Economic strategy team tackles challenges facing the future of Ontario health-science companies

Once the world's third largest biotechnology cluster, province's bioscience sector now struggles for survival. Industry leaders map out evergreen strategy for sustainability

TORONTO, Nov. 10 /CNW/ - Thought leaders from every facet of Ontario's health-science sector and all regions of the province, working together on the Ontario Bioscience Economic Strategy Team (OBEST™), today announced the initial phase of an evergreen strategy for sustainability of the province's health-sciences industry. Innovative ideas are being sought from everyone with a stake in the industry, said a spokesperson for OBEST™.

In order to achieve sustainability, OBEST™ is focusing on the coalescence of industry, academia, government, patients, capital markets and economic development, health, finance, research, and innovation in government. Principal tactics are the pursuit of commercialization, partnerships and exports, policy development and government relations.

Dr. Daniel Billen, General Manager, Amgen Canada, and Chair, OBEST Advisory Committee, said: "OBEST is a unique coalition of stakeholders in our health-science industry contributing unmatched breadth of insight and expertise to ensure sustainability and foster growth in our bioscience sector. Health-science is a key growth area in Ontario's emerging innovation economy."

Gail Garland, President & Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Bioscience Industry Organization™ (OBIO™), said: "This is an evergreen strategy framed by tight timelines. As milestones are achieved, OBEST will revisit and adjust the strategy in terms of what needs to be done next.

"With ideas flowing in from all engaged in the health science sector, the strategy will be an ongoing process of renewal and revitalization as we design it to build around the best ideas. OBEST™ wants ideas from everyone with a stake in the industry - not just from a few selected experts."

OBEST™ Advisory Committee:

  • Chair, OBEST™ Advisory Committee: Daniel Billen, Ph.D., Vice President & General Manager, Amgen Canada Inc. (Chair), Mississauga
  • Kellie Leitch, M.D., Chair/Chief of Paediatric Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Children's Hospital of Western Ontario, and Director, Health Sector MBA, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, London
  • Michael Power, Chief Executive Officer, Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute
  • Michael Cloutier, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Diabetes Association, Toronto
  • David Sculthorpe, Chief Executive Officer, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Toronto
  • Terry Cairns, Chief Information Officer, Canadian Blood Services, Ottawa
  • Gordon Surgeoner, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, Guelph 
  • Arthur S. Slutsky, M.D., Vice President Research, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto
  • Terry Donaghue, Director, Technology Transfer and Industrial Liaison, Mount Sinai Hospital and its Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto
  • Adalsteinn Brown, Ph.D., Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Research and Strategic Policy, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Toronto
  • Richard Prial, Director, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Toronto
  • Alison Paprica, Acting Director, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Toronto
  • Gio Vateri, National Health Practice Leader, IBM Consulting, Toronto
  • John Goudey, Partner, Ernst & Young (Retired), Toronto
  • Ulrich J. Krull, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Bioanalytical Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto
  • Chief Executive Officers of bioscience companies based in Ontario.

About OBEST™

OBEST™ was established 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 lead by bioscience CEOs. Each group comprises all stakeholders in Ontario's health-science industry and is responsible for economic strategy to ensure a commercially viable and competitive bioscience sector in the province.

About OBIO™

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 Members and Sponsors, among whom are Amgen Canada, AstraZeneca Canada, Eli Lilly Canada, Gowlings, HealthComm, Merck, Novartis Canada, Pfizer Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Purdue Pharma Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Rx & D and VWR.

For further information:

Cathy Carter, HealthComm: 905-338-0825