Members of Dalton Pharma’s staff on-site at their state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.
Members of Dalton Pharma’s staff on-site at their state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.

Ontario provides the talent, research ecosystem and transportation and power infrastructure that enable global pharmaceutical companies and government agencies to advance drug development programs

Some of the world’s most innovative medicines can be traced back to the labs and manufacturing facilities of Dalton Pharma Services, a Toronto-based company that’s been developing, analyzing and making drugs for more than three decades.

Dalton Pharma Services

Since it was founded in 1986, Dalton Pharma has helped leading pharmaceutical companies and government agencies synthesize and test the molecules in their therapeutic drugs, manage small-scale manufacturing of high-value medications and deliver outstanding results in various stages of drug development.

“We provide the enabling capability, technology and facilities to advance other organizations’ clinical development programs,” explains Peter Pekos, CEO and co-founder of Dalton Pharma, which started in a business incubator at York University in Toronto, Ontario. “We’ve worked with all of the Top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world, as well as with the departments of defence in Canada and the United States.”

Peter Pekos, CEO and Co-founder of Dalton Pharma
Peter Pekos, CEO and Co-founder of Dalton Pharma

From a two-person venture operating out of a shared space, Dalton Pharma has grown over the years into a team of about 135 employees working in a 42,000-square foot building that houses sterile, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities approved by Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The company continues to grow its revenue by about 15% annually, with about 60% of its business coming from the United States and 40% from Canada and other parts of the world, including Europe and the United Kingdom.

Location has been a critical factor in Dalton Pharma’s growth and success, says Pekos. Life sciences is a $53-billion industry in Ontario, powered by 1,900 firms and 68,100 life science workers.

“Ontario is a hotbed of [pharmaceutical] drug development and manufacturing,” he says. “For a company like ours, being here gives us a lot of advantages.”

Pekos cites access to talent as among the top advantages of being an Ontario-based business. The province’s universities and colleges produce nearly 55,000 graduates each year from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. Dalton Pharma has a large pool of talent to choose from when it seeks to hire employees with science degrees in such disciplines as chemistry or pharmaceutical sciences.

Staff working on a machine at Dalton Pharma’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.

“Some of the best universities in the world offering these programs are located in Ontario,” says Pekos. “We produce well-trained graduates, particularly great chemists.”

Attracting talent from outside the province and country has also been easy, he adds. As a company headquartered in one of the top 20 cities in the world for quality of life, Dalton Pharma has been able to successfully recruit and retain employees from different parts of the world.

“More than 70% of our staff are new Canadians,” says Pekos. “We are a tremendously diverse company, with a team that’s a microcosm of Toronto’s mix of cultures and races.”

Ontario’s extensive and robust transportation and power infrastructures also provide significant advantages. Direct flights from Toronto to virtually any major centre in the world enable seamless movement of people and goods and make it easier for Dalton Pharma to reach markets in North America and beyond.

Access to reliable power is also crucial to maintaining Dalton Pharma’s facilities, says Pekos, and Ontario definitely delivers.

“The other thing about Ontario is that it’s geopolitically stable, and there’s rule of law,” he says. “So I know that when I enter into legal agreements here, they’re enforceable. That’s extremely important in our industry, which puts a high value on intellectual property security and confidentiality.”

Canada ranks high among the world’s most politically stable places. Canada was also recognized in a 2020 Global Competitiveness Report for having one of the world’s soundest banking systems.

“And globally, Canada is recognized and respected for our stringent regulatory framework for drug manufacturing, our labour laws and occupational health and safety standards,” says Pekos.

In February 2020, Seikagaku Corporation, a manufacturer of complex pharmaceutical products and ingredients in Tokyo, Japan, acquired Dalton Pharma. Pekos says this acquisition sets the stage for Dalton to become one of Seikagaku’s global manufacturing sites for complex pharmaceuticals.

“Based on the kinds of products they want to transfer to Dalton, we would be looking at an investment that’s bigger than we’ve ever made in our company’s history,” says Pekos. “We’re ready for it—we’ve got great science, technology, people and infrastructure.”

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