TORONTO--()--Chief executive officers of Ontario-based bioscience companies have launched a leadership council to provide executive-level input into provincial policies and economic strategy in order to strengthen and promote growth in the province’s life-sciences industry. Initial recommendations for policy adjustments have been presented by the council, known as Ontario Bioscience Industry Organization (OBIO), to the Ontario Government.
“The urgent need of Ontario bioscience companies is access to capital, which evaporated with the economic downturn. We are asking the Government of Ontario to modify its existing programs so that funding is more accessible to local companies and commercialization is accelerated. We are not asking for additional funding.”
Ontario is home to more than 80 bioscience companies, which are engaged in research, development, commercialization and production of a wide range of innovative therapies, devices and technologies for healthcare. The province spends more than $5 billion a year on drug therapies and devices, most of which are imported.
In the fall of 2009, a series of regional CEO-working groups and online consultations resulted in a comprehensive report entitled “Industry Generated Recommendations for Sustainability and Growth of Ontario's Bioscience Industry in 2010 and Beyond”, (http://obio.ca/category/reports/). This report has been the basis for discussions between OBIO and Ontario’s senior public servants and MPPs in 2010.
Dr. David Young, chair of the board of directors of OBIO, and CEO, Actium Equity Partners, said: “The urgent need of Ontario bioscience companies is access to capital, which evaporated with the economic downturn. We are asking the Government of Ontario to modify its existing programs so that funding is more accessible to local companies and commercialization is accelerated. We are not asking for additional funding.
“As a sunrise industry, bioscience is a vital engine of the new economy,” added Young, pointing out its three key benefits for Ontario:
Expert committees have been struck by OBIO to work with industry CEOs on finding new ways to leverage global risk capital into Ontario and on developing a strategy to maximize the scientific and economic potential of biotechnology.
Ontario Bioscience Industry 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 in Ontario. OBIO is supported by Foundational Members and Sponsors, among whom are Amgen Canada, AstraZeneca, Dalton Pharma Services, Dalton Medicinal Chemistry, The Equicom Group, Gowlings, HealthComm, Merck Frosst, Pfizer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Purdue Pharma, RBC Royal Bank, Rx & D and VWR.