“The diverse talent that we are able to attract from the City of Mississauga (Ontario) from within the biomedical engineering community is important to us… The diversity of some of the employees is another asset to the organization — the multi-languages and the multicultural environments that these people have worked within,” says Antonia Wells, president of Merge OEM of Merge Healthcare Inc.
Mississauga has demonstrated the capability to attract, train, and retain skilled workers in the life sciences sector as it is surrounded by some of Ontario’s finest, postsecondary institutions including the University of Toronto Mississauga, which offers one of the few Master of Biotechnology degrees in Canada, in addition to a Master of Innovation Management; it is also home to the Academy of Medicine.
Paul Lucas, president and CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Inc. (Canada), says faculty at the University of Toronto Mississauga “really became strategic about how they [could] work with the life sciences industry sector by creating the talent and creating the academic infrastructure to support this sector.”
Over the last two years, Mississauga has experienced substantial growth in this sector. GSK expanded its facility in Mississauga to increase its manufacturing capabilities with a $23 million investment. Biovail expanded its head office function in Meadowvale. In fact, Gilead Sciences, Talecris Biotherapeutics, and King Pharmaceuticals — all new to Canada — opened Canadian head offices in Mississauga. Amgen moved into its new 125,000-square-foot office building in Meadowvale Business Park. Amorfix also moved into its new facility in the city, while Patheon is currently in the process of expanding its manufacturing facility.
“We require access to large pharmaceutical companies, mid-size biotech companies, and small startup companies because we service a lot of those clients with our capabilities, skills, and know-how. Having those companies located here in this cluster makes it a tremendously valuable to be located in Mississauga,” says Thomas Wellner, president and CEO of Therapure Biopharma Inc., a new Canadian biopharmaceutical company, which has expanded its services in Mississauga. Mark Jones, president and CEO of AstraZeneca Inc., sums it up: “Mississauga is perfectly placed; it’s in Ontario, one of the biggest provinces in terms of population…its geographic location near academic institutions is incredibly important…we’re very close to our neighbors south of the border…transportation is very simple and easy…and the Mississauga community has a very good attitude to supporting business.”