Innovation that leads to advances in life sciences requires a collaborative ecosystem of partners – hospitals, research centres, universities, technology incubators, start-ups, scientists and multinationals – and every day they’re collaborating in Ontario, Canada.

Canada's largest centre of life sciences activity

Operate among innovation leaders engaged in every kind of life sciences activity. Ontario's broad and innovative life sciences sector includes about 1,900 firms.

A premier life sciences centre

Ontario ranks seventh in North America in terms of life sciences employment and eighth by the number of life sciences establishments, also in North America. We are home to a remarkable cluster of top-ranked institutions, researchers, developers and manufacturers.

Multinational companies include:

Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Teva

Homegrown companies include:

Apotex, Nordion, Nucro Technics, Patheon, Plantform, Sanofi, Therapure Biopharma, Trudell Medical, Xagenic

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Life Sciences Companies


    A critical mass of life sciences talent

    You need a dependable source of highly skilled innovation talent to grow and compete. We have the talent you need.

    Great talent from great institutions

    • Six of Ontario's universities have associated medical schools, including the University of Toronto, one of North America's largest medical faculties.
    • Our 44 universities and colleges produce some 40,000 graduates in science, engineering, mathematics and related technologies each year.

    Why Roche chose Ontario

    Exceptional talent drives success in the highly competitive life sciences market, but it's not always easy to find the scientific and business talent you need to innovate, commercialize and succeed on a global scale. Hoffman-La Roche kept this in mind as it was choosing a site for a global pharmaceutical development centre. In addition to a talent pool of around 60,000 life sciences workers, Ontario boasts a high concentration of business specialists with over 43,000 students graduated from business related programs in 2013.

    Two of the top 10 international business schools are in Ontario.

    I think the biggest asset Ontario provides to companies like us is its deep talent pool. We have been very impressed with the quality of the people we have hired locally for the site and I think this reflects the fact that the province does wonderful research. It produces great scientists, and sometimes you need to look locally before you look globally

    - Ronnie Miller, President & CEO, Roche Canada

    R&D spending

    Four of the top ten Canadian research hospitals can be found in Ontario, attracting over $2.6 billion in sponsored research income.

    A history of innovation fuelling tomorrow's discoveries

    Ontario is a place where today's innovative ideas are fast becoming tomorrow's world-renowned scientific, medical and technological breakthroughs, with the potential to improve millions of lives globally.

    • Did you know that Ontario is home to the following major medical breakthroughs and innovations?
      • blood-forming stem cells
      • cancer stem cells in leukemia
      • discovery of the neuroleptic receptor
      • early-onset Alzheimer's disease
      • external cardiac pacemaker
      • identification of genes for cystic fibrosis
      • insulin
    • Our excellence in life sciences is nurtured by public and private investments and forged through collaborative partnerships. Together, there is truly no limit to where innovation can take us.

    Snapshot: Ontario R&D

    • About 51% of Canadian life sciences R&D spending occurs in Ontario.
    • 51% of Canada’s total R&D personnel in life sciences are in Ontario.
    • Ontario's 24 academic research hospitals have invested as much as $1.4 billion in R&D and employ 18,000 researchers and research staff across the province.
    • The world's top ten pharmaceutical companies by revenue (and others) conduct clinical trials in Ontario.
    • Canadian industry patents exhibit relatively high impact (cited about 20% more than the world average).

    World renowned research and academic institutions

    • Ontario is a biomedical research powerhouse, with specialized academic and research centres across the province conducting investigations into virtually every area of life sciences.



    Programs and incentives for growth

    Ontario's R&D tax credits are the most generous among the OECD countries. Combined with federal R&D programs, Ontario's R&D Tax Program can reduce your after-tax cost by 40%-60%.

    Tax incentives

    • A broader range of costs qualify for deductions than in many jurisdictions, and tax credits can be carried back for three years or forward for 20 years.
    • Companies that earn federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive credits in Ontario are also eligible for a 4.5% non-refundable Ontario Research and Development Tax Credit.
    • A 20% refundable Ontario Business Research Institute Tax Credit (up to $4 million annually) for contract R&D performed at eligible research institutes in Ontario such as universities or community colleges, hospital research institutes, Ontario Centres of Excellence or non-profit organizations.
    • For small- and medium-sized companies, there is an additional 10% refundable Ontario Innovation Tax Credit worth up to $300,000 annually.
    • The marginal effective tax rate of 16.6% on new capital investment (provincial and federal) is lower than the U.S. and OECD averages.
    Ontario's R&D cost advantage versus other G7 countries (KPMG, 2016)
    Location Cost advantage/disadvantage relative to the US (%)
    Ontario 27.8
    France 22.4
    Italy 21.0
    Germany 16.0
    Japan 12.8
    United Kingdom 11.9
    United States Baseline
    Source: MEDEI/MRI analysis, prepared using Cost Model, 2016 version.

    Federal Programs

    Industry Subsectors

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