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Nov-2020

Biotech campus at McMaster Innovation Park billed as job creator, pandemic fighter

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Seventeen years ago this month, The Spectator quoted a consultant who predicted it would take decades for Hamilton to develop a bioscience technology sector, due to a lack of available land, and because companies weren’t knocking down the city’s door to be “anchor tenants.”

But news out of McMaster Innovation Park suggests it’s anchors aweigh for biotech in the city, with a new star tenant coming to the 14 -year-old technology and research hub off Longwood Road.

CCRM, a not-for-profit organization that develops regenerative medicine and cell and gene therapies, is partnering with MIP to build a “biomanufacturing campus.” Ground will break on the project sometime next year in a brownfield site at the corner of Aberdeen Avenue and Longwood where a Westinghouse plant facility once stood.

Michael Israels, CCRM’s chief financial officer, says the campus will be the first of its kind in the world, creating hundreds of jobs in Hamilton, and also will develop medicines that will strengthen Canada’s ability to combat future pandemics.

MIP CEO Ty Shattuck said the initial building — called a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) — will be 100,000 square feet, leading to construction employment but also ultimately 300 to 500 permanent jobs.

Israels cautioned that it is still early days in the partnership; a news release from CCRM highlighted that a “letter of intent” between the parties to go forward with the vision has been signed. MIP needs to secure funding from private sources, and CCRM from federal and provincial levels of government. The total development is projected to cost upwards of $250 million.

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