Government of Canada invests in COVID-19 pharma response

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has made investments of approximately $1 bn to advance industrial research and development in vaccines and pharmaceuticals

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, has announced major investments in Canadian firms through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), aimed to strengthen biomanufacturing and drug development capacity in Canada.

Kabs Laboratories will receive a contribution of up to $54.2 m for the expansion of its Saint-Hubert facility and the establishment of a facility in Val-des-Sources, both in Quebec. The expansion of its Saint-Hubert facility will allow for additional fill and finish capacity to exceed 30 m vials per year. Meanwhile, the facility in Val-des-Sources will house bioprocessing and testing equipment to offer additional antibody manufacturing capacity. The company will be able to produce monoclonal antibody therapies in Val-des-Sources and then fill and package them in Saint-Hubert.

Novocol Pharmaceutical will receive a contribution of up to $32.7 m to expand its biomanufacturing facilities in Cambridge, Ontario. This investment will support the expansion of its’s fill-finish services, with the goal to strengthen Canada’s long-term response through improved pandemic preparedness for vaccines and therapies.

Immune Biosolutionswill receive a contribution of up to $13.44 m to help develop and advance its therapeutic candidate from preclinical studies through to Phase II clinical trials. Immune Biosolutions’ therapeutic candidate will seek to treat COVID-19 by neutralising the virus.

The government is also investing $150 m to help companies advance through the early stages of vaccine research and development. Through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, six vaccine candidates and seven therapeutic candidates have already received advisory support and more than $37 m in funding. The remaining $113 m will be allocated to the most promising of these candidates.

François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said: “Canada’s biomanufacturing sector is rich in knowledge and expertise. By investing in domestic biomanufacturing facilities and equipment, such as Kabs Laboratories, Novocol and Immune Biosolutions, we are investing in made-in-Canada solutions to fight COVID-19 while retaining and developing the expertise necessary to help us secure vaccine and therapy supply chains here at home. Our government is committed to rebuilding Canada’s biomanufacturing sector, focusing on both short-term strategic solutions and a long-term vision.”