Gilead sciences in canada, pioneering canadian innovation in biopharmaceuticals.

Gilead Sciences in Canada: Pioneering Canadian Innovation in Biopharmaceuticals

Health and Life Sciences
Published On
June 15, 2023

Gilead Sciences Canada has established itself as a key player in the biopharmaceutical industry, well known for its involvement in creating therapies that deliver curative results in Hepatitis C, treat and prevent HIV, COVID-19, and various types of cancer, including breast cancer. Led by Christophe Griolet, General Manager, Gilead Sciences Canada, they have a mission to discover, develop and deliver innovative therapeutics for people with life-threatening diseases.  


Under the leadership of Greg Klak, Vice President of Operations at Gilead Alberta, their facility garnered significant attention for helping to advance the innovation around its groundbreaking global drug used to treat metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC), Trodelvy. Notably, Alberta became the first province to provide public access to this treatment, which aims to give more life to patients with mTNBC. Around 15% of all breast cancer patients are diagnosed with this type of cancer. Gilead’s role in the creation of Trodelvy has been extremely positive and impactful to the fight against breast cancer and overall survival rates.  


Gilead Alberta has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility located in Edmonton that plays a pivotal role in the research, development, and production of active pharma ingredients (APIs). The site handles the development and scaling-up of synthetic processes for target APIs, ensuring high-quality ingredients. It serves as the backbone for some of Gilead Sciences’ most innovative global products, such as Trodelvy.  


 The site has expanded to over 370 dedicated individuals, growing from a team of around 160 employees in 2006. The remarkable growth was accompanied by major investments in infrastructure. In 2014, Gilead Alberta purchased additional land, leading to the construction of two new lab buildings in 2015 and 2016, covering over 10,800 square meters and providing ample space for research and development. Continuing the expansion, a second process tower was completed in 2019, featuring nine reaction vessels of varying sizes, filtration, and drying equipment. These capital projects, totalling $250 million, represent Gilead Alberta’s commitment to growing its Edmonton presence. The availability of a highly skilled workforce, strategic partnerships, and a commitment to scientific advancement has also served Gilead Alberta well as they have grown their Edmonton facility. 


The Edmonton region is home to the largest consortium of virologists in Canada within the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology (LKSIoV). Vaccines, treatment for Alzheimer’s and other novel therapeutics are being developed at LKSIoV, which unites a consortium of approximately 40 researchers affiliated with 14 departments and faculties at the University of Alberta. The Edmonton region is also home to the Canadian Critical Drug Initiative (CCDI); which aims to create an integrated research, development and small-molecule manufacturing cluster in Edmonton. Led by Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) in partnership with the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute (LKSAVI), their expanded facility is planned to open in 2026.  


Gilead Sciences in Canada remains focused in its pursuit of innovative therapies, transforming lives, and reshaping the landscape of biopharmaceuticals. They remain a key component in the region’s health and life sciences sector and are a critical piece in advancing the Edmonton region as a hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing. With each breakthrough, Gilead Sciences in Canada, especially through the Alberta facility, reaffirms its dedication to advancing patient care and advancing science.

“Trodelvy is a great example showcasing made in Canada innovation. This therapy has several indications in cancer, including for breast cancer, bladder cancer, and ongoing new clinical trials. Our organization is deeply committed to Canada, and is well-positioned to continue being a leading voice in the fight against cancer,” said Christophe Griolet, General Manager, Gilead Sciences Canada. 

Alyssa Linford