Toronto Region Research Alliance

Why do health care companies choose Toronto Region for their commercial operations? Chemist Edward B. Shuttleworth established Canada’s first major pharmaceutical operation in Toronto in 1879. From these early beginnings, the Toronto Region is now one of the largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology clusters in North America. Twenty-five of the top 50 global pharmaceutical companies have Canadian headquarters in the Toronto Region.

Toronto Region Research Alliance
Jan 13, 2010

Why do health care companies choose Toronto Region for their commercial operations?


Chemist Edward B. Shuttleworth established Canada’s first major pharmaceutical operation in Toronto in 1879. From these early beginnings, the Toronto Region is now one of the largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology clusters in North America. Twenty-five of the top 50 global pharmaceutical companies have Canadian headquarters in the Toronto Region. Dozens of medium and small companies are located in the region.

Why choose the Toronto Region? The reason is simple – the specialized expertise and services to run commercial operations are right here.

In addition to an experienced workforce of close to 40,000 people, there are more than 170 companies that provide specialized services for the health care, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. All the essential functions are here: research, clinical, manufacturing, sales and sales operations, marketing and market research, supply chain management, regulatory, and market access.

Contract research Sixty...


Chemist Edward B. Shuttleworth established Canada’s first major pharmaceutical operation in Toronto in 1879. From these early beginnings, the Toronto Region is now one of the largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology clusters in North America. Twenty-five of the top 50 global pharmaceutical companies have Canadian headquarters in the Toronto Region. Dozens of medium and small companies are located in the region.

Why choose the Toronto Region? The reason is simple – the specialized expertise and services to run commercial operations are right here.

In addition to an experienced workforce of close to 40,000 people, there are more than 170 companies that provide specialized services for the health care, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. All the essential functions are here: research, clinical, manufacturing, sales and sales operations, marketing and market research, supply chain management, regulatory, and market access.

Contract research Sixty contract or clinical research organizations (CROs) are located in the Toronto Region. These firms provide pre-clinical studies, study design, regulatory, patient monitoring, site management, biostatistics, data management, bio-analytical and medical writing services to meet the sector’s needs.

Manufacturing More than 30 contract manufacturing companies supply active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients, and perform custom synthesis, purification and analysis. Packaging services for liquid, semi-solid and solid products include: site licenses and cGMP/ISO certification, encapsulation, tableting, blending, blistering, bottling, shrink wrapping, labeling, card sealing, cartoning, lot and date coding. Manufacturers also produce regular or small runs, first runs, pilot batches and experimental runs as well as packaging for clinical trials.

Physician education and training Two dozen suppliers develop and manage continuing health education (CHE)/continuing medical education (CME) symposia and events for the industry.

Global logistics and distribution Integrated firms manage the unique requirements associated with the acquisition and transport of chemicals and temperature- controlled ingredients and products. Sector-specific services include cold chain storage and delivery, clinical trial supply logistics, and reverse logistics. Wholesale and retail channels are well-developed.

Health care marketing The industry calls upon an extensive range of marketing, advertising and communications firms that specialize in prescription, overthe- counter and direct-to-consumer products. Graphic design, illustration, photography, direct mail, market research, and professional publication services are also available.

Exceptional research infrastructure The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry also benefits from a wide range of clinical, research and educational resources in the Toronto Region. It is home to one of North America’s largest health sciences complexes, with more than 60 hospitals, 37 medical institutions, 8,200 physicians and 54,000 health professionals. The University of Toronto and McMaster University medical schools have 12 affiliated research hospitals.

The pharmaceutical sector in Toronto has come a long way since E.B Shuttleworth established the first drug company in 1879. Today, the Toronto Region is home to a sophisticated, diversified and far-reaching pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

To find out which major companies have operations in the Toronto Region and learn more about sector-specific resources, visit: www.trra.ca/pharma

“Our Canadian headquarters and state-of-the-art manufacturing and product development facility are in the heart of the Toronto Region’s life sciences cluster. The tax situation, location and infrastructure here are favourable, and the local educational institutions have created the academic infrastructure and talent pool that support the sector.” - Paul N. Lucas, President & CEO, GlaxoSmithKline Inc. (Canada)