How Ontario is planning to solve the antibiotic resistance crisis
Public health agencies around the world have identified antimicrobial resistance as one of the most critical public health challenges we are facing today.
According to Ramanan Laxminarayan, health economist and professor, “It has been a long time since people died of untreatable bacterial infections and the prospect of returning to that world is worrying.”
In light of these events, the city of Ontario, Canada is awarding a total of $209 million to support innovative research projects and top talent at leading research institutions across the province.
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The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment Infrastructure is primarily investing in the antibiotic research that is being led by Dr. Gerard Wright at McMaster University.
Dr. Wright has chosen to take a two-pronged approach for his research, being:
1. The direct study of the molecular mechanisms of bacterial antibiotic resistance using chemical biology and chemical genetics.
2. The identification of new antibiotics and new antimicrobial strategies.
There are 280 research projects that will be awarded—chosen based on their research excellence and their economic and societal benefits for Ontario.
The awards include:
Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence: $65 million to support globally significant and transformational projects, such as developing new MRI technology and better understanding antibiotic resistance.
Ontario Research Fund - Research Infrastructure: $131 million to ensure that Ontario’s research infrastructure remains competitive in attracting the world’s leading researchers.
Early Researcher Awards: $13 million to attract and retain top talent in the province and help promising researchers build their teams.
“Our capacity to compete globally depends on how well we can harness our research, innovation and entrepreneurial strengths. Through these investments, Ontario is mobilizing and preparing our researchers to succeed, compete and create the jobs of the future,” said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation in an issued press release.
Since 2005, Ontario has awarded 822 Early Researcher Awards to the province’s leading early career researchers.
Bachem turns 50 - a timeline
Bachem, a supplier to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. We take a look at the Swiss company's history.
1971 - beginnings
Bachem is founded by entrepreneur Peter Grogg in Liestal, a small town near Basel in Switzerland. Grogg started the firm with just two employees, and with a focus on peptide synthesis - peptides are composed of amino acids that have a variety of functions treating health conditions such as cancer and diabetes.
1977 - 1981 - early growth
Bachem moves its headquarters to the Swiss town of Bubendorf, with eight employees. In 1978 the company produces peptides for use in medicines for the first time. In 1981 production capacity triples and the workforce grows to 150.
1987 - 1996 - worldwide expansion
The company expands into the US with Bachem Bioscience, Inc. in Philadelphia. To strengthen its presence in Europe, Bachem opens sales and marketing centres in Germany in 1988.
Further sales centres open in France in 1993. By 1995 the company employs 190 people. In 1996 it acquires the second largest manufacturer of peptides in the world and forms Bachem California with a site in Torrance.
1998 - 2003 - Bachem goes public
Bachem company goes public and lists shares on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Further acquisitions include Peninsula Laboratories, Inc, based in California, and Sochinaz SA, a Swiss-based manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients. By 2001, the company has 500 employees and sales reach 141 million CHF.
In 2003 the organisation is given a new legal holding structure to support its continued growth, which remains in place to this day.
2007 - 2013 - acquisitions
Bachem acquires a brand by Merck Biosciences for ready-to-use clinical trial materials and related services.
In 2013, together with GlyTech, Inc. Bachem announces the development of a new amino acid that can help to treat multiple sclerosis, with a world market of more than $4 billion.
In 2015 it acquires the American Peptide Company (APC), which becomes integrated into Bachem Americas.
2016 - 2019 - a global leader
In 2016 the group opens a new building dedicated to R&D projects and small series production in Bubendorf. With a total of 1,022 employees, the workforce exceeds the 1,000 mark for the first time in the company’s history. Sales are over the 200 million mark for the first time at 236.5 million CHF.
Bachem expands into Asia with the establishment of a new company in Tokyo called Bachem Japan K.K.
By 2019 Bachem has a growing oligonucleotide portfolio - these are DNA molecules used in genetic testing, research, and forensics. It is hoped this will become a significant product range in the future.
2020 - COVID-19
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bachem secures its supply of active ingredients, and even increases it in critical areas. Sales exceed the 400 million Swiss franc mark for the first time, and 272 new employees are hired.
2021 - a milestone anniversary
Bachem celebrates its 50th anniversary and position as a global leader in the manufacture of peptides. While it remains headquartered in Bubendorf, the company employs 1,500 people at six locations worldwide. In the next five years there are plans to continue expanding.
Commemorating the company's anniversary, Kuno Sommer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: "Bachem's exceptional success story from a small laboratory to a global market leader is closely linked to Peter Grogg's values, and has been shaped by innovation, consistent quality and cost awareness, as well as by entrepreneurial vision."