Ontario Investing in Domestic Medical Technology Manufacturing To Ensure Future Preparedness

Published on May 25, 2021

Renewed Ontario Together Fund to support homegrown innovation and manufacturing to strengthen Ontario’s MedTech ecosystem

News Release

OTTAWA — The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million in Siemens Healthineers through the Ontario Together Fund. The investment will help increase production capacity of the epoc Blood Analysis System, a handheld device that can analyze oxygen levels in blood, helping clinicians make faster decisions with lab-quality results at the patient’s side. The project is expected to create 93 jobs over five years. To scale up their production capacity, Siemens Healthineers is investing over $20 million into their Ottawa facilities to increase their manufacturing output.

Innovative projects like this are why Ontario is investing an additional $50 million in the renewed Ontario Together Fund in 2021–22. The fund will continue supporting local businesses to further enhance Ontario’s domestic supply chain capacity, help us through the pandemic and ensure we are prepared for future challenges.

The renewed Ontario Together Fund will focus on supporting homegrown manufacturing and innovation to combat COVID-19 and provide other goods critical to the health, safety, and security of Ontarians beyond this pandemic under the following strategic pillars:

  1. Strengthening Ontario’s domestic manufacturing capacity;
  2. Supporting homegrown technologies and innovative solutions; and
  3. Strengthening Ontario’s MedTech ecosystem.

“The renewed Ontario Together Fund will continue to strengthen our domestic manufacturing sector, support local innovators and boost our world-class MedTech ecosystem,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Companies like Siemens Healthineers and their epoc Blood Analysis System are a perfect example of projects that can transform our ability to respond to a crisis and enhance our resilience while strengthening our health care system.”

Siemens Healthineers is a leading life sciences company and a global market leader in diagnostic imaging and services. After a highly competitive international bidding process, Siemens Healthineers selected Ottawa and Ontario as the location to increase the production capacity of the epoc Blood Analysis System, making a significant investment of $20 million into their Ottawa facilities.

Ontario’s investment in Siemens Healthineers through the renewed Ontario Together Fund is exemplary of the Fund’s new strategic pillars. This investment will help Siemens Healthineers to increase their domestic manufacturing capacity of the epoc Test Card used in the Blood Analysis System. The company will add two manufacturing lines and packaging automation and make 2.4 million cards per month. This is a 125 per cent increase in production capacity.

“We are very grateful to have received the Ontario Together Fund for our Point of Care business in Ottawa,” said Mathias Ganzmann, Vice President, Site Operations, Siemens Healthineers. “This funding will help us with our expansion plans over the coming years as we add more manufacturing capacity. This is a boost for our Ottawa employees and our work in supporting the healthcare sector and all the frontline workers doing such important work in Ontario.”

The handheld wireless device is used at a patient’s bedside — for example, for someone on a ventilator — to measure their blood gas parameters, including oxygen, carbon dioxide and pH levels, and their lung functioning. Doctors often use blood gas tests in emergency situations to help diagnose the cause of breathing difficulty. COVID-19 impacts oxygen levels in blood, and some reports indicate that patients who suffer even small drops in levels are at a heightened risk. The system streamlines testing times, which is particularly critical for caregivers overwhelmed during the pandemic. Clinicians can use the system to make faster decisions with lab-quality, real-time results in less than a minute.

Since its launch in April 2020, the Ontario Together Fund has helped businesses with innovative ideas and solutions to retool or adapt their operations to produce supplies and equipment for the health care sector and frontline workers. Some successful Ontario Together Fund recipients include:

  • Guelph-based Linamar Corp. retooled its assembly line to manufacture ventilator components to produce 10,000 Ontario-made e700 ventilators, in partnership with O-Two Medical Technologies and Bombardier.
  • An investment in Greenfield Global resulted in a major upgrade of the Johnstown, Ontario facility’s distillation technology to domestically produce over 114 million litres of specialty medical-grade alcohol annually, to be used in hand sanitizers and other applications that rely on high purity alcohol.
  • OPHARDT Hygiene Technologies Inc. expanded its facilities to manufacture soap and sanitizer dispensers in Ontario. This new capacity has helped localize and expand production, thereby increasing the supply of up to 300,000 dispensers and one million dispenser drive modules per year in Ontario.

Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. With vaccines distribution continuing to increase, hope is on the horizon. Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy provides the resources necessary to finish the battle with COVID-19, building on the government’s record investments to protect health and jobs during the global pandemic.

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