Going viral with Microbix Biosystems -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine


Microbix Biosystems Inc.

Going viral with Microbix Biosystems


“We’re proud of our people and the innovations that have made infectious disease diagnostic tests better and more affordable to millions of people around the world every day.”

- Bill Gastle, Founder and Executive Chairman, Microbix Biosystems Inc.

Microbix Biosystems Inc. has been nominated for the Ontario Going Global, Medium Business Award, to be presented on the evening of November 26 at the 2014 Ontario Business Achievement Awards. Make sure to get your seats today!

Microbix Biosystems was founded in 1984 by Bill Gastle, a virologist with a history of working with viruses like Varicella Zoster, more commonly known as chickenpox.

In his previous job with the Ontario Ministry of Health, Gastle noticed that his employer imported live viruses from abroad in order to perform state of the art tests for diseases like rubella, influenza, and herpes.

Seeing a gap in domestic virus production, Bill jumped on the opportunity. He was the first virologist in Canada to offer many viruses commercially, and in doing so found there was a demand for these viruses around the world.

Since opening, Microbix has become the world’s largest producer of natural, real viruses used for diagnostic procedures. Viruses produced by the company are the key raw material used in hundreds of millions of tests every year—tests that have helped control the spread of infectious diseases and save countless lives.

Today, the company is focused on the Dengue virus, a dangerous tropical disease spread by mosquitoes that infects over 50 million people every year. According to Gastle, “Microbix is currently the world’s top producer of the virus for diagnostics and research, supplying critical tools for researchers racing to develop the first Dengue vaccine.”

The company has expanded significantly since it’s early days by creating new opportunities for growth outside of Ontario. Now, over 95 percent of their products are exported and have been sold in 65 countries.

Microbix invests in its people. Approximately, 80 percent of their staff are shareholders in the company. Everyone from senior managers to support staff have had an opportunity to share in the success of the business.

There’s no question that over the next five years the biotechnology field will change quickly— and there is also no question that Microbix has the agility and skills to take advantage of new technologies and emerging trends.

The business is expanding its capabilities to take advantage of the next generation of DNA-based diagnostic tests, and presently has two pipeline technologies that will revolutionize the vaccine and livestock breeding fields.

So how does the company impact the lives of Ontarians here at home? One example is maternal testing for rubella, a common, mild childhood infection that can cause very serious complications to a developing fetus. Every expecting mother in Ontario is tested to confirm that she is immune to rubella infection and that the developing child is kept safe. Microbix’s rubella virus is the key component in most rubella tests that protect newborns in Ontario.

Join us in Toronto on the evening of November 26th as we shine the spotlight on 17 other extraordinary organizations and entrepreneurs that are redefining business excellence in Ontario. Get your seats at the 2014 Ontario Business Achievement Awards today!