Major investments in domestic firms to rebuild Canada’s biomanufacturing sector

News release

Government of Canada investments will help advance made-in-Canada vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19  

March 16, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians have demonstrated a remarkable ability to mobilize in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Companies in the biomanufacturing space from coast to coast to coast have answered the call, and the government wants to recognize their work. To date, the Government of Canada has made investments of approximately $1 billion to advance industrial research and development in vaccines and pharmaceuticals, as well as biomanufacturing capacity. We will continue to partner with Canadian industry and businesses to protect Canadians from COVID-19 while building new biomanufacturing capacity as part of our recovery plan.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced major investments in Canadian firms through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which will collectively serve to strengthen biomanufacturing and drug development capacity in Canada. As part of these investments:   

  • KABS Laboratories Inc. will receive a contribution of up to $54.2 million for the expansion of its Saint-Hubert facility and the establishment of a new 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 million vials per year. Meanwhile, the new facility in Val-des-Sources will house bioprocessing and testing equipment to offer new antibody manufacturing capacity. As a result, KABS Laboratories will be able to produce monoclonal antibody therapies in Val-des-Sources and then fill and package them in Saint-Hubert.
  • Novocol Pharmaceutical of Canada will receive a contribution of up to $32.7 million to expand its biomanufacturing facilities in Cambridge, Ontario. This investment will support the expansion of Novocol’s fill-finish services to strengthen Canada’s long-term response through improved pandemic preparedness for vaccines and therapies. It is through the fill-finish process that vials are filled with vaccines or therapeutics and packaged for distribution.
  • Immune Biosolutions, located in Sherbrooke, Quebec, will receive a contribution of up to $13.44 million 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 neutralizing the virus. In addition, Immune Biosolutions will establish clinical scale biomanufacturing capacity and develop a new accelerated discovery process that will support future biologics and discovery work.

These investments and other actions we have taken are informed by the recommendations of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force and COVID-19 Joint Biomanufacturing Subcommittee.

$150 million for development of promising clinical candidates

The government is also demonstrating its ongoing support for made-in-Canada vaccines and therapeutics to combat COVID-19 with an investment of $150 million to help companies advance through the early stages of research and development. Through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), six vaccine candidates and seven therapeutic candidates have already received advisory support and more than $37 million in funding. The remaining $113 million is available to help the most promising of these candidates advance to the next phase of clinical development. NRC IRAP is working closely with these companies so that COVID-19 variants are considered as part of their solutions.


“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.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“We are very grateful for this important strategic support that is catalyzing our commitment to the Canadian bioprocessing and drug development effort.”
- Jean-Simon Blais, President, KABS Laboratories Inc.

“Novocol is grateful for the support from the Government of Canada through the Strategic Innovation Fund. This investment will increase domestic biomanufacturing capacity for fill-finish of sterile injectables, including vaccines, therapeutics and a wide range of pharmaceuticals, in a state-of-the-art GMP facility expansion. By creating such capacity and capabilities, Novocol will contribute to strengthening Canada’s preparedness for future pandemics, as well as create skilled jobs and economic development in the country’s biopharmaceutical ecosystem. As a CDMO—a contract development and manufacturing organization—our investment will provide valuable services to support Canadian and foreign biopharmaceutical innovators, starting from clinical trial materials through to commercial scale manufacturing.”
- Olivier Schiller, CEO of Novocol Pharma’s French-based parent company Septodont

“This financial support will drastically accelerate the preclinical and clinical development of our promising antibody candidates. So far, these antibodies have been shown to prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infection in animal models and possess exceptional neutralizing profiles of key variants. Furthermore, inspired by the lessons of this pandemic, Immune Biosolutions will drastically improve and expand its platforms to develop any new immunotherapy at a pandemic pace.”
- Frédéric Leduc, CEO and Co-founder, Immune Biosolutions

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada recognizes the important role played by the private sector and has made investments of approximately $1 billion to date to advance industrial research and development in vaccines and pharmaceuticals, as well as biomanufacturing capacity.

  • Investments in these projects will contribute to the development of Canadian medical countermeasures (MCM) in response to COVID-19 and strengthen Canada’s emergency preparedness for future pandemics by increasing capacity to produce, fill-finish and distribute vaccines and therapies for the Canadian population.

  • The SIF investment in KABS Laboratories will help support an $84.8-million project and create 40 new highly skilled jobs in Canada while maintaining 140 existing jobs.

  • The SIF investment in Novocol will help support a $72.6-million project and create 25 new highly skilled jobs in Canada while enabling the company to maintain its existing workforce of 350 highly skilled employees.

  • The SIF investment in Immune Biosolutions will help support an $18.7-million project and create 6 highly skilled jobs and maintain 19, for a total of 25 highly skilled jobs in Canada.

  • The six vaccine companies NRC IRAP is supporting include:

    • Immunovaccine Technologies Inc.
    • Entos Pharmaceuticals
    • Providence Therapeutics COVID Inc.
    • Glycovax Pharma
    • Symvivo
    • Biodextris Inc.
  • The seven therapeutic companies NRC IRAP is supporting include:

    • JN Nova Pharma
    • Laurent Pharmaceuticals
    • Bold Therapeutics
    • Qu Biologics
    • Hypermabs Inc.
    • Mannin Research Inc.
    • Vasomune Therapeutics Inc.

Associated links


John Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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