Country Report: Canada - Pharmaceutical Executive


Country Report: Canada

Pharmaceutical Executive


Nicolas Marceau, Minister of Finance and the Economy - Province of Quebec
"Big pharma companies are not in the business of establishing huge research laboratories themselves," says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation of Ontario. "They prefer to invest in VCs. Through them, big pharma invests in various smaller projects, universities, research hospitals and other research centers. We realized this in Ontario, and consequently created the Ontario Venture Capital Fund in 2008. This was a CAD 205 million (USD 198.38 million) fund, and attracted about CAD 750 million (USD 725.78 million) worth of investments from the public and private sector." The province of Quebec has also demonstrated its continual commitment to forging strong relationships between industry and academia. As Yves Bolduc, official opposition health critic of Quebec states, "Given Quebec's solid investment in research and infrastructure, particularly with universities, this will create attractive partnerships for pharmaceutical companies and ultimately be a strong driver of the province's economy. For example, Hôpital St-Luc is creating a new CAD 2.3 billion (USD 2.22 billion) research center for the University of Montreal, and will be the biggest in Canada. McGill University is also building a new research hospital valued at CAD 1.4 billion (USD 1.35 billion). Hôpital St-Justine has invested CAD 1 billion (USD 970 million) into modernizing its facilities."

Max Fehlmann, president and CEO - NEOMED
Canada has also invested greatly into personalized medicine and genomics. According to Roche Canada's president and CEO Ronnie Miller, "30 percent of GPs in British Columbia have already seen a patient who has had a genetic review to determine the best treatment. That is a major change in thinking, and the genetic mapping of all Canadians could create huge savings in healthcare costs." Roche Canada has therefore placed a great emphasis on personalized and precision medicine in its portfolio, and the federal government has invested billions of dollars for research at genomics institutes throughout the country, such as Genome Canada or the Ontario Genomics Institute.

Diane Gosselin, president and CEO - CQDM
Many multinationals have demonstrated their commitment to Canada through a number of high profile investments in innovation funds and research centers. Roche has invested CAD 190 million (USD 183.86 million) in a global clinical development site in Mississauga, Ontario, one of six in the world, and also selected the Montreal Heart Institute as its global research hub for cardiometabolic diseases. In 2011, Merck invested CAD 33.2 million (USD 32.12 million) in modernizing and expanding its manufacturing facilities in the country. In 2010, Sanofi Pasteur invested CAD 101 million (USD 97.73 million) in a new R&D facility for vaccines.

Riad Sherif, President of Novartis Canada
BMS is another company to bet on Canada's potential. "BMS Canada is one of the organization's largest affiliates worldwide and one of the most active in clinical research. We have been a front-end research leader in Canada. We have invested CAD 50 million (USD 47.75 million) in 2012 alone into clinical trials, and we have 50 compounds in development so there is a lot of potential. BMS Canada has partnered with some of the leading academic institutes, such as the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) in Montreal", says Teresa Bitetti, general manager BMS in Canada. She concludes: "Canada has everything that is needed for strong R&D activity – an educated work force, a stable economy and global world-class leading academic institutions."

Gail Garland, CEO of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO)

Frank Florio, BD Canada's vice president and general manager North America

Quebec vs. Ontario

Niclas Stiernholm, President and CEO of Stem Cell Therapeutics (SCT)

Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation of Ontario

Ronnie Miller, president and CEO, Roche Canada

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
–Albert Einstein

The Canadian life sciences ecosystem has all the right parts in place to become one of the most attractive hubs in the world. The country's exceptional infrastructure, emphasis on research and science, immense talent pool, and highly regarded education system all play a role. Ultimately, it is up to all stakeholders involved to ensure that these various dots are connected and packaged in a way that shows their value.


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