Toronto's Bio-Medical BoomInsulin, Pablum, dialysis, and later blood stem cells—all of these life-altering innovations were born here, in Toronto, thanks to a bio-medical sector that has always been one of the city’s greatest assets.
Indeed, contained within only a few city blocks is Toronto’s “Discovery District”—a corridor of hospitals, universities and research centres (like MaRS) that have put the city on the bio-medical map.
Toronto has the largest combined bio-medical cluster in North America, a sector that includes pharmaceuticals, medical research, biotechnology, medical devices, medical surgical supply, and medical assistive technologies. More than 80 percent of the province’s biomedical sector sits here in Toronto, where the industry employs approximately 140,000 people.
In the specialized field of biotechnology, Toronto hosts Canada’s largest cluster of 180 companies, making Toronto’s biotech sector the 4th largest in North America and among the top 10 globally.
The pharmaceutical industry employs almost 11,000 Torontonians—and that number may soon grow. Sanofi Pasteur is completing a $60 million expansion for a new vaccine research centre—the final stage in a $200 million expansion of their north Toronto facility.
Of Canada’s 1,100 medical device companies, approximately half are located in Toronto. Canada’s medical devices sector is the 7th largest in the world, and Ontario is the largest producer with over $2 billion annually.
But Toronto is perhaps best-known the world-over for its impact on research and health developments. A billion-dollar industry fuelled by thousands of scientific brains, Canada’s medical research community is the fourth largest in the world—and most of it is right here.
Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics
Outstanding R&D conducted in world-class research and innovation institutions
As documented by the Toronto Region Research Alliance, Toronto’s unparalleled research infrastructure places it among the world's top research and development (R&D) hubs. The city’s medical research community alone is the 4th largest in North America and receives $1 billion in private and public funding annually, and is supported by more than 9,000 principal researchers and technicians.
Toronto’s booming research sector—mainly contained in its Discovery District, a research hub of cutting-edge facilities all within blocks of each other—can be explained in part by the abundance of universities in the area. The region has Canada's highest concentration of post-secondary institutions, many of which are top-ranked in their respective fields. For example, the University of Toronto is ranked 13 on the world's most-cited institutions and is the only Canadian university in the top 20. Its medical school is Canada’s largest, with an annual research budget of more than $400 million.
The region's nine universities and eight colleges/institutes of technology perform two vital functions: they educate highly-skilled personnel and they generate fundamental discoveries that can be transformed into marketable products and services.
* The Toronto region ranks above many industrialized countries when it comes to the number of highly-cited scientists per million residents. The University of Toronto medical school alone is third in the world for the number of publications cited.
* Ontario university R&D has outperformed its Canadian peers for the last two decades. $6.2 billion in new government funding for post-secondary institutions over the next five years will ensure that Ontario continues to be an innovation leader.
The Future of Research is Here
More and more research centres that bring together public and private partners are springing up in the region, especially those aimed at adding value to fundamental scientific discoveries. The following are just a few recent examples:
MaRS: A state-of-the-art commercialization convergence facility that brings together capital, science and business under one roof in Toronto's downtown Discovery District.
McMaster University Innovation Park: An R&D centre similar to MaRS that will support key industrial initiatives in areas such as advanced manufacturing and nanotechnology.
Terence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomedical Research: An open
research environment that encourages R&D innovation, novel interactions and problem-solving among researchers from medicine, pharmacy and engineering at the University of Toronto.
Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics (TCP)
The Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics (TCP) is an innovative, scientific collaboration between four research hospitals to operate a centralized, state-of-the-art research-enabling facility. This joint project involving Mount Sinai Hospital, The Hospital for Sick Children, University Health Network and St. Michael’s Hospital pools resources and expertise to achieve excellence and economies of scale.
The TCP offers state-of-the-art mouse holding and facility support services to academic stakeholders and strategic private sector partners. It houses the Centre for Modeling Human Disease (CMHD) a multi-centre, integrative initiative that provides core facilities for the generation and analysis of mutant mice to the local and national community; the Canadian Mouse Mutant Repository (CMMR) a central repository for the physical archive of cryopreserved mouse ES cells, germplasm (sperm and ovaries), embryos, tissues and DNA generated by Canada’s thriving mouse genome effort; and the Mouse Imaging Centre (MICe), a unique resource combining the latest state-of-the-art optical and digital imaging technologies for the characterization of mouse functional genomics, to provide an array of pre-clinical research services to clients. Through the modeling of disease, the TCP seeks cures and treatments in areas such as diabetes, cancer, musculoskeletal disease, neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular and renal disease, and stem cell and regenerative medicine.
For further information: 647-837-5840; http://www.phenogenomics.ca/index.html