500 new skilled workers on way to Mississauga to help find cures for cancer, other diseases


Published February 27, 2023 at 2:42 pm

Justin Trudeau -

Some 500 new “highly-skilled scientific and high-tech jobs” are coming to Mississauga to help with research into better treatments, and even cures, for various types of cancer, chronic kidney disease, COVID-19 and a number of rare illnesses.

Mississauga-based biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Canada hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and numerous other dignitaries at a press conference this afternoon (Feb. 27) to announce it’s bringing the hundreds of skilled workers to the city as part of a “major expansion of its research footprint in Canada.”

Company officials say the major investment will contribute to AstraZeneca’s Research and Development Hub operations in Mississauga. The R&D hub focuses on leading global clinical studies in areas including breast, lung and prostate cancer, COVID-19 and chronic kidney disease.

The plan also includes the creation of a new hub that will focus on research into rare diseases. It will be called the Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease Development Hub.

AstraZeneca global officials say the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant’s decision to invest in Canada, specifically Mississauga, is a “testament  to the network of world-class universities, hospitals and research centres in the GTA and southern Ontario, and the diverse scientific talent pool that exists in the region.”

Furthermore, company officials note, both Ontario and Canada have proven to be supportive of the type of science and research activities needed to make progress in the battle against various diseases.

“Our investment in the AstraZeneca R&D Hub and Alexion Development Hub will play a critical role in the development of new and innovative medicines aimed at treating, preventing and, in the future, potentially even curing complex diseases like cancer and rare diseases,” said Kiersten Combs, AstraZeneca Canada president. “We’re pleased to see the steps that governments at both the provincial and federal level have taken to create a more supportive environment for the biopharmaceutical industry, and although we know there is more work to do, we look forward to our continued collaboration to help improve the time for Canadian patients to access new medicines and build a more sustainable and resilient health-care system.”

Trudeau said the massive expansion in Mississauga couldn’t be more timely.

He told the gathering that Mississauga, Ontario and Canada have the “talent and expertise” within the scientific community to make great strides.

“To deliver better health care, it’s important to invest in our public, universal system – and it’s also important to continue rebuilding our biomanufacturing capacity and investing in research and development,” said Trudeau. “That’s exactly why we’re here today: we’re positioning Canada as a world leader in the sector, delivering better health outcomes for Canadians and creating good jobs now and into the future.”

Mississauga’s research and development hub has doubled in size since 2019 and is currently leading more than 120 oncology and biopharmaceutical global clinical studies, involving patients in more than 50 countries, AstraZeneca officials said.

“From specialists in digital health and data management, to quality assurance and clinical scientists, the people filling the diverse range of new roles will all be contributing to advancing the understanding of investigational compounds that may one day become life-changing medicines for some of the most devastating conditions,” the company said in a news release.

Crombie said the advancements in research Monday’s announcement will potentially lead to could impact numerous people in positive ways.

Mississauga is proud to be the second-largest life sciences hub in the country, and we are invested in the growth of this sector through our dedicated Life Sciences Strategy,” said Crombie.

She added the massive investment “will not only create highly-skilled jobs and strengthen innovation and R&D,” but it will save lives through global research and the development of cutting-edge treatments for rare diseases.

Ford described the move as a game-changing investment in both Ontario and Mississauga, while also noting the potential health benefits to many people.

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