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Toronto's Bio-Medical Boom

Insulin, 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.