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Island investment:
P.E.I bioscience cluster getting a $2.8-M boost

Novartis Animal Health Canada Inc. has announced a $2.8-million investment in its research and development (R&D) facilities in Victoria on Prince Edward Island.

“Innovation and long-term sustainable growth are shared priorities for Novartis and the government of Prince Edward Island,” Dr. Riad Sherif B., president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., said in a press release. “(This) announcement was made possible by the government’s commitment to leading and advancing its life sciences industry now and into the future. We look forward to continuing to grow our Novartis presence on the Island.”

The expansion of the Novartis facility in Victoria will take place in two phases over the coming months and into 2012. The first phase will provide new state-of-the-art laboratory space; the second, increased office and meeting space. Fourteen new employees have already been hired to support bolstered R&D activity. The investment will aid Novartis’ capabilities in vaccine and novel pharmaceutical drug development focused on the aquaculture industry.

“We are proud to be working with Novartis as it continues to invest in and expand its Island operations, and employ more than 95 individuals,” P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz noted. “The addition of new laboratories and office space in Victoria means more jobs, a stronger economy and significant research contributions for the sustainability of our fisheries.”

In addition to the research and development plant located in Victoria, Novartis has three locations in the Charlottetown area, two for product development and one housing vaccine production. Novartis recently completed the second phase of expansion at its Charlottetown facilities.

Bioscience is one of four sectors targeted for investment and development in the Prince Edward Island government’s Island Prosperity Strategy. Since 2009, the government says, the bioscience sector has increased revenues to $78 million and added 200 full-time positions.

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