Microbix Biosystems was founded in 1984 by Bill Gastle. As a young virologist employed by the Ontario Ministry of Health, Gastle observed that the Provincial Health Laboratories imported all live viruses from other countries in order to perform diagnostic tests for infectious diseases such as rubella, influenza, and herpes. After identifying this gap in domestic virus production, Gastle founded Microbix Biosystems, which became a leader in the development and manufacturing of a wide range of commercial viruses to the global diagnostics industry.
Today, Microbix is the world’s largest producer of natural, isolated viruses used for diagnostic testing. Viruses produced by the company are the key raw material used in hundreds of millions of diagnostic tests every year; helping control the spread of infectious diseases and saving countless lives.
The company continues to innovate and is currently developing new strains of the Dengue virus, which triggers a dangerous tropical disease that is spread by mosquitoes and infects over 50 million people every year. Microbix is currently the world’s top producer of this virus for diagnostics and research purposes, supplying essential material for researchers racing to develop the first Dengue vaccine.
The company has expanded significantly since it’s early days with over 95 percent of its sales being exported to 65 different countries.
Microbix employs highly skilled scientists, technicians and support staff who share directly in the success of the company through a share-based incentive program. In fact, many employees are shareholders in the company.
The biotechnology industry continues to change quickly and Microbix continues to take advantage of new technologies and emerging trends. The company continues to expand its capabilities and is developing products for next-generation DNA-based diagnostic tests.
Microbix is also launching innovative, proprietary technologies in other segments of the life science industry, including significantly enhancing the process for manufacturing influenza vaccines, as well as a new animal reproductive technology that will transform the livestock breeding industry.
Microbix’ business is global, but the benefits of its products are immediate and local. One example is maternal testing for rubella, a common childhood illness that can cause very serious complications to a developing fetus. Every expectant 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 used in most rubella tests that protect newborns in Ontario.
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