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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Welcomes Investment & Job Creation in the Life Sciences Sector

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

AstraZeneca is pleased to announce it is bringing 500 highly-skilled scientific and high-tech jobs to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in a major expansion of its research footprint in Canada. The investment will contribute to AstraZeneca’s Research & Development Hub (R&D) in Mississauga, which focuses on leading global clinical studies in areas including breast, lung and prostate cancer, COVID-19, and chronic kidney disease. It also includes the creation of a new Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease Development Hub, which focuses on rare disease research.


The decision to invest in Canada, and Ontario specifically, is a testament to the network of world-class universities, hospitals, and research centres in the GTA and southern Ontario, and the diverse scientific talent pool that exists in the region. AstraZeneca values the Ontario government’s recent introduction of the province’s first-ever life sciences strategy, as well as its commitment to grow the biomanufacturing footprint in the province and foster local innovation to improve healthcare. Additionally, the Federal government’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy further strengthens Canada’s position as a globally competitive player with an integrated research ecosystem focused on delivering the best of science and innovation.


“Our investment in the AstraZeneca R&D Hub and Alexion Development Hub will play a critical role in the development of new and innovative medicines aimed at treating, preventing and, in the future, potentially even curing complex diseases like cancer and rare diseases,” said Kiersten Combs, President, AstraZeneca Canada. “We’re pleased to see the steps that Governments at both the provincial and federal level have taken to create a more supportive environment for the biopharmaceutical industry, and although we know there is more work to do, we look forward to our continued collaboration to help improve the time for Canadian patients to access new medicines and build a more sustainable and resilient healthcare system.”


The Mississauga-based R&D Hub has doubled in size since 2019 and is currently leading more than 120 oncology and biopharmaceutical global clinical studies, involving patients in 50+ countries. From specialists in digital health and data management, to quality assurance and clinical scientists, the people filling the diverse range of new roles will all be contributing to advancing the understanding of investigational compounds that may one day become life-changing medicines for some of the most devastating conditions.


“To deliver better healthcare, it’s important to invest in our public, universal system – and it’s also important to continue rebuilding our biomanufacturing capacity and investing in research and development,” said The Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. “That’s exactly why we’re here today: we’re positioning Canada as a world leader in the sector, delivering better health outcomes for Canadians, and creating good jobs now and into the future.”


“In order to protect Canadians’ health, our government has taken every action possible to be equipped with the best tools possible. That’s why we have worked closely with companies like AstraZeneca over the years,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry of Canada. “This investment shows that our efforts and hard work in the Canadian health sector are paying off by attracting major new investments from innovative global health leaders. We’re proud to see the results of our Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, whilst creating hundreds of well-paying jobs in Mississauga.”


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“I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome this investment from AstraZeneca as they reaffirm their confidence in Ontario’s economy and our world-class workers,” said Premier Doug Ford. “While our province and the world continue to face economic uncertainty, we’re working hard to attract good-paying jobs and game changing investments from companies in a wide range of sectors including the automotive, manufacturing and life science industries.”


“Mississauga could not be more thrilled that AstraZeneca has chosen to invest and grow much-needed research and development capacity in our city,” said Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga. “Mississauga is proud to be the second largest Life Sciences hub in the country, and we are invested in the growth of this sector through our dedicated Life Sciences Strategy. I would like to thank AstraZeneca for this investment that will not only create highly-skilled jobs, strengthen innovation and R&D, but save lives through global research and the development of cutting-edge treatments for rare diseases.”


“Research in rare and ultra-rare diseases presents unique and significant challenges that require continuous innovation to deliver meaningful medicines for patients and their families,” said Christina Archer, Vice President, Development Operations and Canadian Site Head at Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease. “This milestone investment in our Development Hub is a demonstration of our commitment to rare disease patients globally, including the 3.2 million Canadians living with a rare disease, roughly two-thirds of them children.”


About AstraZeneca Canada


AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a focus on the discovery, development, and commercialization of medicines that transform lives, with a core scientific focus in the areas of Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic (CVRM) disease; Oncology; Rare Disease; Respiratory & Immunology; and Vaccine & Immune Therapies. AstraZeneca operates in more than 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.


AstraZeneca Canada employs more than 1,200 people across Canada, with the majority of its employees located at its head office and clinical research hub in Mississauga, Ontario. The company is one of Canada’s leading R&D contributors, investing $135.6M in Canadian R&D in 2021. AstraZeneca was recognized for Best Workplace Culture in 2022 by the Canadian HR Awards and has been designated a Top Employer in the GTA for nine consecutive years. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.astrazeneca.ca.


About Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease


Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease, is the group within AstraZeneca focused on rare diseases, created following the 2021 acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. As a leader in rare diseases for 30 years, Alexion is focused on serving patients and families affected by rare diseases and devastating conditions through the discovery, development and commercialization of life-changing medicines. Alexion focuses its research efforts on novel molecules and targets in the complement cascade and its development efforts on haematology, nephrology, neurology, metabolic disorders, cardiology and ophthalmology. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Alexion has offices around the globe and serves patients in more than 50 countries.

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