities in the heart of one of North America's most prominent bioscience clusters; VIMAC seeks opportunities for VC investment into the wealth of bioscience ventures emerging in Toronto and Canada

TORONTO – May 17, 2004 – Salt Lake City-based NPS Pharmaceuticals and Boston-based VIMAC Ventures announced today that they plan to locate key business and research facilities to the new MaRS (Medical and Related Sciences) Discovery District biosciences research and commercialization hub in downtown Toronto. These firms have selected MaRS as the ideal global destination to pursue research and commercial opportunities in the fast-emerging medical and related technology fields.

MaRS Centre will become the primary location for NPS's research and development activities in Canada while VIMAC, a venture capital firm active in biosciences, will establish a business office in the center for the firm's VIMAC Milestone Medica Fund.

To date, 12 organizations have signed agreements to lease almost 600,000 square feet of the 700,000 square feet available in Phase One of MaRS Centre, including CMDF (Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund), the Hospital for Sick Children, MDS Inc. (MDS Sciex Division), RBC Technology Ventures Inc., RBC Financial Group, University Health Network and the Blueprint Initiative.

"With its proximity to some of the leading minds and institutions in Toronto's bioscience cluster, MaRS is the perfect site for our drug research and development work in Canada," says Dr. Hunter Jackson, Chairman, President and CEO of NPS. "Our presence at MaRS underscores our commitment to research and development in Canada and the importance of this new facility to our future business success."

NPS will initially move approximately 70 researchers into a wet lab facility at MaRS, with plans to add another 50 scientists over time. The company has been mining a wealth of research from the Toronto area for many years.

VIMAC chose MaRS to expand the firm's North American reach because it provides one of the most dynamic opportunities for investment in biosciences, according to Dana Ono, Managing Director, VIMAC Milestone Medica Fund.

"MaRS strategically positions VIMAC in the heart of one of North America's most prominent bioscience research and development clusters" Ono says. "By locating at MaRS, we are tapping into an enormous opportunity to commercialize the wealth of bioscience ventures emerging in Toronto and Canada."

MaRS, in the heart of downtown Toronto, is literally steps away from world-renowned teaching and research hospitals, the University of Toronto and Canada's financial core. The new US$250 million facility brings together best-in-class science, business and academic leaders in biosciences and related technologies, and serves as the venue to turn ideas into products and partnerships.

With Phase One of MaRS Centre scheduled to open in March, 2005, MaRS will offer a full set of programs and services to accelerate commercialization in medical and related sciences.

"By choosing to establish a presence at MaRS, NPS and VIMAC are tapping into a world of opportunity concentrated in the heart of Canada's business and technology capital," says Dr. John Evans, Chairman, MaRS. "The spirit of discovery is central to MaRS, which is situated on the very site of early landmark medical breakthroughs like insulin, the pacemaker and the artificial kidney."

When fully completed, Phase One and Two of MaRS Centre will provide over 1.3 million square feet of state-of-the-art wet/dry lab facilities and office space connecting a vibrant mix of tenants, from medical and pharmaceutical researchers to venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Designed for scientific discovery and business interaction, the facility will accommodate a carefully selected mix of start-ups to large companies.

MaRS Advantages
MaRS offers powerful advantages as a location for medical and related sciences activities:

  • Close proximity to over 30 specialized medical and related sciences research centers, over 22,000 medical care and research-related professionals, seven teaching hospitals and the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine, one of the largest in North America.
  • Toronto location places tenants in one of North America's largest biomedical and biotechnology clusters, fourth largest medical community and one of the largest business and professional services clusters.
  • Location in one of the most cost-competitive global biomedical clusters and Canada's highly cost-effective business environment.
  • Toronto's high quality of life ranking, as measured by the William M. Mercer worldwide survey (2003).
  • Generous federal and Ontario tax credits for research and development.

About NPS Pharmaceuticals
NPS discovers, develops and intends to commercialize small molecules and recombinant proteins as drugs, primarily for the treatment of metabolic, bone and mineral, and central nervous system disorders. The company has drug candidates in various stages of clinical development backed by a strong discovery research effort. Additional information is available on the company's website, http://www.npsp.com.

About VIMAC Ventures
VIMAC Ventures LLC (www.vimac.com) is a Boston-based venture capital firm that invests primarily in emerging growth companies located in the northeastern United States and Canada. Founded in 1982, the company focuses on startup phase companies specializing in technologies it believes solve real business problems in ways that are readily apparent and quickly assimilated by customers.

About MaRS
MaRS (Medical and Related Sciences) Discovery District (www.marsdd.com) is a new, globally significant research and enterprise centre designed to accelerate commercialization in the fast-emerging biosciences and related technology fields. Located in the heart of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, MaRS brings together research, capital and industry into a single venue dedicated to transforming ideas into products and partnerships. MaRS will help to expand and strengthen the marketplace by improving the productivity of technology transfer, increasing capital flows, and growing strong companies spinning out of research institutions. The MaRS Centre will co-locate start-ups and established companies, business and scientific support services, and venture capital under one roof. Phase One and Two will total over 1.3 million square feet, which will be available for laboratory research, business offices, meetings and conferences. The MaRS Discovery District is a federally incorporated, not-for-profit corporation, founded by leaders from Canada's academic, business, and scientific communities.

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