There are more pharmaceutical companies in Ontario than in any other Canadian province, including global companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur, and homegrown companies such as Apotex. Here you’ll find the talent, scientific excellence, reputable research partners and low costs to help you accelerate drug discovery and keep your pipeline full.

Pharma in Ontario: A dynamic presence

To understand the staying power and potential of the pharmaceutical industry in Ontario, you just need to look at the numbers and how they're trending. From strong to off-the-charts, the indicators are resoundingly positive.

Ontario is home to some 1,900 life sciences firms that employ some 60,000 people and generate over $38 billion in revenues annually. The pharmaceutical sector alone is responsible for $25 billion of those revenues and employs about 28,000 people.

Unstoppable synergy

Looking for evidence of agile, innovative start-ups with promise? Solid mid-sizers with strong track records? Want proof that some of the world's biggest pharma players are prospering here, too? We've got them all – and the result is a dynamic cluster of life sciences firms whose collective reach spans the spectrum in terms of size, scope, maturity and focus.

The short- and long-range forecast: growth

There are more pharmaceutical companies in Ontario than in any other Canadian province.

  • The world's top ten global pharmaceutical companies (by revenue) conduct clinical trials in Ontario.
  • Ontario is home to four of Canada's top 10 research hospitals.
  • About 56% of Canadian pharmaceutical R&D spending happens in Ontario.
  • More than half of Canadians who work in the pharmaceutical sector do so in Ontario.
  • More than 3,200 clinical trials are underway in Ontario at any given time.

Need more?

Ontario companies export about $7.1 billion, or 73% of Canadian pharmaceutical goods, mainly to the U.S. – and they have access to the $20-trillion NAFTA marketplace, which is also the world's largest health care market. Ontario's long history of high quality pharmaceutical manufacturing has attracted global companies such as GSK and Sanofi Pasteur and contributed to domestic success stories like Apotex and Therapure.

A collage of logos representing life sciences companies with a presence in Ontario.

Ontario Home to First JLABS Incubator outside the U.S.

In 2015, the Ontario government, University of Toronto, and MaRS Discovery District announced they were collaborating with Janssen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation to launch a JLABS incubator in Toronto. The new facility will support start-ups with lab space, programs and potential investment partners. Ontario is investing $19.4 million towards the incubator through the Strategic Partnerships Stream of the Jobs and Prosperity Fund to help strengthen the province's growing life sciences sector.

Toronto is the first city outside of the U.S. to host a JLABS incubator. "We are pleased to be collaborating with the Ontario government on this exciting initiative to support scientists and entrepreneurs who are working on new frontiers in science and medicine to transform healthcare. With a Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS site in Toronto, we deepen our relationship with the region's world-class healthcare and life sciences community and support start-up companies that will produce new treatments and new economic opportunities," said Dr. Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson.

We recently got to meet the J&J Innovation Team! Read about what we learned.

 

What's in your pipeline?

Ontario's scientific capabilities help translate research outcomes into innovative therapeutics quickly.

A hotbed of STEM talent

The media often report that the numbers of science, engineering, mathematics and related technologies graduates are declining. That may be true elsewhere – but not in Ontario.

Clearly, we're doing something right.

  • Our 44 universities and colleges produce more than 40,000 graduates in science, engineering, mathematics, and related technologies every year.
  • Ontario's 24 research hospitals employ 18,000 researchers and research staff and invest $1.4 billion in R&D.
  • Ontario's pharmaceutical sector employs about 27,500 people, accounting for about 55% of Canadian pharmaceutical employment.
  • Four of the top 10 Canadian research universities are here, including the University of Toronto, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, and Western University.
The strong research-based pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries and the presence of leading hospitals with globally-recognized clinical research capabilities made Ipsen's decision to establish its Canadian head office in Ontario an easy choice.

- Lyndal Walker, Country Manager, Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

A diverse workforce that's educated and accessible

Pharma firms in Ontario are successfully developing medical innovations that treat disease and improve the lives of patients.

When establishing or expanding your pharma company in Ontario, you will have no difficulty finding the workforce that can take your company to the next level and accelerate your drug discovery and development pipelines.

As the chart on the right shows, this concentration of scientists, technologists and technicians in Ontario comprises 18.5% of the life sciences workforce compared to Quebec (16.6%) and the rest of Canada (16.4%).

From production line staff to researchers, you will have ready access to educated, qualified employees.

Ontario has a diverse life sciences workforce
Location Management Scientists, Technologists and Technicians Sales and Service Manufacturing Business Support Other
Canada 9.7 16.4 28.8 11.0 21.8 12.3
Ontario 11.7 18.5 26.1 14.1 20.7 8.9
Québec 10.7 16.6 25.2 9.8 20.6 17.1
Note: Business Support includes lawyers, accountants, human resources, administrative assistants, etc.

Take your research to the next level

The proof of Ontario's research talent is in the data. For example, the University of Toronto ranks second only to Harvard in research publications worldwide and is third in citations. The numbers of publications and citations by University of Toronto faculty in the science fields outrank those of not only the school's Canadian peers, but of most of the top 40 public and private Association of American Universities (AAU), including Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The chart below indicates the number of citations in the science fields by UofT faculty indexed by Thomson IncitesTM compared to the top 40 Public & Private AAU Institutions, and Canadian peers.

Number of Citations in the Science Fields
Institution Number of Citations in the Science Fields
Harvard 1,072,608
TORONTO 430,169
Johns Hopkins 413,261
Stanford 402,943
Mass Inst Tech 380,146
Source: Thomson Reuters InCites

The chart below indicates the number of publications in the science fields by UofT faculty indexed by Thomson IncitesTM compared to the top 40 AAU Institutions, both Public and Private, and Canadian peers.

Number of Publications in the Science Fields
Institution Number of Publications in the Science Fields
Harvard 74,853
TORONTO 42,224
Michigan 34,092
Johns Hopkins 32,910
Calif-Los Angeles 30,606
Source: Thomson Reuters InCites

Collaborative eco-system aids success

The open environment supporting collaboration between business and research in Ontario is the envy of innovators and entrepreneurs elsewhere. Here, life sciences firms can take advantage of more than a dozen research partnership programs and grants, including the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's Idea-to-Innovation Grant, and other industry programs:

  • The Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs is a province-wide network that supports innovation-based entrepreneurs and businesses as they launch and grow globally competitive companies.
  • The Ontario Centres of Excellence is a link between industry and academia, offering business leaders access to top research talent to help address innovation challenges.
  • Together, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Ontario Genomics Institute, Ontario Brain Institute, and Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) have been instrumental in the creation of nearly 60 start-ups or spinoffs. The SGC alone has attracted 10 global pharmaceutical companies to invest $50 million in blue sky open innovation research in Ontario, and accounts for 15% of the global output in structural biology.
  • The Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) was established in 2014 by Ontario with $3 million in funding. The OIRM is the product of a partnership between the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) and the Ontario Stem Cell Institute (OSCI), and builds on the strengths of their respective networks of industry and scientific leaders.
  • The Ontario Health Innovation Council (OHIC) links experts from the health care, community, home care, medical device, non-profit, mental health, research, academic and business sectors to spur innovation and improve patient outcomes.
  • The federally funded Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) are not-for-profit corporations created by universities, colleges, not-for-profit research organizations, firms, or other interested non-government parties. Clusters of research expertise are matched with the business community, and each Centre shares knowledge, expertise and resources to bring new pharma products to market faster.

Learn more about other incentive programs and services offered by Ontario.

 

An R&D powerhouse

Ontario is keenly interested in the growth and prosperity of pharma firms here – so it initiates and feeds programs designed to increase success, including tax credits, research funding and expertise.

A reputation for excellence

Ontario is known for its contributions in key research areas like cancer, neuroscience, stem cells, gene therapy and clinical trials. Major advances in potential treatments for diseases ranging from diabetes to cystic fibrosis to leukemia and early-onset Alzheimer's disease have all originated here thanks to a combination of private and public investment in innovation. Some of Canada's biggest life sciences R&D spenders have their Canadian headquarters in Ontario, including Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen and Apotex.

R&D Return on Investment

Ontario's comprehensive support for research and development builds capacity.

  • Talent. Our 24 research hospitals and institutions employ 18,000 researchers and invest $1.4 billion in research and development.
  • IP: Canadian industry patents are cited in other patents about 20% more than the world average.
  • Room to grow. The MaRS Discovery District alone offers 1.5 million square feet of innovation space at the heart of the country's largest research cluster in Toronto. And, Ontario is making site selection even easier with its Investment Ready: Certified Site program.

Don't just take our word for it – the developments speak for themselves.

Major pharmaceutical and life sciences companies have been making sizable investments in their Ontario operations lately.

  • Roche Canada recently completed a $190 million expansion in Ontario, building a global pharmaceutical development site that will play a leading role in worldwide clinical trials.
  • Sanofi Pasteur opened a $100 million vaccine R&D facility at its Connaught Campus in Toronto in 2011.
  • Therapure Biopharma Inc. recently invested $29 million in its Custom Biologics Manufacturing Wing in Mississauga.
  • Novocol Pharmaceuticals is investing $54 million over five years to expand production and R&D capacity at its Cambridge, Ontario facility.
  • TEVA Canada recently underwent a $56 million expansion of its Centre of Excellence for Solid Dose Products, creating one of the most advanced pharmaceutical plants in North America.
  • Bayer began a $100 million, Phase 3 clinical study of an oral anticoagulant in partnership with McMaster University's Population Health Research Institute in 2012.
  • Taro Pharmaceuticals Inc. is investing in new manufacturing and R&D equipment to expand research and production at its Brampton facility. The $247 million project will increase its plant capacity by 50%.

Baxter Expands in Ontario

In November 2014, Baxter Corporation announced plans to build a new facility in Mississauga, Ontario for its Centralized Intravenous Admixing Pharmacy Service (CIVA). Triple the size of the current facility, the new Baxter CIVA Pharmacy Service will expand Baxter's ability to meet the needs of Canadian hospitals, clinics and other care facilities for ready-to-administer intravenous (IV) admixtures, including chemotherapy, high-alert medications and anti-infectives, enabling pharmacists to focus on more direct patient care and clinical activities.

Know your credits and incentives

 

Keeping business costs low

Canada's pharma business costs are the lowest in the G7, according to KPMG's Competitive Alternatives 2016.

Lower business costs are better for business

And what's good for business is good for Ontario. We know that lower costs mean:

  • more businesses are establishing themselves or expanding here
  • increasingly dynamic and collaborative industry clusters
  • more revenue to support your firm's growth and reinvest in R&D
  • a stable and thriving pharma sector that attracts successful newcomers

That's why Canada offers the lowest pharmaceutical production, biomedical R&D and clinical trials administration costs among all G7 countries.

Also worth noting for their impact on the bottom line: health care costs in Ontario can be half what they are in the U.S.

Canada offers the lowest pharmaceutical production costs in the G7
G7 Country USD$'000
Canada 17,901
United Kingdom 18,385
France 18,773
Italy 18,880
Japan 19,023
United States 19,544
Germany 19,580
Source: KPMG Competitive Alternatives, 2014

Competitive corporate tax rates

  • A total combined provincial and federal (15%) corporate income tax (CIT) rate of 26.5% means Ontario's tax rate is lower than both the G20 average and the U.S. federal-state average.
  • Our marginal effective tax rate on new business investment was just 16.6% in 2014.
  • As well, CIT and sales tax administration are streamlined. This saves Ontario businesses $635 million a year in compliance costs.
Combined Federal-Ontario general corporate income tax (CIT) rate
Regions Percent
Ontario 26.5
G7 Avg 30.8
U.S. Avg 38.9
Source: Ontario Ministry of Finance, 2017 Budget.

 

A clinical trials destination

Ontario's significant cost advantage over the U.S., diverse patient sets and a fast and streamlined ethics review process explain why over 3,200 clinical trials are taking place here at any given time.

Clinical trials in Ontario: Low costs and proven expertise

All major teaching hospitals affiliated with surrounding universities in Ontario are involved in ground-breaking trials on local, national and international levels.

The world's top 10 pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials in Ontario: Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Roche, Pfizer, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Bayer Healthcare, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly. There are good reasons for this:

  • Canada has a 16% clinical trials administration cost advantage over the U.S.
  • Ontario companies benefit from the lowest cost for biomedical R&D and pharmaceutical products manufacturing among the G7 countries.
  • In Hamilton, McMaster University's Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) has key capabilities in coordinating global clinical trials and has conducted studies that have enrolled almost 1,000,000 people worldwide.
  • The HUB Health Research Solutions, at St. Michael's Hospital, provides services in the design and execution of clinical trials research studies as well as expertise in health economics, knowledge translation, and qualitative research.
  • Findings by the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), a public-private partnership supporting the discovery of new medicines through open access research, have already triggered twelve clinical trials.

Ontario advantages like these help explain why more than 3,200 clinical trials are underway here.

The bottom line is that our cost advantages, diverse population and reduced administrative burden make it easier for pharma companies to conduct clinical trials here. This means your therapeutics and drug development will be market-ready faster, which is good for your bottom line.

Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO) is an independent not-for-profit organization established by the Government of Ontario with a mandate to provide an approach to conducting multi-centre clinical trials in the province while maintaining the highest ethical standards for participant protection.

CTO has established the CTO Streamlined Research Ethics Review System, which will improve the speed and reduce the costs of Ontario's multi-centre clinical research by harmonizing processes and reducing the time and effort required to initiate research across multiple sites in Ontario.

CTO is achieving its mandate through three strategic pillars:

  1. Improving speed and reducing costs of multi-centre clinical trials by streamlining the research ethics approval process to a single review in Ontario and harmonizing other administrative processes and platforms.
  2. Attracting clinical trial investments to Ontario based on CTO's success in streamlining activities and by leveraging strategic partnerships with investigators, industry, and government to access to global decision-makers.
  3. Improving participant recruitment and retention through education and by engaging participants and the public in recognizing the benefits of clinical trials.

Visit ctontario.ca to learn more.

 

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