Canada in global value chains

Canada becoming an increasing part of the global pharmaceutical value chain

The global pharmaceutical sector has been undergoing major restructuring to improve R&D productivity and take advantage of emerging markets. As a result, the global business model for pharmaceuticals has been changing with an increasing emphasis on partnerships with the health research communities, investments in leading-edge biotechnology firms and more contracting out of both R&D and manufacturing.

Canada is benefiting from this new business model because the country:

  1. has a global reputation for excellence in scientific research, including strengths in biologics and genomics research;
  2. is one of the leading locations for clinical trials;
  3. has one of the biggest biopharmaceutical industry pipeline of products under development;
  4. has a strong pharmaceutical industry footprint; and
  5. is an increasing source of expertise for contract services.

As a result of these Canadian strengths, global pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms have increased their investments in academic-industry translational initiatives, and continue to rely on Canada for a large portion of their clinical trials activity. These companies are pursuing opportunities for additional investments in their internal Canadian operations (brownfield R&D and manufacturing). They are also strengthening their investments in both Canadian biopharmaceutical firms and the Canadian operations of contract research organizations and contract manufacturers. The opportunities for these different types of investments are primarily in the areas of biologics (both product development and technology platforms), plasma and vaccines, but they extend to niche opportunities in the more traditional chemical-based pharmaceuticals including generics, small lots and over-the-counter manufacturing.

For Canada, global restructuring and greater emphasis on global value chains involving more partnerships and outsourcing across a range of pharmaceutical activities are seen as opportunities both for foreign and domestic investors.