OBIO/OBEST Five Year Strategic Review: January 2015



Since its founding in 2009, the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®) has been engaged in creating the future of Ontario’s biomedical sector through industry-led strategy, policy development, advocacy and high impact programming. OBIO pursues innovative thought leadership within a culture of trust, reaching out to ever growing circles of thinkers and stakeholders. The collective mission is to further innovation, development and commercialization of human health technologies and contribute a sustainable, growing bioscience industry to Ontario’s knowledge economy. Beginning in 2010, OBIO® led the Ontario Bioscience Economic Strategy Team (OBEST®), in developing a province-wide strategic vision to support the growth and viability of Ontario’s bioscience industry. OBEST has involved over 300 people and 6,000 man hours province wide as the team set objectives for capital access, capabilities/people, innovation adoption and export, anchoring industry, culture, and integration. The vision was, and continues to be, to ensure a thriving industry in Ontario that creates jobs, attracts expertise and ideas, elevates health outcomes and builds a more prosperous economy. OBEST identified 9 strategic initiatives and launched implementation teams in 2012. The efforts of these teams of dedicated volunteers has been captured under three strategic objectives: build companies, build the industry and build an environment in Ontario where a health science industry can thrive. 


“An innovative society is one that hedges its bets by having as many thoughts - and thinkers - as possible.” The Economist


OBIO has been committed to focused execution and several milestones have been achieved over the years: Building Companies: Access to capital initiatives address industry’s number one issue:  CAAP, OBIO’s Capital Access Advisory Program is designed to provide Ontario pre-venture companies with strategic guidance in order to enhance their venture-readiness profiles. Now entering its third cycle, CAAP has provided high potential companies with advisors, customized programs and introductions to the North American investing community. Companies from the first two CAAP cycles have now successfully raised a total of over $11M during their CAAP participation.  Policy recommendations to Government on encouraging private sector investment, creating health science jobs in the private sector and managing venture capital funds for life science industries;  A major capital formation project dedicated to funding commercialization and growing the health science industry in Ontario; OBIO/OBEST Five Year Strategic Review: January 2015 “An innovative society is one that hedges its bets by having as many thoughts- and thinkers-as possible.” The Economist  Reviewing and monitoring the effectiveness of public funding programs and working with government to develop future programs;  Annual submissions to the Ministry of Finance and the Standing Committee on Finance and Economics recommending incentives for investors and support for the bioscience industry;  Pursuing capital for, and ensuring distribution of, the one-time $7M emergency fund for the biotech industry. Building the Industry: Interconnectivity initiatives have included:  Convening a caucus of MPPs from all parties to connect them with Ontario’s health biosciences industry and to discuss the environment for company development as well as OBIO’s initiatives and ideas for supportive government policy.  The Executive Exchange Series workshops covering: intellectual property, angel investors, governance, reimbursement, pCPA, SRED, term sheets, valuation, clinical trial and regulatory strategies and VC insights;  Insider insights dinners that connect CEOs in a forum to discuss business issues and solutions;  The OBIO annual dinner in conjunction with Toronto’s main financing conference to allow CEOs to meet investors and policy makers and to discuss macro strategic issues;  The OBIO annual Public Meeting held in conjunction with OBIO’s AGM exposes industry and other stakeholders to topical debate and breaking news in the sector;  OBIO’s Five Year Anniversary celebration supported entrepreneur networking, featured updates from OBIO and Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation and showcased the OBIO 2014 CAAP companies to an audience of CEOs, government officials and OBIO partners in innovation.  Newsletters, updates and cross promotion for events, programs and opportunities for industry;  Surveys and individual interviews to define, track and prioritize industry issues Building an Environment where Industry can Thrive: Innovation adoption  Following an extensive stakeholder consultation process throughout 2011 involving, academia, government, patient groups, healthcare providers, industry groups and industry, OBIO convened an Innovation Adoption Steering Committee in 2011 representing the spectrum of Ontario bioscience companies (i.e. therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, health IT). CLEAR and Massey College Innovation Cell were selected as partners to examine the impact of delays in the adoption of health innovations in Ontario.  An environmental scan, including literature and jurisdictional reviews and broad-based stakeholder interviews on healthcare innovation adoption in Ontario, was completed in 2012.  Health economic modeling and policy recommendations for efficient and effective bioscience product adoption in Ontario were completed in the fall of 2013.  OBIO began the process of linking innovation adoption to healthcare priorities by completing a 2013 survey across Ontario Government employees.  OBIO’s report “Realizing the Promise of Healthcare Innovation in Ontario” was released late in 2013 and shared with the Premiere’s office, MRI, MEDTEI, MGS, MOHLTC, patient groups, academic institutions and industry ( ) .  OBIO’s 2014 plan for the next phase of the innovation adoption initiative entitled “A Plan for How Ontario can Derive and Implement a Common and Transparent Definition of Value in Healthcare” is under discussion with government, providers and industry stakeholders. OBIO remains focused on the three high impact initiatives that our industry depends on for success: Access to Capital, Interconnectivity and Innovation adoption. At the same time, OBIO will respond to evolving economic and policy landscapes through the creation of new programs and will continue to partner and collaborate with thought leaders and like-minded organizations striving to accelerate the commercialization of new technology and life sciences products, further the bioscience economy and improve human health. OBIO’s achievements and ongoing activities would not be possible without the many people who support the organization and give generously of their time, expertise and networks. Membership has grown over the years to surpass 250 companies. Both corporate and government sponsors contribute to funding OBIO’s activities on behalf of industry. We invite you to join the change underway in Ontario’s bioeconomy. For additional information, please visit our website ( or contact Gail Garland, President & CEO, at