Ag-West Bio: A catalyst for Saskatchewan's bioeconomy

In the 1980s, the biotech industry was emerging in Saskatchewan. The provincial government and the University of Saskatchewan decided a catalyst was needed to accelerate the growing ag-biotech sector.

In 1989, Ag-West Biotech was launched by Saskatchewan's Ministry of Agriculture, with a mandate to provide leadership and assistance for Saskatchewan’s ag-biotech cluster, aiding in the commercialization of new biotechnologies, helping existing companies grow, and attracting new companies to the province.

Ag-West Biotech amalgamated with the International Centre for Agricultural Science & Technology, absorbing the ICAST investment portfolio in 1997. A re-organization in 2004 saw Ag-West Biotech merge with two complementary provincial associations: Bio-Products Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network. Ag-West Bio emerged from the amalgamation with a focus on commercialization of biological applications in agriculture, environment, industry, energy and bioprocessing, as well as nutrition and health.

Since its inception, Ag-West Bio has assisted numerous companies start-up or relocate to Saskatchewan. Ag-West has also helped Canada’s regulatory system keep up with advances in biotechnology, and worked to educate the public through various publications, a website, workshops and seminars. From 1998 to 2004, Ag-West operated the Saskatchewan Agricultural Biotechnology Information Centre (SABIC), a hands-on teaching lab that was open to the public.

Today, our focus is on business development and assisting companies with commercialization of new technologies. To support the industry, we also partner with like-minded organizations to promote bioscience through public outreach.