OBIO Celebrates Five Years Advancing Ontario's Human Health Technology and Bioscience Ecosystem

Since its foundation in 2009, the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®) has been engaged in strategy development, policy and government relations activities to enable the successful development and commercialization of human health technology in Ontario through investment, strategic alliances, stakeholder engagement and industry promotion. OBIO led the Ontario Bioscience Economic Strategy Team (OBEST®) in 2011, in developing a province-wide strategic vision to support the growth and viability of Ontario’s bioscience industry. OBEST has mobilized over 300 Province-wide stakeholders and their organizations, including entrepreneurs, representatives of small, medium and multinational enterprises (SMEs and MNEs), finance specialists, investors, researchers, educators, consultants, government representatives, attorneys, accountants and healthcare professionals. OBEST set objectives around capital, capabilities/people, innovation adoption and export, anchoring industry, industry culture, and integration. The vision is to ensure a sustainable biosciences sector in Ontario, that offers job creation, improved health outcomes and a more prosperous economy for the province.

OBIO has had a successful track record implementing OBEST®. We have established and funded programs that achieve results, and address the priority goals that were originally identified by our stakeholders. OBEST currently focuses on three, high-impact initiatives: Access to Capital, Innovation Adoption and Interconnectivity.

The OBIO Capital Access Advisory Program (CAAP™) is an Access to Capital initiative. CAAP is designed to hasten the development of Ontario’s earlier stage enterprises and enhance their profiles from a venture readiness perspective. After a highly successful pilot year in 2013, OBIO issued an open call for applications for an expanded program. Ten companies competed successfully for a place in the program this year and the 2014 program kicked-off in April. CAAP receives financial support from the Government of Ontario and the private sector.

The goal of OBIO’s Innovation Adoption Initiative is to recommend policy avenues that strengthen the province’s capacity to deliver cost-effective, outcome-focused care for patients as efficiently and innovatively as practicable while catalyzing commercialization for the therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and health information technology (health IT) sectors. During 2013 OBIO successfully built a healthcare industry coalition, consulted with Industry and government on challenges to the adoption of innovative healthcare technologies in Ontario and prepared an economic analysis of innovative technologies that have been adopted in other parts of the world but were delayed or failed completely to gain access to the Ontario healthcare system. The outcome is contained in OBIO’s 2013 report entitled “Realizing the Promise of Healthcare Innovation in Ontario.” 

OBIO is recognized for its distinction in highlighting the role of industry, as well as government, in pursuing common goals for improved and sustainable healthcare. In 2014, OBIO has continued to advocate on this issue through networks and public forums and was a title presenter at the Toronto Regional Board of Trade in February. The project’s next step focuses on deriving and implementing a common and transparent definition of value for healthcare innovation adoption.

OBIO’s Building Interconnectivity Initiative connects individuals, companies and organizations dedicated to advancing Ontario’s health science sector. OBIO’s membership is rich with industry leaders from biopharmaceutical, therapeutics, medical device, diagnostics, SMEs, MNEs, and contract research, as well as academic, legal and financial institutions. OBIO is facilitating connections between industry leaders and across professions through the membership and Executive Exchange Series (EES) and events such as Insider Insight Dinners.

OBIO’s ability to deliver on so many different initiatives is due to the tremendous commitment of our many supporters, sponsors, partners and volunteers who are fully invested in building a thriving bioscience industry in Ontario. We are grateful for the engagement of such a dedicated group of individuals and look forward to their ongoing support.