Nine-point strategy for growth and sustainability

Nine-point strategy for growth and sustainability of Ontario bioscience industry is launched

Plan is first of kind for province

TORONTO, June 23 – An economic strategy to ensure the sustainability and success of Ontario’s commercial bioscience sector was announced today. Implementation of the strategy is underway, according to OBIO™, the CEO-led industry organization.

Developed by multi-stakeholder Ontario Bioscience Economic Strategy (OBEST™) teams in seven regional bioscience clusters, the strategy comprises nine priority initiatives. Of these, five are for implementation by the industry; four will be implemented by the industry partnering with government.

Dr. Daniel Billen, Chair of the OBEST Advisory Board and General Manager,
Amgen Canada, said: “We have put the onus on our industry to implement this strategy and on government to put supportive policies in place. Together, these will enable Ontario’s bioscience companies to complete the virtuous cycle of economic growth, jobs and improved health for all.”

Gail Garland, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Bioscience Industry Organization (OBIO) said: “Regional governments throughout North America and globally have been prioritizing innovation–based economic development for over a decade. Successful ones are those in which industry takes the lead in identifying strategic priorities and implementing specific actions that drive change.”

The five strategy initiatives for industry implementation are:
1. Education in and awareness of Ontario’s bioscience sector, the value of innovation, and in entrepreneurship;
2. Building and expansion of the pool of investors and partners;
3. Building interconnectivity among Ontario small and medium-sized enterprises;
4. Defining industry priorities, and
5. Encouraging “patient” (long-term) capital.

Strategic initiatives to be implemented by the bioscience industry in partnership with government are:

1. Identification of and investment in provincial health priorities;
2. Ensuring and clearly demonstrating integrity of process in making decisions that affect Ontario’s bioscience industry;
3. Using provincial purchasing power to drive the market, and
4. Modification of government incentives for industry for rapid access to and deployment of existing funds, and to ensure the industry’s competitiveness globally.

More than 200 executives representing all stakeholder organizations – bioscience companies, research institutions, government, universities, patient-support organizations, and venture capitalists-- contributed more than 5,000 volunteer hours to develop the strategy. This marks the first occasion in Ontario that a universe of stakeholders has volunteered time to work collaboratively on a strategy for building an industry that delivers health and economic wellbeing to Ontarians.

The seven regional bioscience clusters represented are: GTA Central; GTA North; GTA West; South Central Ontario; Western Ontario; Eastern Ontario, and Northern Ontario.


OBEST was established by OBIO as a forum for attracting the many insights of stakeholders to advance Ontario’s health-science sector and develop it into an economic engine for the province. Two groups form OBEST, an Advisory Committee and regional discussion groups led by bioscience CEOs. Each group comprises all stakeholders in Ontario’s health-science industry and is responsible for building the economic strategy to ensure a commercially viable and competitive bioscience sector in the province.

About OBIO
Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO™) is Ontario’s leading advocate for the life-science sector. A private sector, membership-based organization, OBIO engages in policy advocacy and government relations activities to enable successful development and commercialization of life-science technology through investment, strategic alliances, stakeholder engagement and industry promotion.
OBIO is supported by Members and Sponsors, among whom are Amgen Canada, AstraZeneca Canada, BDC, Eli Lilly Canada, Gowlings LLP, HealthComm, Merck, Norton Rose LLP, Novartis Canada, Pfizer Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Purdue Pharma Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Sanofi, Torys LLP.

Further information, contact: Gail Garland, OBIO, at 416-575-7805 or or Joan Lister, HealthComm (416)994-3806 or