Interview with Cleiton de Castro Marques, president of BIOLAB Pharmaceutical

BIOLAB Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest laboratories in Brazil, inaugurated a Research and Development Centre in Mississauga in the metropolitan area of Toronto last October. BIOLAB invested around 56 million Canadian dollars (about 140 million reals) on its first overseas unit and also received 2.8 million Canadian dollars from the Ontario government for research and development.

The inauguration ceremony of the Brazilian company was attended by countless Canadian and Brazilian guests including the Minister of Finance for Ontario, Charles Souza, the Mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie and the Brazilian Consul-General in Toronto, Ambassador Ana Lélia Benincá Beltrame.

The president of BIOLAB, Cleiton de Castro Marques, who also heads the Pharmaceutical Industry Union, granted an exclusive interview to Brazilian Wave at the event.

Wave – What is the outlook in the international market for a sector as highly regulated and competitive as that of innovative medicines?
Marques – Innovation is part of the pharmaceutical industry. The demanding regulatory requirements are part of this environment and are important as they indicate not only quality medicines, but above all safety.

Wave – What are the main reasons that led BIOLAB to choose Canada?
Marques – Before arriving in Canada, we were in contact with other R & D countries, we went to the USA, Switzerland, and Belgium. We had decided to go to New Jersey when we were introduced to the Canadian program. The receptivity to our project and the commitment by the authorities was undoubtedly the great differential. Firstly, the embassy staff who gave us a great deal of support, followed by the local authorities. The innovative environment that we came across in the visits we made greatly encouraged us. It is also important to highlight the financial contribution that we have been granted.

Wave – What are BIOLAB’s future plans in Canada?
Marques – Initially, we will work only with R & D, but our next plan is to install a production unit, to manufacture products developed for the Canadian market which are also to be able to comply with other highly regulated markets.

Wave – How many professionals will be hired for the Mississauga unit? Are you expecting to hire Brazilian professionals living in Canada?
Marques – At the end of the first year we should have around 60 professionals. As it is an extremely specialized line of work, this number should reach a maximum of 80 professionals. Some Brazilians have already been hired, but the most important aspect is the professional qualification. We will also use it as a training and qualification platform for our researchers from Brazil.

Wave – What are the main projects that are going to be developed by the Centre in Canada?
Marques – Firstly, we are going to work with formulations and next we will replicate technologies that we are familiar with (Nanotechnology, orodispersible, etc.) adapting these products to regulated markets and also for radical innovations, using the structure of Toronto to carry out the clinical studies.

Wave – In addition to acting in the Commonwealth, what other markets is BIOLAB Canada planning to win over?
Marques – It would be natural for it to be the markets of North America and Europe