As home to some 700 medical technology (medtech) companies that employ more than 22,000 people and generate approximately $4 billion in revenues annually, this sector is not only contributing to the well-being of Canadians, it is also a significant contributor to the province’s economic well-being.

Leaders in technology

When you consider the global companies that manufacture in Ontario, companies like GE Healthcare and Medtronic, in addition to local success stories, such as Nordion, Theratronics, Apotex and Patheon, it is no surprise that Ontario is the epicentre of Canada’s medtech industry.

But without the groundbreaking research to support it, the business would not be as robust. With seven of the top 10 Canadian research hospitals in Ontario, it is the third largest medtech centre in North America behind Minnesota and Boston.

The process

Getting there, however, was no accident. It’s the result of focused Ontario programs and a concerted effort to invest in innovation and create a business climate that supports such endeavours.

"The Ontario Brain Institute has made significant progress in harnessing the province’s brain research expertise to translate discoveries made in the lab into products for the marketplace and services in Ontario hospitals."

Ontario has several programs which pertain specifically to the medtech sector including:

Clinical Trials Ontario is a new coordinating the framework to streamline clinical trials in the province. This initiative will lead to improved patient recruitment, shorter trial start-up times and will make Ontario a more attractive destination for industry-sponsored clinical trial investments.

The Health Technology Exchange (HTX) facilitates connections among Ontario scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into innovative medtech products that can be marketed to the world. Since 2010, HTX has approved 27 projects for funding, investing  $10.1 million into public and private commercialization projects worth $46 million, and created over 200 high quality jobs in Ontario.

Researching technology

The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) has made significant progress in harnessing the province’s brain research expertise to translate discoveries made in the lab into products for the marketplace and services in Ontario hospitals.

Ontario continues to work closely with its partners in the medtech industry.

During the 2010 Open For Business Medical Technologies Roundtable, a medtech Working Group was founded to create a discussion forum for government and the medtech community.

And this fall, Ontario Centres of Excellence and MaRS Innovation will deliver a two-year proof of principle (PoP) program for early-stage medical sciences projects. The program will stimulate effective commercialization of biomedical and life sciences research by bridging the development gap to help attract investment and development partners from industry and the venture community as well as build institutional commercialization capacity and expertise in the life sciences.

Looking forward

Ontario is already a leader in medtech research, development and commercialization and a continued focus on this important sector will create robust, skilled local employment and contribute to innovative healthcare delivery on a provincial, national and international scale.