Canada’s Cost Competitive Clinical Trials

canada's clinical trials moving start-up relocate to canada perspective
Canada has an efficient regulatory process that fosters the prompt launch of clinical trials.
Canada offers an efficient and responsive regulatory system for clinical trials that is also cost competitive. Canada has multiple mechanisms in place to expedite clinical trial set-up time.
These include efficient regulatory review processes, a patient enrolment process aided by numerous Canadian research networks, efficient clinical trial monitoring, and collaborative industry, government and academic partners.
Canada has an efficient regulatory process that fosters the prompt launch of clinical trials. Set-up times are among the best in the world. Health Canada targets a 30-day review of clinical trial applications. In 2013, Health Canada achieved 99% of their target for all applications received.
Canada has several large research networks that provide an effective way to rapidly access investigators, sites and patients across the country via a coordinated approach.  Canada is a leader in the Life Sciences Tech sector.
These include NCIC Clinical Trials Group, Canadian HIV Trials Network, Maternal Infant Child & Youth Research Network, Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Network, Canadian Cardiovascular Research Network, Network of Networks, BC Clinical Research Infrastructure Network, and Alberta Clinical Research Consortium.
Trial sites are close to Canada’s major population areas as well as to most of those in the US. The Canadian population is clustered around the Canada/US border, with 75% of Canadians living within 160 km of the border, and 90% of the population living within 200 km of the border 1.
Similarly, many if not most of the largest population centers in the US are located near the Canadian border 2 .
This mutual proximity leads to more efficient trial management by significantly reducing the travel burden and cost when monitoring and inspecting multiple sites for trials conducted in both countries.
Given the large expense of designing and managing global clinical trials, an important consideration are the annual operating costs of administrating clinical trials centers, both for those business costs relating to real estate and personnel. On this,
two independent sources point to Canada’s strong competitive environment as a location in
which to establish such centers:
The Financial Times’ fDi Benchmark database 3 , an FDI tracking tool that can assess the relative competitiveness of more than 600 locations across over 65 sectors for hundreds of data points, reveals that most major Canadian cities are sig- nificantly more affordable to establish and run clinical trials centers than their American and European key
As well, KPMG’s ‘Competitive Alternatives 2014’ 4, an annual report that compares business costs and other competitive- ness factors in more than 100 cities in ten major countries and over a 10-year horizon, puts Canada as 15.9 points ahead of the U.S.
on business costs engaged by a representative operation modeled on a clinical trials management firm.
Building on already competitive labour and facility costs, the Canadian government has
established major grants that support companies who perform their research and development activities in Canada. These grants are administered through major
government granting agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the National Research Council (NRC).
The Canadian government has established tax credits which are awarded to companies that conduct research and development activities. The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SRED) tax incentive program can amount to tax credits of 15% to 20%, and/or refund for a company’s expenditures spent on eligible research and development work conducted in Canada 5.
Additionally, Canadian provinces also provide additional tax credits specific to research
and development conducted in their territory. The overall tax savings of the SRED program is between 15% and 32% (includes federal and provincial tax credits) depending on the province.
1 National Geographic website,
(accessed 9 October 2014).
BBC website.
stm (accessed 9 October 2014).
fDi Benchmark from the Financial Times
Ltd 2014,
KPMG Source: http://www.
Canadian Revenue Agency website,
(accessed 22 September 2014).