Roche Canada Puts Five-Year Plan into Motion to Create 500 New Jobs in Ontario

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Roche Canada is making a $500 million investment to expand its Canadian pharmaceutical headquarters in Ontario, which the company said will bring up to 500 new full-time jobs to the region over the next five years.

The new initiative will go toward establishing a Global Pharma Technical (PT) Operations site at Roche’s headquarters located in Mississauga, Ontario. According to a statement, Roche plans to hire 200 skilled jobs by the end of 2020 plus another 300 by the end of 2023.

“Ontario was selected for this investment based on a strong competitive business environment, exceptional talent pool, and a government committed to fostering growth in the sector,“ Ronnie Miller, president and CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals, Canada, said in a statement.

While the five-year plan will provide a new addition to its headquarters, the operations center itself will not manufacture drugs but will support operations and supply at 13 plants and 11 sites across the globe.

“Roche’s new operation hub in Mississauga will further anchor Ontario’s position as a global leader in life sciences, create good-paying jobs in the community,” added Ontario Premier Doug Ford, “and ensure Ontario’s best and brightest minds advance the important work Roche does to transform health care here in our province and beyond.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a statement that this new investment from Roche will help aid in the “road to recovery” following the pandemic’s impact on the economy.

“As home to Canada’s second-largest life sciences sector, I couldn’t be more proud that Roche has chosen to expand its operations in Mississauga,” Crombie said. “This investment will help bring new innovative products to patients in Canada and around the world and is yet another example of how innovation thrives in Mississauga.”

While the projected jobs growth associated with this investment is welcomed news for job seekers in Canada, workers at the company’s Irish site have experienced a starkly contrasting experience. Roche announced last year that it would lay off up to 132 workers at its site in Clarecastle, Ireland. Approximately €24 million was saved for employees who remained at the company. Additionally, Roche said it will close the doors on its production plant in Rio de Janeiro over the next four to five years, placing approximately 440 full-time jobs and 200 contracting positions on the line.

News of the Canadian investment follows the global drug maker’s recent flop of its rheumatoid arthritis treatment, Actemra, for the treatment of pneumonia associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Phase III COVACTA study. The study, launched by Roche subsidiary Genentech, failed to meet its primary and secondary endpoints in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The company said it will continue to study Actemra in the setting of COVID-19 to see if it has any benefit for other settings or in combination with other therapies.

Roche has also recently partnered with Regeneron to produce and commercialize REGN-COV2, a COVID-19 antibody cocktail, which is under review by the FDA for an emergency use authorization for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. The cocktail comprises two non-competing antibodies that may neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. Early data published in late September show that the cocktail helped non-hospitalized patients recover faster from the disease. Most recently, Trump received eight grams of REGN-COV2, despite the lack of authorization for the treatment.

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