Media Release

Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) partner to launch a unique program for seed-stage companies commercializing cancer research results


A new partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), founded at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, will create CDL Cancer – a new world-leading program to educate, coach, finance, and inspire entrepreneurs and researchers developing and testing oncology innovations. Through the program, CCS and CDL will accelerate the movement of research discoveries to real-world application, helping to bring the most promising solutions to cancer challenges to the people who need them most.

CDL Cancer will be built on the foundation of the proven CDL model - an engineered social experience with economic impact. This new CDL program will be tailored to the unique features of oncology-focused research and development, collaborating with CCS to design a first-of-its-kind offering to startup founders, investors, and scientists working in science-based health and innovation.

CDL Cancer will be run out of CDL-Toronto (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto) and CDL-Vancouver (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia). The program will be integrated into the currently operational CDL Health and CDL Neuro streams at both sites. Oncology-focused startups accepted into the program will be paired with industry leaders and subject matter experts working on the frontiers of research and will then be mentored over nine months at five sessions to sharpen strategic objectives, prioritize goals, raise capital and engage with partners working within their field. Successful graduates from the program have the opportunity to make connections with key network stakeholders and attract investment from CDL mentors and leading venture capital firms.

Current CDL Health mentors are exited entrepreneurs, successful operators, angel investors and venture capital partners, like Peter Zandstra (professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Faculties of Medicine and Applied Science at UBC and Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering), Ali Tehrani (co-founder and former CEO of Zymeworks (NYSE:ZYME) developing cancer therapeutics), Brent Norton (venture partner at Lumira Ventures, executive chair and CEO of Ortho RTI, and member of CAMH Research Committee), Molly Shoichet (Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering and professor of ChemEng & Applied Chem & Biomaterials & Biomedical Eng at UofT), and Dr Chen Fong (professor emeritus at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary; funded over 50 companies with emphasis in medical devices).

CDL Cancer will be a foundational part of CCS’s Centre for Cancer Prevention and Support. Through the Centre, CCS supports cancer prevention and survivorship researchers, works with partners to increase awareness of research, connects evidence producers with evidence users, and spreads and scales those innovations nationwide. CCS’s team through the Centre will work with CDL to provide trusted expertise in cancer control and a national view of gaps and opportunities in cancer care that should be addressed to benefit the health of people in Canada, in particular underserved populations. This could include new ways to detect cancer earlier, screening methods tailored to communities, and advancements in precision medicine.

Selected ventures will begin the nine-month CDL program in October 2022. Ideal applicants are founders working to commercialize new tools, techniques or products that enable better research, detection, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and/or offer a potential cure for any cancer. Moreover, we will accept technologies or platforms that improve patient quality of life during and after treatment. For more questions, reach out to the team at

Applications for the CDL 2022/23 Program Year are now open – take the next step to build something massive at


The Canadian Cancer Society is proud to be the founding partner of CDL Cancer. CCS is the largest national charitable funder of cancer research and this program reflects our belief that we can save more lives, faster, if we build better connections between research and the application of knowledge; if we harness ideas, share expertise and deepen investments in pursuit of a common goal. CDL Cancer will enable us to connect the most promising science more rapidly with patient groups, community organizations and healthcare systems across the country, and world, so that we can make real progress to change the future of cancer.
- Andrea Seale, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society

This first-of-its-kind partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society will harness the CDL process to transform the way cancer research is commercialized.  This is a unique opportunity to impact the trajectory of technologies in prevention, early detection, and treatment, in support of Canadians impacted by cancer. We are thrilled to welcome the Canadian Cancer Society to our global Creative Destruction Lab community.
- Sonia Sennik, Executive Director, Creative Destruction Lab

The Canadian Cancer Society is a major organization funding cancer research in Canada. Over the decades, it helped to create exemplary scientific research at Canadian universities. This joint venture with the Creative Destruction Lab is the beginning of a major new chapter for CCS; accelerating the translation of existing research excellence to new products and services for cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. Bringing in the expertise and network of the Creative Destruction Lab can instantly kick start and accelerate the process. I am excited to see two great organizations coming together to translate Canadian university research.
- Dr Chen Fong, CM, Co-chair, Strategic Advisory Board, Creative Destruction Lab

I am inspired by and incredibly grateful for the Canadian Cancer Society’s visionary partnership with the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School. By harnessing CDL’s unparalleled global engine of innovation, the Canadian Cancer Society will help turn advanced scientific knowledge into massively scalable solutions for one of the world’s most complex and devastating diseases.
- Susan Christoffersen, Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

We are excited to welcome the Canadian Cancer Society to CDL Health, and UBC’s Sauder School of Business. This strategic partnership for the translation of the scientific discoveries of many outstanding researchers will significantly increase the number, scale and speed of ventures impacting cancer patients.
- Robert Helsley, Dean, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

About Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, from coast to coast and for all types of cancer. As the voice for Canadians who care about cancer, we work with governments to establish healthy public policies to prevent cancer and better support those living with the disease. No other organization does all that we do to improve lives today and to change the future of cancer forever.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today.

About Creative Destruction Lab

Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a nonprofit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies. Its nine-month program allows founders to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, increasing their likelihood of success.

Founded in 2012 by Professor Ajay Agrawal at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, the program has expanded to eleven sites across five countries: Oxford (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford), Paris (HEC Paris), Atlanta (Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology), Madison (Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Seattle (University of Washington, Foster School of Business), Tartu (Delta Management School, University of Tartu), Vancouver (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia), Montreal (HEC Montréal), Calgary (Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary), and Halifax (Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University).

About Rotman School of Management

The Rotman School of Management is part of the University of Toronto, a global centre of research and teaching excellence at the heart of Canada’s commercial capital. Rotman is a catalyst for transformative learning, insights and public engagement, bringing together diverse views and initiatives around a defining purpose: to create value for business and society. For more information, visit

About Sauder School of Business

Located in Vancouver, Canada’s gateway to the Pacific Rim, UBC Sauder School of Business provides a global business perspective at a dynamic crossroads of the international marketplace. With an outstanding faculty and unmatched global partnerships, the Sauder School of Business is opening worlds for its students and stakeholders – worlds of knowledge, worlds of opportunity and worlds of insight. For more information, visit

For more information, please contact:

Hailey Mellon
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Cancer Society