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July 13, 2012
For immediate release

Inauguration of new $2.8-million research facility a major step forward for Prince Edward Island's bioscience cluster

Innovation and Advanced Learning

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The completion of a new $2.8-million research facility at the Aqua Health division of Novartis Animal Health in Victoria is a major step forward for Prince Edward Island’s growing bioscience cluster, Premier Robert Ghiz said at a ceremony inaugurating the facility today.

“These new laboratories and other investments by Novartis in additional manufacturing and administrative space and new jobs are important milestones in our efforts to have our bioscience cluster contribute even more to the economy of Prince Edward Island,” said Premier Ghiz. “The particular work being done by Novartis in developing vaccines to improve the efficiency and quality of fish farming is expected to also have an important impact on our fisheries, and those around the world. I congratulate Novartis on completing this important project.”

The Premier was joined by senior officials of Novartis from Canada and internationally to inaugurate the new research facilities where Novartis is developing new vaccines to be used worldwide in the growing industry of fish farming. Along with constructing its state-of-the-art labs, Novartis Aqua Health has also expanded its office and meeting space and last year hired 14 new research employees. The total addition to the facility is approximately 900 square metres (9,600 square feet).

“Novartis is pleased to add to its investments in Prince Edward Island thanks to the government’s commitment to building a strong life sciences industry here,” said Dr. Riad Sherif, Head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. and Country President. “The investments that Novartis has made over the last few years in PEI demonstrates its strong commitment to innovation and underscores that the Animal Health business is a key part of our business in Canada. We look forward to continuing to build our presence on the Island and to continuing our work in collaboration with the government,” concluded Dr. Sherif.

Over the past several years, Novartis Animal Health has invested more than $13 million in its PEI facilities, including a new vaccine manufacturing plant adjacent to the original facility in Charlottetown (which itself has been renovated and expanded) and the purchase of another building in the West Royalty Business Park that has been converted into a warehouse and distribution centre.

“Our PEI research and development facility is at the centre of our commitment to global innovation for vaccines that prevent diseases in farmed fish,” said Folkert Kamphuis, Head, Novartis Animal Health North America, who attended the ceremony. “The expansion of this vital component of Novartis Aqua Health is expected to help us maintain our competitive advantage in innovation and more specifically in our Aqua business.”

The PEI site is one of five worldwide Novartis Animal Health centres for research and development. The others, in the U.S., Australia and Switzerland, focus on medicines for pets and livestock. Novartis was the first company to develop and license vaccines for infectious salmon anemia virus and infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, which are deadly to salmon and financially damaging to fish farmers. The company now has a broad range of salmonid vaccines as well as products to control sea lice.

The Novartis investment contributes to the Prince Edward Island government’s Island Prosperity Strategy that identifies bioscience as one of four strategic sectors targeted for investment and development. Since the implementation of the Island Prosperity Strategy three years ago, the bioscience sector has increased revenues to $78 million and added more than 200 full-time positions.

Media Contact: Ron Ryder
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