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$150M fund targets biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing


Toronto, ON – Ontario’s provincial government is setting up a $150 million fund to encourage research-based pharmaceutical companies to invest in Ontario. The program will enable companies to apply for grants, loans, forgivable interest loans and funds for building infrastructure, research and training.

The program was announced last Wednesday and will be up and running by April 1.

“Attracting these investments will create good-paying jobs that support the discovery of new medical treatments for diseases that affect us all,” says John Wilkinson, the province’s minister of research and innovation.

The biopharmaceutical industry already employs over 9,000 people in Ontario in high-value jobs, including researchers and scientists. In 2006, the industry invested more than $550-million in research activities in Ontario.

“The government’s investment program is good news for everyone involved in the research community in Ontario,” says Dr Freda Miller, senior scientist, Hospital for Sick Children. “We look forward to new R&D partnerships between research hospitals like SickKids and pharmaceutical companies that will bring benefits in the form of new therapies and services for our patients.”

“Today’s announcement sends a signal not only to the domestic biopharmaceutical industry, but also to our global community that Ontario values this sector and its potential for growth,” says Ronnie Miller, chairman of Rx&D and president & CEO Hoffmann-La Roche.

The funding will be available through the province’s Next Generation Jobs Fund, which is a five-year, $1.15 billion program. The fund was unveiled last June, when $650 million was initially made available to companies looking to invest in the development of clean cars, clean fuels, and clean technologies and products in Ontario.

To bid for financial support from the fund, companies need to demonstrate their capabilities in a number of areas. For example, they must provide local jobs and build on existing expertise in areas in which Ontario has a strong research and commercial base or create new expertise, and create synergies among researchers, business people and entrepreneurs.

The $150 million biopharmaceutical portion of the fund will be administered by the Ministry of Research and Innovation. The ministry says further details will be available on its website (www.ontario.ca/innovation) in the coming months, with the program to be fully in place by April 1.