Montreal Neurological Institute receives $20M for open science research centre

New centre will keep research on neurological diseases patent-free, make findings freely accessible worldwide

Posted: December 16, 2016

Donor Larry Tanenbaum, left, is thanked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after his speech at the Montreal Neurological Institute. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The Montreal Neurological Institute is hoping to change the way discoveries are made with the help of a multi-million dollar donation.

Larry Tanenbaum and his wife Judy are giving $20 million to create the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute, which will collect and make available research on neurological diseases.

The official announcement was made Friday in conjunction with McGill University, which is affiliated with the institute, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


Modeled after the idea of open source software, the institute will also keep the research patent-free and make its findings freely accessible worldwide.

The approach is meant to speed up the time it takes for research to translate into treatment for patients.

"Our goal is simple: to accelerate brain research and discovery to relieve suffering," said Tanenbaum.

Tanenbaum, a Canadian businessman and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, said many of his loved ones suffered from neurological disorders.

"I lost my mother to Alzheimer's, my father to a stroke, three dear friends to brain cancer, and a brilliant friend and scientist to clinical depression," said Tanenbaum.

He hopes the institute will serve as the template for science research across the world, a thought that Trudeau echoed.

"This vision around open science, recognizing the role that Canada can and should play, the leadership that Canadians can have in this initiative is truly, truly exciting," said Trudeau.

The Neurological Institute says the pharmaceutical industry is supportive of the open science concept because it will provide crucial base research that can later be used to develop drugs to fight an array of neurological conditions.