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Brazil’s Biolab Farmacêutica's Opens R&D Center in Mississauga, Ontario

Brazil-based Biolab Farmacêutica recently opened its $50 million research and development centre in the Greater Toronto Area in Mississauga, Ontario.

The 13,933 square foot plant is an extension of Biolab's Brazilian R&D centre in Itapecerica da Serra, a municipality in the state of São Paulo. Founded in 1997, when it manufactured just four drugs and had a sales force of 69 employees, Biolab is now one of Brazil's largest pharmaceutical firms, specializing in prescription drugs for cardiology, dermatology, gynecology, orthopedics, rheumatology and pediatrics.

Biolab has a business development office in Miami, Florida, but the new Ontario centre is its first foray into conducting research and development outside of Brazil.

The Mississauga centre will initially be staffed with 16 to 20 specialists, primarily scientists and pharmaceutical specialists. Paulo Wickbold Marques, Head of Canadian Operations for Biolab Pharma Canada, says the number of employees will likely reach 50 or 60 within five years.

"We regularly look for partners in various sectors, from other pharmaceutical companies to academia, laboratories, international research centres and multinationals, and it was apparent from the beginning that Ontario, and the Greater Toronto Area in particular, was going to be an excellent place to establish relationships," says Wickbold.

"From the get-go, everybody involved was extremely helpful: boards of trade, the Ontario Investment Office, City of Mississauga and the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce.”

Toronto Global was instrumental as well, says Wickbold. "They were our first contact with Canada, and they were able to recommend the service providers we needed, like legal firms and accountants."

"We went straight to Ontario," says Wickbold. "Once we discovered what Ontario and the GTA were doing to make sure the area became a life sciences hub, and we met people and toured facilities like MaRS and the University of Toronto, the region started to make a lot of sense."

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