8 Most Famous Canadians in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Updated on January 9, 2021

Canada’s pharmaceutical industry is one of the most innovative sectors in the country. It consists of companies that manufacture generic pharmaceuticals, innovative medicines, and over-the-counter drugs. The industry also comprises of the following sub-sectors:

  • Generic drug firms
  • Brand-name pharmaceutical companies
  • Contract Research Organizations (CROs)
  • Biopharmaceutical SMEs
  • Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs)

Canada’s pharmaceutical sales have a two-percent share of the global market, making it the tenth-largest world market. Thanks to Canadians who have invested a lot in the pharmaceutical industry. Their contributions have made them famous in the industry.

Most Famous Canadians in the Pharmaceutical Industry

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most famous Canadians who have contributed a lot to Canada’s pharmaceutical industry. Some of them include Eugene Melnyk, John Wallace, and Jeff Watson. Let’s look at their journey in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Eugene Melnyk

Born in 1959, Eugene is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Canada. He has been living in Barbados since 1991. Melnyk founded a medical publishing company called Trimel Corporation in 1982 and later sold it to Thomson Publications in 1989.

Later on, Melnyk founded Biovail Corporation, a famous specialty pharmaceutical company in Canada. When he was the CEO and chairman of the company, revenues increased significantly from $19 million to around $1.067 billion in 2006.

Biovail Corporation used to reinvent drugs with expired patents using its proprietary technologies. An excellent example was to produce medicines with controlled-release features. Patients can take them once per day instead of many times.

In 2007, Eugene Melnyk retired as Biovail’s chairman when Valeant Pharmaceuticals, now Bausch Health, acquired the company. Eugene has invested a lot in sports and is the current owner and chairman of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.

Eugene Melnyk also works with many charitable organizations, including the Honorary Director of Help Us Help the Children (HUHC). You can check Eugene Melnyk’s profile to read his entire biography, including his business career and sports ventures.

  • Francis Buckley

Born in 1921, Francis Buckley was the president of Buckley’s company, Canada’s top pharmaceutical company that manufactures medicinal drugs for health problems like the common cold. They also manufacture children’s medicine under the brand Jack & Jill.

Buckley’s company is in Mississauga, Ontario, but now a subsidiary of Novartis, a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. Francis Buckley took over the company after his adoptive father died in 1978.

Since childhood, Francis had the interest to venture into the pharmaceutical industry. He managed the company’s operations until he died in 2016, but his contribution to the pharmaceutical industry made him become a highly recognizable public figure.

  • K. Thomas Bailey

Bailey served as the CEO of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, a manufacturer, developer, and marketer of local drugs and medical device technologies. He was the company’s Chief Financial Officer from 2005 to 2011, building his name.

He held various positions in many companies, such as being the Director of AgaMatrix Holdings, SCP Interventional Radiology LLC, and The Homestretch Foundation. He also served as the Director of Credit Suisse First Boston and Donaldson.

However, K. Thomas Bailey is no longer the president of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals. Victor Manual Diaz took over as the new COO and president of the pharmaceutical company. But before that, Diaz was Angiotech’s senior vice president.

Thomas has also invested heavily in Nanostring Technologies Inc, with stock worth over $821,891. As the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Nanostring Technologies, Bailey’s total compensation at the company is approximately $2.1 million.

  • John L. Wallace

Born in 1956 in Toronto, Canada, John L. Wallace is one of the country’s most popular medical scientists. He founded the Inflammation Research Network at the University of Calgary. John is also the inaugural director of the university’s Farncombe Institute.

Most importantly, John L. Wallace founded Antibe Therapeutics, a Toronto-based pharmaceutical company that develops and manufactures inflammation-reducing drugs and painkillers. Their drug production is based on the gaseous mediator technology.

John Wallace is also the co-founder of NicOx. It’s the first company to produce drugs using gaseous mediators. The company was founded in 2009 and is now listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Notably, the company’s productivity has improved steadily.

In his career, John L. Wallace centered his studies on gaseous mediators’ use on treating inflammation, specifically intestinal injury and dysfunction. He has published over 500 peer-reviewed papers. His work is among the top-cited worldwide.

  • Barzin Bahardoust

As the Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) Chief Executive Officer, Barzin has made significant contributions to Canada’s pharmaceutical industry. He has a B.A.Sc. degree in Engineering Science and M.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering.

After finishing his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto, Barzin co-founded the Canadian Plasma Resources. It’s a bio-pharmaceutical company that collects high-quality plasma from healthy donors to develop life-saving therapies.

After getting licensed by Health Canada, Barzin Bahardoust steered the establishment, regulatory approval, and three plasma collection centers in Canada. He oversaw the launch of the first plasma collection center in Saskatchewan Province.

Note that CPR is the first commercial Canadian company licensed by Health Canada to collect plasma from humans for further manufacturing. So the future looks bright for CPR. Therapies that CPR can handle include albumin, IVIG, and clotting factors.

  • Jeff Watson

As the president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Apotex, a global pharmaceutical company based in Canada, Jeff Watson has become a recognizable figure in Canada. He got appointed in 2018 and has been overseeing the company’s global workforce.

Before becoming Apotex’s president, Jeff Watson served as the Chief Operating Officer of the company. He was also the president of Global Generics, Apotex’s most extensive line of business. He offered leadership for the Commercial and Strategic Operations.

Jeff has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM). He later served as the chair in 2017 and 2018. He was an executive member of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association’s (CGPA’s) board.

  • Jonathan Ross Goodman

Jonathan Goodman is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Knights Therapeutics, a leading Canadian specialty pharmaceutical company in Montreal, Quebec. It focuses on acquiring pharmaceutical products for Canadian and select international markets.

Before founding Knight, Jonathan was the CEO at Paladin Labs, another specialty pharmaceutical company. He grew its annual revenue from $6 million to $270 million for 18 years. Later on, he sold Paladin for $3 billion and launched Knight the same day.

Jonathan plans to execute the same strategy that increased Paladin’s revenue to build Knight. That is, acquiring under-utilized medicinal drugs and selling them in the tertiary markets. He’ll also lend money to other pharmaceutical companies on a secured basis.

  • Michael Berendt

Another famous Canadian in the pharmaceutical industry is Michael Berendt, the current chief scientist and CEO of Telesta Therapeutics Inc. Before that, Berendt was the president and CEO of Aegera Therapeutics, another pharmaceutical company.

Telesta Therapeutics is a pharmaceutical company situated in Montreal, Quebec. In 2014, the company’s primary focus was to commercialize the “Mycobacterium phlei cell-wall – nucleic acid complex” (MCNA)” to treat bladder cancer.

Through Michael’s contributions, Telesta Therapeutics has become one of its kind to venture into such research. That has boosted Canada’s pharmaceutical sector.

Final Words

Canada is home to innovative scientists and investors in the pharmaceutical industry, including Eugene Melnyk, Jeff Watson, and Jonathan Goodman. These intelligent and creative Canadians have taken the country’s pharmaceuticals to the next level. With their active involvement, Canada will still rank top in the global market.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.