Business – Key Industries – Ag-Bio & Life Sciences – BioSaskatoon
The Saskatoon Bio Life Science and Agriculture/Food sector.
Saskatoon is home to the University of Saskatchewan and Innovation Place which are the hub of the Bio sciences research cluster. With 20,000 students and over a thousand faculty, the Saskatoon Campus is the largest university in the province. The University is home to seven accredited colleges in life sciences: Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Kinesiology and Agriculture and Bioresources. The university is primarily a teaching school but it is also rich in world class research such as inventing the first calibrated cobalt-60 unit for cancer radiotherapy treatment.
Research on campus is promoted through research institutes which are mostly joint ventures between the University, Government and the private sector. Over a dozen such institutes provide world class research on everything from feeds to human vaccines. The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) alone holds 90 patents and has 7 vaccines in commercial use. Academic and private sector scientists have access to world class facilities like the Canadian Light Source, Canada’s syncrotron. Over 250 varieties of grains and oil seeds have been developed at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, the Crop Development Center or the Agriculture Canada Research Station. The bio industry in Saskatoon is represented by Ag West Bio.
In addition to research institutes a group of support companies dealing primarily with analytic services have evolved around the cluster. These analytic laboratories can provide everything from the most basic proximate analayses to testing on BSE.
As a result of this Research and Development capability a series of private sector companies have evolved based on these capabilities. Companies such as Bioriginal and Phenomenome originated with local enterpreneurs. Other companies like BioExx and Linnaeus came to Saskatoon as start-ups, recognizing the capabilities in Saskatoon. Finally because of the Ag biotechnology capabilities, several multinational companies like Dow AgroSciences and Novozymes have located major operations in Saskatoon.
Finally, one of the outcomes of bioresearch is FOOD. Saskatoon has a flourishing food processing industry focusing on meat processing, grain milling and oilseed crushing. This industry employs over 3000 people and is supported by R&D groups on campus like the Food Products Development Center and the POS Bio-Sciences processing Center. The food processing industry in Saskatchewan is promoted by the Saskatchewan Food Processors Association