• Toronto Suburban Team

Key Industries in the GTA Suburbs: Life Sciences

The GTA suburbs are growing in popularity as the home for head offices for major players in a number of key industries. We are taking to the blog to examine some of the major industries that are benefiting from leasing in the GTA suburbs and why they are choosing to move away from the urban landscape.

Today, we are exploring the Life Sciences as it quickly becomes a profitable industry in the GTA suburbs. The GTA is home to Canada’s largest Life Sciences cluster with over 1,200 life sciences firms employing 140,000 people. More than 50 of the top 100 life sciences companies currently operate in the GTA. Because of the growing reputation for excellence in the industry, the GTA is seeing higher attraction rates for both private and public research and development investments.

Life Sciences Research and Development in the GTA

The GTA is home to a number of research institutes, attracting Life Sciences professionals as well as public and private industry to the area to benefit from the research and development and talent pool that comes from these institutions. These research institutes include:

York UniversityCentennial CollegeUniversity of TorontoRyerson UniversitySeneca CollegeUniversity of Ontario Institute of TechnologyHumber College

Life Sciences Sector Incentives

A number of programs have been developed to support growth and innovation in the life sciences sector, including:

Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED)

This incentive allows Canadian business of all sizes to conduct research and development leading to new, improved or technologically advanced products of processes. Businesses earn an investment tax credit of 35% up to the first $3 million of qualified expenses for SR&ED and 20% on any excess amount.

Ontario Business Research Institute Tax Credit (OBRITC)

Businesses must incur qualified expenditures in respect to scientific research and experimental development under an eligible contract with an eligible research institute. They receive will a 20% refundable tax credit for SR&ED expenditures incurred in Ontario under an eligible contract with an ERI. The maximum amount a corporation can claim is $4 million.

Life Sciences Businesses in the GTA

More than 200 companies are located in the GTA operating in the Life Science sector, including:

  • Pfizer, Mississauga

  • Novartis, Mississauga

  • GlaxoSmith

  • Kline, Mississauga

  • Astra Zeneca, Mississauga

  • Roche, Mississauga

  • Johnson & Johnson, Markham

  • Amgen, Mississauga

  • Baxter, Mississauga

  • Gamma-Dynacare, Brampton

  • Genzyme, Mississauga

  • INC Research, Mississauga

  • Patheon, Mississauga

Sample of Opportunities for the Laboratory Requirements

Investment capital that can translate research into commercial opportunities and outcomes continues to be the biggest hurdle for life sciences companies in Canada. As noted above, in an effort to meet industry needs, both federal and provincial incentives are available, such as the SR&ED program giving a tax credits to qualified expenditure for SR&ED carried out in Canada.

Although the GTA is home to Canada’s largest Life Sciences cluster with over 1,200 life sciences firms employing 140,000 people, we typically find existing laboratory buildings after being vacated are stripped as the equipment is designed for that particular use and or so specialized it’s rare the make sense of the investment.  This is not uncommon to other markets.

Our team is active with a number of Laboratory assignments and we find given the constraints to the lab use, typically ground floor flex offerings lend well for this requirement.  Good examples of assets where this took place include:

The Astra Zeneca part of facility on 1004 Middlegate

The former Clearstone / Labcorp facility at 1980 Matheson

A Valent Pharma facility in the northeast suburbs at 35 Fulton Way

Syn x Pharma lab at 1 Marmac

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