A recent study carried out by UHN's McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health (MRC) proves that collaboration between health biotech companies and developing countries is a win-win situation. Co-authors Dr. Halla Thorsteinsdóttir and Monali Ray explain why:

Q: What are some of the misconceptions of partnerships with developing countries?

One is that collaborating with developing countries won't strengthen Canadian innovation. The opposite is true. Collaboration is heavily based on research and developmental activities that take advantage of each others expertise and strengths. Another misconception is that the knowledge contributions are predominantly made by Canadian firms. Developing countries are not simply at the receiving end of the partnerships. They are active contributors in product development.


Q: It seems obvious that biotech firms can benefit from partnering in terms of market reach and distribution networks. What's in it for developing countries?

Developing countries gain access to expertise relevant for developing new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. Canadian

firms can also offer experience in product innovation, conducting clinical trials, and have a mature system geared to regulate innovation in this field. We are also close to the US, which has a huge biotech market.
Q: What are the top three things to consider when collaborating with a developing country?

  1. Leverage your partners' competitive strengths. For example, nearly half of the Canadian firms' collaboration in research activities is with Indian partners; nearly half of Canadian firms' collaborations in manufacturing-related activities are with Chinese partners.
  2. Seek collaborations that minimize development costs. Product development in health biotech is expensive — partnerships with southern partners can help Canadian firms weather a challenging economic climate.
  3. Streamline your product output. Almost 90 percent of the collaboration initiatives reported some form of joint output—they are very productive.


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