A non-profit organization that oversees P.E.I.'s burgeoning bioscience sector has launched a new strategic plan, setting its sights on increasing private sector revenue to $1 billion by 2030.
The P.E.I. BioAlliance co-ordinates with a cluster of business, academic, research and government organizations to help develop the Island's bioscience industry, which has seen major growth in recent years.
Oliver Technow, CEO of pharmaceutical company BioVectra and chairperson of the P.E.I. BioAlliance, said the 2021-25 strategy seeks to capitalize on that success, but also creates a clear roadmap for how to move forward.
Technow said that includes completing the construction of the first bioscience manufacturing incubator in the region.
"This is fundamental. We want to complete this as soon as possible to create the home and the hub for the Canadian biomanufacturing centre of excellence that P.E.I. is hoping to become," he said.
The bioscience sector on P.E.I. includes more than 60 companies and 2,000 employees. In 2019, private sector companies earned more than $260 million in revenue and attracted $38 million in investment.
Developing a skilled workforce
The strategy seeks to "aggressively increase" private sector revenue, employment, investment attraction, capital expenditures and spending on research and development. The hope is for companies to achieve $500 million in revenue by 2025 and $1 billion by 2030.
Technow said the strategy includes a plan to attract and develop businesses on the Island, working with provincial and municipal governments to establish industrial parks for the expansion of the bioscience industry.
But the single biggest "strategic pillar" of P.E.I. BioAlliance's plan is to develop a skilled workforce.
Part of this includes working with the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences, which offers industry-informed programming and training in the bioscience field.
"It's new-skilling, up-skilling and re-skilling," said Technow, referring to bringing new people into the field through partnerships with the region's universities but also providing more training to people already in the industry.
Technow said the industry on Prince Edward Island is "punching way, way above its weight."
He said part of the success of the industry can be attributed to consistency in the goals among businesses and government and also a clear commitment to the sector that has "never wavered" between all levels of government.
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