This Week’s Biotech Highlights

One of the reasons I started the Cross-Border Biotech Blog a year ago was that the industry in Canada was in terrible shape. In the face of a global financial crisis, biotech as an industry was attracting some attention and some bailout funding, but by July last year, 70% of Canadian biotech companies reported having under 6 months of cash remaining.

This year has started with some new, and better, data. Equicom’s year-end review shows that although several Canadian biotechs did go under, the surviving companies overall outperformed market indices. BIOTECanada updated the July survey recently as well, showing that the numbers have flipped: now only 30% of Canadian biotech companies have under 6 months’ cash.

Still, this week brought news that Jubilant (based in India) succeeded in several research collaborations with academics and big pharma, one of many reminders that these high value jobs are highly competitive. 

Kudos to the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research* (OICR), then, which lured two executives with extensive industry experience to its commercialization program.

Even with successful recruitment, there is more that needs to be doneto keep Canada’s biotech industry competitive. In Ontario, a group of biotech CEOs formed a new group called the Ontario Bioscience Industry Organization** (OBIO). OBIO consulted with CEOs province-wide and generated 5 recommendations for changes to existing provincial programs that would help these SMEs.

Implementing these recommendations would be a great step forward.

Disclosure notes:
* An Ogilvy Renault client.
**I serve as the Corporate Secretary on the Board of OBIO.

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