AstraZeneca investment reinforces Ontario’s leadership in clinical research

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca recently announced plans to significantly expand its research operations in Ontario and create 500 new highly skilled jobs in the province’s life sciences sector.

The investment will accelerate the development of therapeutic drugs and vaccines through the creation of a new Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease Development Hub, and expansion of the AstraZeneca’s Research & Development Hub, which focuses on leading global clinical studies in areas including breast, lung and prostate cancer, COVID-19, and chronic kidney disease.

Kiersten Combs, President, AstraZeneca Canada
Kiersten Combs, President, AstraZeneca Canada

In its press release, AstraZeneca notes that its decision to invest in Ontario is a testament to the province’s network of world-class universities, hospitals, and research centres, and diverse scientific talent pool. Ontario is Canada’s hub for health research with Canada’s largest concentration of clinical trial sites, including 19 of Canada’s top 40 research hospitals.

In addition, AstraZeneca noted the importance of the Ontario government’s recent introduction of the province’s first-ever life sciences strategy, and the Federal government’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, which strengthens Canada’s position as a globally competitive research ecosystem.

“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.”

For the past ten years, AstraZeneca Canada has been among the leading pharmaceutical companies conducting trials in Ontario and a vital contributor to Ontario’s thriving life sciences sector. AstraZeneca is currently working on 174 active clinical studies involving 2,800 patients and their Ontario site is leading 100+ clinical studies worldwide.

Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, and Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Doug Ford
Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, and Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Doug Ford

Clinical Trials Ontario was proud to attend the announcement, where government leaders shared remarks including Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, and Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Doug Ford.

“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 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.”

“The milestone investment by AstraZeneca Canada recognizes Ontario as a global destination for conducting high-quality research and clinical trials. On behalf of Clinical Trials Ontario, we look forward to our continued partnership with AstraZeneca Canada and Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease, to remain on the forefront of advancing clinical trials that will determine better treatments for future patients here at home and globally,” said Susan Marlin, President and CEO, Clinical Trials Ontario.

Read the press release from AstraZeneca Canada here and watch full announcement here:

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