Canada announces biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy

FRANCOIS-PHILIPPE Champagne, federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Health, on Wednesday launched the Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy. This means more than $2.2 billion over seven years from Budget 2021 to continue growing a strong and competitive sector and to ensure the country is prepared for future pandemics.

The Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy is driven by two objectives: to grow a strong, competitive domestic life sciences sector, with cutting-edge biomanufacturing capabilities, while creating good jobs for Canadians, and to make sure Canada is prepared for pandemics and other health emergencies in the future. This includes increasing domestic capacity through investments and partnerships to produce life-saving vaccines and therapeutics.

The strategy consists of five pillars:

1. Strong and Coordinated Governance: Enabling rapid decision-making, informed by experts; and, to ensure investments achieve maximum impact.
2. Laying a Solid Foundation by Strengthening Research Systems and the Talent Pipeline: From post-secondary institutions, research hospitals and Canadian scientists, the government is supporting the foundational inputs necessary to have a healthy life sciences ecosystem. After all, there is no point having a state-of-the-art factory if we don’t have the people and talent to run it, notes the government.
3. Growing Businesses by Doubling Down on Existing and Emerging Areas of Strength: The government will continue to support Made-in-Canada solutions through the Strategic Innovation Fund to rebuild the sector. It has a strong pipeline of projects across the country that will create thousands of good jobs for Canadians while closing key gaps in the biomanufacturing supply chain.
4. Building Public Capacity: Taking advantage of the new capacity coming online at Canada’s National Research Council, including its new Biologics Manufacturing Centre. With this new facility built ahead of schedule, Canada will be able to produce vaccines for whatever the future may hold.
5. Enabling Innovation by Ensuring World Class Regulation: Lastly, this will make Canada a more attractive destination for leading life sciences firms to establish and grow. Overall, this will help Canada grow a strong and competitive domestic life sciences sector, and ensure its readiness for future pandemics or other health emergencies.
According to the government, together, the strategy’s five pillars will achieve meaningful results for Canadians by building strength across the sector’s entire value chain, from research and talent to clinical trials, to industrial capabilities and, finally, to the regulatory environment supporting all of these areas.

The strategy will improve Canada’s pandemic preparedness for years to come, while creating good quality jobs for Canadians across the country. It will also establish an enduring, coordinated framework for working in alignment across federal departments and agencies responsible for the discovery, development, production and deployment of critical medicines for Canadians, while continuing to rely on the advice of experts.

Quick Facts 

  • Growing Canada’s life sciences and biomanufacturing sector is a priority that goes beyond responding to COVID-19. The government’s investments in this growing sector support thousands of good, middle-class jobs while improving Canada’s pandemic preparedness for years to come.
  • Budget 2021 provides a total of $2.2 billion over seven years towards growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector and improving pandemic preparedness. This provides foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, as well as foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms, including:
    • $59.2 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization to develop its vaccine candidates and expand its facility in Saskatoon
    • $500 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support the bioscience capital and infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions and research hospitals
    • $250 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for the federal research granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund
    • $92 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for adMare BioInnovations to support company creation, scale-up and training activities in the life sciences sector
    • $45 million over three years, starting in 2022–23, for the Stem Cell Network to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research
    • $250 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for a clinical trials fund
    • $1 billion over seven years, starting in 2021–22, through the Strategic Investment Fund
  • The Government of Canada has already invested more than $1.2 billion in biomanufacturing and the development of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. This includes investments in 10 firms through the Strategic Innovation Fund as well as investments in vaccine candidates and therapeutics through the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster, the National Research Council of Canada, the regional development agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
  • Wednesday’s contribution and other actions the government has taken are informed by the recommendations of the Joint Biomanufacturing Subcommittee of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.