© Submitted photo
Allen F. Roach, left, P.E.I. minister of innovation and advanced learning, joined Dr. Russ Kerr, CEO, centre, Nautilus Biosciences Canada and chair of the P.E.I. BioAlliance Board of Directors, and David Campbell of Jupia Consultants, a N.B.-based economic development planning and research firm, for the release of the P.E.I. Bioscience Cluster Economic Impact Analysis.
While its tag line may be ‘Next Generation Prosperity’, an economic analysis of the P.E.I. Bioscience Cluster suggests the relatively new economic sector is already having a profound impact on the Island’s economy.
The report, released this week by the P.E.I. BioAlliance, was carried out by David Campbell of Jupia Consultants, a New Brunswick-based economic development planning and research firm, with funding provided by the Government of Canada.
The report confirms that the bioscience sector has become an important growth engine for the P.E.I. economy, with an average increase in economic output of 33 per cent per year since 2006, reaching $188.3 million in industry output in 2012.
The bioscience sector now rivals the banking sector and the accommodations and food services sector in terms of contribution to the province’s GDP, at 2.7 per cent. The largest industry sector in the province is agri-food at just over 10 per cent of provincial GDP.
The bioscience sector payroll associated with over 1,700 direct and induced jobs was $91.9 million in 2012, the year assessed by the study. The average wage was over $54,000, the highest of all provincial economic sectors except for the public administration sector. The report noted that in 2012 the sector paid personal income tax, sales taxes, property taxes, and other indirect taxes totalling over $29 million.
Dr. Russ Kerr, CEO of Nautilus Biosciences Canada, and chair of the P.E.I. BioAlliance Board of Directors, said that it is important to have this first complete economic analysis of the P.E.I. cluster in hand.
“From day one, the BioAlliance has been a close collaboration among business leaders, research, academic organizations, and government agencies. It’s gratifying to all partners that the investment of public and private sector resources is achieving the desired results,” said Kerr. “We’ve passed the ‘emerging sector’ stage.”
Exports of bioscience–related products like pharmaceuticals, vaccines, natural health products and diagnostic chemicals rose 147 per cent since 2004, whereas merchandise exports from all other sectors increased by 39 per cent over the same period. Bioscience product exports now represent 7.1 per cent of all merchandise exports.
On a per capita basis, Prince Edward Island now places second or third in the country in pharmaceutical manufacturing and organic chemistry manufacturing respectively.
Prince Edward Island also ranks well above the national average in terms of the number of biologists and chemists per 10,000 of labour market. The report notes that the P.E.I. Bioscience Cluster is attracting new companies, capital, and skilled talent to the province. From 2010 to 2012, the 38 cluster companies across the province from Souris to Summerside attracted over $54 million in private sector capital to grow their businesses.
This is a key metric, said Rory Francis, executive director of the BioAlliance.
“Business financing from our government partners like Innovation P.E.I. and ACOA is vital for early stage companies and common infrastructure projects, but it’s companies’ ability to attract private capital that is the fuel for further market expansion, revenue generation, and job growth. We’re attracting more businesses to P.E.I. because this partnership helps them succeed.”
The report noted that Prince Edward Island needs growth sectors to strengthen its economic performance and provide the tax base to support public investment in health, education and infrastructure.