Three local organizations increase production of critical medical technologies

News release

Ottawa’s life sciences ecosystem to expand and strengthen

June 24, 2024 Ottawa, Ontario 

Ottawa’s life sciences sector is home to world-class research institutions, renowned hospitals and a growing tech industry. It is important that businesses and organizations in this critical sector are able to access the support they need to continue to find innovative solutions to better the lives of Canadians.  

Today, Yasir Naqvi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, visited Virica Biotech Inc. (Virica), an Ottawa-based biotechnology company, which pioneered a new viral sensitizer that boosts the efficacy of using viruses to help treat cancer, removing the barriers to manufacturing effective viral medicines at scale. Virica Biotech is receiving a $1.5-million investment to support new advanced manufacturing of its viral sensitizers at its expanded facility at Carleton University. This investment will help the company to scale to meet the increasing demand for its products.  

While at Virica, Parliamentary Secretary Naqvi also met with the teams from Genvira Biosciences Inc. and Capital BioVentures to learn about their growth in the sector. Genvira builds innovative biotherapeutics, examining how human cells change and mutate to help create vaccines, supporting advancements in gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy. The company is enhancing biomaterials manufacturing capabilities, with support from an investment of $1.75 million, to better serve clinicians as they undertake clinical trials and continue their important work developing tools to help create vital medicines and treatments.

Capital BioVentures, is a not-for-profit wet-lab accelerator that provides Canadian biotech companies with early-stage funding and access to dedicated drug and corporate development biotech professionals, and access to high-quality equipment and lab space. The organization is addressing the critical need for wet lab space in the region, by establishing and launching an Ottawa-based wet-lab accelerator program. With a $5.5-million investment, this program will allow small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to utilize wet lab space in locations across the city, as well as access support services including training and mentorship as they develop their products and grow their businesses.

Canadian life sciences companies and the organizations that support them have the potential to address complex health challenges impacting people around the globe. The Government of Canada is committed to working together with organizations and businesses to support the health of Canadians and a strong and thriving life sciences ecosystem into the future.  


“Across southern Ontario, entrepreneurs are developing creative solutions to address a variety of complex health issues. Our government is pleased to support companies like Virica Biotech Inc. and Genvira Biosciences Inc. that are working to increase production of vital medicines, and Capital BioVentures that is addressing a critical need for wet lab space that will help companies to innovate and grow."
- The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“Our life sciences companies and organizations continue to innovate medical technologies that play a pivotal role in improving patient outcomes and the long-term health of Canadians. The Ottawa life sciences ecosystem is instrumental in driving innovation and creating a healthier future for individuals across the country and globally.” 
- Yasir Naqvi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre

“Ottawa plays an important role in the life sciences sector. This investment is enhancing Ottawa’s medical technology capabilities, and will position our local economy for long-term success while helping improve the health of Canadians and beyond now and into the future.”
- The Honourable David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South 

“This funding will support Virica’s expanded facility and workforce and the next generation of small molecule enhancers that reduce bioprocessing bottlenecks for cell and gene therapy manufacturers.”
- Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo, Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Founder, Virica Biotech Inc.

“Being able to manufacture materials for Phase 1 clinical trials will be a huge boost for our company and the Canadian biosciences industry. Today’s investment from the Government of Canada will help streamline the process of getting important medicines from inception to completion and into the hands of people who need it.”  
- Jiahu Wang, Chief Executive Officer, Genvira Biosciences Inc.

“We are incredibly excited to launch Capital BioVentures in Ottawa, as our city is home to some of Canada’s leading life science innovators. The funding support from the federal government, and the support of our network of partners, will allow us to remove critical barriers to growth for life sciences companies in the region. We look forward to serving our innovation ecosystem.”
- Jeff Smirle, Chief Operating Officer, Capital BioVentures Inc. 

Quick facts

  • Established in 2018, Ottawa-based Virica Biotech Inc. was founded based on a decade of research investigating novel oncolytic viral therapies (OVTs) in the laboratory at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. 

  • Founded in 2015, and incorporated in 2019, Ottawa-based Genvira Biosciences Inc. specializes in viral vector engineering for cancer immunotherapy, gene therapy and vaccines.

  • Capital BioVentures is an Ottawa founded wet-lab accelerator program that removes hurdles for Canadian innovators, while fostering a collaborative and cohesive ecosystem.  

  • FedDev Ontario is helping to build an inclusive and globally competitive southern Ontario by investing in companies to innovate, expand and diversify and supporting organizations to provide business support and services in communities across the region.   

Associated links


Edward Hutchinson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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