Ontario, Canada’s economic development and trade minister, Joe Cordiano, sees opportunities for Georgia biotechnology companies to collaborate with his province’s new life sciences center in Toronto.

Mr. Cordiano visited Atlanta Sept. 27-29 in a follow-up mission to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s July trip to Ontario. Mr. Cordiano’s visit here concentrated on Georgia’s biotechnology sector, with meetings in Atlanta with the Georgia Research Alliance, Georgia’s Centers for Excellence and the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory, a unit of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in Tifton.

Mr. Cordiano’s visit coincided with the grand opening of the MaRS Centre, or medical and related sciences center, in Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, an area that houses much of Ontario’s life sciences cluster. The district is home to the University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, the University Health Network and the government of Ontario.

The new 700,000 square-foot MaRS Centre, which includes a business incubator, is to serve as a headquarters from which to commercialize Ontario’s biotech, nanotech, pharmacological and information technology research, Mr. Cordiano said, adding that another 800,000 square feet of office space is to be developed in the next few years. The Ontario government is contributing $1.8 billion for the project over the next four years, he said.

“I am here to discuss ways to collaborate with Georgia, and not just government-to-government. We need private companies to collaborate and improve upon what we’re already doing. We’re looking at opportunities here and in Ontario, so investment will flow both ways,” Mr. Cordiano told GlobalAtlanta in an interview.

He said that collaboration in the form of joint ventures and partnerships is important for companies in the life sciences sector, in particular, because the research is expensive and there are long timelines involved.

“Research and development is something we’re always looking to attract,” he said. Government tax credits provided for investors would compensate for more than 50 percent of Georgia companies’ investment in R&D, he said.

Mr. Cordiano said that new life sciences business between Ontario and Georgia will be built on the regions’ existing $8 billion annual two-way trade relationship. Georgia is Ontario’s 10th largest export market and its 13th largest source of imports. Georgia exports more than $4 billion in goods and services to Ontario, the largest export being automobiles. Carpets, auto parts, computers and poultry are also top Georgia exports to the Canadian province.

Mr. Cordiano said the other critical sectors in Ontario where Georgia companies would have the best opportunities for investment are environmental technology and energy, automotive, aerospace, advanced materials manufacturing and information technology.

A new $800 million Toyota auto manufacturing plant in Woodstock, Ontario, will also create opportunities for foreign suppliers, he added.

Mr. Cordiano’s office confirmed that Atlanta is on the list of possible locations for a future Ontario trade office.

While the Ontario government is expanding its presence in the United States, with a new Los Angeles trade office announced in June, there are no immediate plans for an office here, but Atlanta is on the list of possible cities, Mr. Cordiano’s department told GlobalAtlanta. A decision is expected next year. There is already an office in New York.

Visit www.2ontario.com for more information or contact Mr. Cordiano’s office at (800) 819-8701 or info@2ontario.com