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State-of-the-Art Health Research Happens in Toronto

In September, I represented Toronto Global at one of the largest biotechnology summits in Europe: BioSpain – Sevilla. It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase what the Toronto Region can offer to growing international companies in this sector, as well as put the Toronto Region’s value proposition to the test.

The Toronto Region has long been recognized as a global life sciences hub with an impressive track record of innovation and commercialization – from the Discovery District in Toronto’s downtown core, to Mississauga’s specialized pharmaceuticals sector, to Brampton’s upcoming preventive care cluster.

Over the last several months, Toronto Global has worked together with TOHealth! and other regional stakeholders to conduct a deep dive into the life sciences sector. The objective was to identify and articulate key opportunity areas that present a compelling value proposition for foreign firms to expand operations into the Toronto Region and contribute to the growth of the region’s cluster.

State-of-the-Art Health Research

Together with JanWillem Gille – Director Western Europe and Aurora Polo – Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Consulate in Barcelona – we covered a packed agenda, meeting with more than 25 companies interested in expanding to North America. Here’s a snapshot of what we talked about:

Availability of Talent

One of the most important draws for the foreign firms we spoke to was our talent pool, which was very well recognized. As one of the largest life science clusters in North America, we grow, attract, and retain the talent that companies need for their business to succeed. Whether it’s our fast-tracked approach to highly skilled immigration, or our commitment to increase the number of STEM graduates to 50,000 by 2023, companies can rest assured that they will find the educated workforce they need today and in the future.

State-of-the-art Research

Of particular interest was the 11,000+ researchers and technicians working in Toronto’s specialty fields: regenerative medicine, genomics, cardiology, oncology, neurology and artificial intelligence. Our region has proven to have the intellectual horsepower to undertake advanced research, operating out of the Toronto Region’s 37 research institutes, nine teaching hospitals and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, with over $1B in research funding.

Open for Partnerships

In the life sciences and health sector it is standard practise to join forces with other players in the market to achieve results. The openness of the ecosystem in the Toronto Region and the possibility to leverage a diverse patient pool, as well as shorten the time from research to production, resonated with our target group. Companies were interested in possibilities to collaborate with Canada’s largest concentration of research hospitals, institutes, academia, business incubators and venture capital organizations downtown, within a 2.5 km2 research park and health innovation hub.

Access to Market

European companies were particularly interested in the Toronto Region’s proximity to the US market and the ease of doing business within North America, along with the recently implemented free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, eliminating tariffs and promoting labour mobility.

Attractive Investment Destination

Our value proposition was very well received by European life sciences and health companies. The key takeaway for companies was the Toronto Region’s offering of a high quality, cost competitive business environment. From highly educated talent and efficient clinical trials infrastructure, to generous R&D tax incentive programs, life sciences and health companies get a better return on their investment in the Toronto Region. Additionally, our strong innovative and entrepreneurial support infrastructure, government-backed venture capital and streamlined regulatory approvals, all in combination with our robust clinical environment will get new products and services in the hands of those who need it most.

Bart Deelen, Senior Advisor, Investment Attraction, Europe and JanWillem Gille, Director, Investment Attraction, Europe

(Picture from left to right: Bart Deelen, Senior Advisor, Investment Attraction, Europe and JanWillem Gille, Director, Investment Attraction, Europe)

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