“This exceeds my expectations,” Champagne said of the rebound of Canadian biomakers.


Ottawa-Fran├žois Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, says Canada’s bio-manufacturing sector is in the past as Canadian pharmaceutical companies are ready to bring positive results from the first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine to Health Canada. He states that he has recovered more than initially expected in months.

At the beginning of the pandemic, focusing on Canada’s lack of bio-manufacturing capacity, the inability to produce the COVID-19 vaccine domestically caused some major early stumbling blocks in the country’s early vaccine deployment.

Champagne states that his vision was to restructure the sector based on different families of vaccines and improve the capabilities of Canadian contract manufacturers.

“This is beyond my expectations,” Champagne said in an interview on Monday.

The government has spent billions of dollars rebuilding Canada’s flagging bio-manufacturing capacity as quickly as possible after decades of decline.

Canadian company Medicago has benefited from its largest investment of $ 173 million to support the development of plant-based COVID-19 vaccines and to set up a large manufacturing plant.

Currently, Medigaco is increasing the dose of Canadian vaccines in anticipation of its application to Health Canada. Studies have shown that the drug is 75.3% effective against the delta variant of COVID-19.

The company released test results on Tuesday, citing 88.6% efficacy against the gamma variant of COVID-19 and 75.3% efficacy against Delta.

Medicago will submit these results to Health Canada by the end of the year, and to UK, US, World Health Organization, and ultimately Japanese regulatory agencies.

We have already started building inventories, of which 75 million are promised to Canada.

Champagne’s plans to produce several COVID-19 vaccines in Canada appear to be in place.

Moderna and BioVectra will manufacture mRNA technology in Canada. If Medicago receives a green light from Health Canada, it will produce a plant-based vaccine. Novavax has already applied for regulatory approval for protein-based vaccines manufactured at the National Research Council’s Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Center in Montreal. Sonophie will spend $ 925 million to build a new vaccine facility in Toronto to boost its manufacturing capacity.

And just yesterday, Merck Canada announced that it has signed a contract with Thermo Fisher Scientific to produce molnupiravir, an oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment, at a facility in Whitby, Ontario. We have an obligation to supply our products not only domestically, but also to the United Kingdom, the European Union, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

This is a sign that more and more companies are seeing Canada as a stable place to set up stores, he said.

“What do you think? What attracts them most is the fact that we have a talent pool, an open and stable environment for production, and an open supply chain.” Champagne says.

To further develop progress, Champagne said Canada needs to focus on research and innovation to attract investment. The goal is for local manufacturers to supply the drug not only to Canada but to the world.

Medicago, which has benefited from large government investments, said Canada should also look to foster new start-ups.

President Takashi Nagao said that his company received a large amount of cash injection from the government, but it could not be achieved without a large amount of private investment when it was founded.

“Canada still has what I see as a younger or less mature capital market to promote emerging licensed companies compared to the United States. So these companies are funding I tend to go to NASDAQ in the United States for this reason, “says Nagao.

“I think the government can play an important role in getting the company’s early-stage financing to grow and be ready in this situation.”

NS Laura Ottoman

Canadian press