The owner of the largest internet drug company in Canada has donated $500,000 to the University of Manitoba's planned faculty of pharmacy building.

Kris Thorkelson says he wanted to give something back to the university that helped put him where he is today.

Thorkelson says business has been good to him and he wanted to share some of the success he's had. His success began just three months after he received his pharmacist's licence, when he became co-owner of a pharmacy.

"It's continued since then," he says.

"I own four retail stores right now, and so a continuation of business has occurred, as well as my professsional practices as a pharmacist. So it's sort of been a dual path for me ever since university."

In addition to the four retail stores Thorkelson operates

David Collins, dean of Pharmacy at the university, says internet pharmacies are playing an important role in the evolution of the delivery of health care.

Collins says the technology behind them challenges the way the field currently does business.

"I think it offers an enormous advantage to service provision in a country the size of Canada," says Collins.

"The unfortunate element that I think has crept into the discussion about it is the international element. In terms of the needs of Canadians I would like to explore, and in fact am currently exploring, this technology for better provision of services to rural areas of which there is an enormous need in Canada."

In recognition of Thorkelson's gift the university will name the undergraduate laboratory after him. The lab will be part of the University of Manitoba Apotex Centre near the Health Sciences Centre.

Construction is planned for this spring.