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Biotech and Life Sciences

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person holding a petri dish with a leaf

The Waterloo Region is well-positioned to experience further growth of the Life Sciences sector. This sector has recorded significant local investment in recent years (biotechnology, medical, environmental sciences). New medical and biological technology research institutes have been established. The competitive advantage for the sector in the Waterloo Region is its close proximity to the U.S. market, the presence of leading-edge research facilities, an educated local workforce, and generous R&D tax credits.

Applied Health Informatics in Waterloo Region

The stakeholders

Areas of strength include: bioinformatics, bio-products, health informatics, informatics applications, pharmaceutical and medical applications, alternative clean energy and fuels, agricultural biotechnology, physical engineering and pure research. Waterloo Region is also home to the Regional Innovation Network for Public Health, located in the David Johnston Research + Technology Park. Waterloo Region is home to the Guelph-Waterloo Biotechnology Cluster, a consortium comprising government, academic and industry.

Canada leads the world in biotechnology firms per capita, with Ontario home to more than half the country's brand-name pharmaceutical and medical device industries, and almost half the medical biotechnology industry. Ontario has North America's 3rd largest regional concentration of biotechnology firms and is 6th largest in revenues earned.

Research and Development

There is significant Life Science R&D activity in the Waterloo Region: University of Waterloo Institute for Biotechnology and Molecular Biology; the Biotechnology Research Centre; Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology; Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research; and the Centre for Applied Health Research at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU).

The University of Waterloo spends one fifth of its Research & Development budget on biotechnology.

Resource Documents

Waterloo Region/Guelph Biotech

UW School of Pharmacy Success Story

Canada's Competitive Advantages - Medical Devices (2014)

Canada's Competitive Advantages - Biopharmaceuticals (2014)