New economic strategy team to be charged with developing, guiding growth for
Ontario bioscience industry

Health and economic prosperity of Ontarians to flourish with vigorous, commercially viable life-sciences strategy

TORONTO, June 9 /CNW/ - A new economic strategy team comprising representatives of major stakeholder groups in Ontario's life-sciences sector will develop and direct a plan for robust growth and commercial viability of the province's bioscience industry. The team, Ontario Bioscience Economic Strategy Team (OBEST(TM)) is being established by Ontario Bioscience Industry Organization (OBIO(TM)), the council of chief executive officers of Ontario-based bioscience companies.

Major stakeholders in Ontario's life-sciences sector include biotechnology companies, universities and colleges, research institutes, healthcare providers and hospitals, pharmaceutical companies operating in Ontario, and the financial community. The need for an overall strategic vision, embracing all stakeholders, to promote growth and commercial viability of the province's bioscience industry emerged in 2009 from OBIO's regional and online consultations.

The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation's recently-announced new commercialization strategy provides one-time special financing of $7 million exclusively for Ontario-based bioscience companies to advance their programs for treating, diagnosing or preventing disease. OBIO's Access to Capital Committee has recommended that this money be urgently deployed to those companies. Ontario spends more than $5 billion a year on drug therapies and devices, most of which are imported.

Gail Garland, president and chief executive officer, OBIO(TM), said: "Bioscience is one industry that can move Ontario beyond its manufacturing roots to a knowledge-based economy that grows jobs, creates economic prosperity and enhances the health of Ontarians. OBEST(TM) will build on the Ontario government's initiatives to facilitate and accelerate the creation of a sustainable and productive bioscience economy."

Dr. David Young, chair, board of directors of OBIO, described OBEST(TM) as a forum for eliciting the many insights of stakeholders to advance Ontario's life-sciences sector and develop it into an economic engine for the province: "Like the innovative society referenced in a recent issue of The Economist," he added, "an innovative industry hedges its bets by having as many thoughts and thinkers as possible. This is the goal of the OBEST(TM) process."

About OBIO

Ontario Bioscience Industry Organization (OBIO(TM)) is Ontario's leading advocate for the life-science sector. A private sector, membership-based organization, OBIO(TM) 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(TM) is supported by Members and Sponsors, among whom are Amgen Canada, AstraZeneca Canada, Dalton Pharma Services, Dalton Medicinal Chemistry, The Equicom Group, Gowlings, HealthComm, Merck Frosst, Pfizer Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Purdue Pharma Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Rx & D and VWR.


For further information: For further information: Gail Garland, President & CEO, (416) 575-7805,; Cathy Carter, HealthComm, (905) 338-0825

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