Government of Canada establishes a new research hub at the University of Toronto to accelerate Canada’s vaccine and therapeutics production
This research hub will further strengthen Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector while protecting Canadians against future health threats
March 14, 2023 – Toronto, Ontario
The Government of Canada’s main priority continues to be protecting the health and safety of Canadians. Throughout the pandemic, the quick and decisive actions taken by the government meant that Canada was able to scale up domestic biomanufacturing capacity, which had been in decline for over 40 years. The government is rebuilding a strong and competitive biomanufacturing and life sciences sector brick by brick. This includes strengthening the foundations of the life sciences ecosystem through the research and talent of Canada’s world-class post-secondary institutions and research hospitals, as well as fostering increased collaboration with innovative companies.
Today, Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, highlighted an investment of $2 million to create the Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence & Innovation in Infectious Diseases. This support is part of a $10 million investment announced by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, on March 2 for the creation of five research hubs as part of Stage 1 of the integrated Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) competition.
The Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence & Innovation in Infectious Diseases is being led by the University of Toronto. Its focus will be on advancing the concept of “personalized and precise medicine” to influence the development of vaccines, therapeutics and other public health interventions. This multidisciplinary research hub will accelerate research and development of next-generation vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, while supporting training and development to expand the pipeline of skilled talent. It will also accelerate the translation of promising research into commercially viable products and processes.
This investment will help strengthen the resilience of Canada’s life sciences sector by supporting leading Canadian research in innovative technologies that keep us safe and boost our economy.
“To continue to protect Canadians and to build a resilient biomanufacturing ecosystem, our government is taking every action possible to be equipped with the best tools. We’re proud to foster the research needed to produce cutting-edge discoveries and products in our very own labs, which will help us build a stronger, more robust life sciences sector that responds to the needs of Canadians for decades to come.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“The health and safety of everyone in Canada is a top priority for our government. To modernize and advance work in the areas of vaccines and therapeutics, we must continue to invest in health research—that is what these hubs will help us achieve. Together, with experts, provinces and territories, and other partners, we will keep strengthening our preparedness for possible future pandemics.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“Canada is home to world-leading health institutions and research centres. The creation of hubs like these is crucial to support the growth of a strong and competitive Canadian life sciences sector with cutting-edge biomanufacturing capabilities. This hub at the University of Toronto will enable essential collaboration between academia, public health organizations, industry, not-for-profit organizations and other levels of government, leading to health and safety for all Canadians.”
– Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport
“This investment from the federal government to establish the HI3 hub builds on the robust research and innovation ecosystem at U of T and on the strength of our partnerships across sectors. By bringing together an unprecedented number of partners from universities, hospitals, industry and other fields, the hub is poised to expand and invigorate the innovation-to-product pipeline and protect the health of all people living in Canada.”
– Leah Cowen, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives, University of Toronto
Details on the five research hubs:
- The CBRF PRAIRIE Hub: Protecting Canada by Building on Excellence in Pandemic Preparedness. Led by the University of Alberta. Accelerating the development and commercialization of vaccine, antiviral and diagnostic countermeasures for potential pandemic pathogens.
- Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub: Engineering Immunity for Pandemic Response. Led by the University of British Columbia. Helping develop next-generation immune-based therapeutics, in response to pandemics, that can be manufactured domestically using the latest innovations in biomanufacturing.
- Eastern Canada Pandemic Preparedness Hub (ECaPPH). Led by the Université de Montréal. Increasing the agility, connectivity and growth of the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector to ensure that Canada is prepared for future pandemics and public health crises.
- Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub (CP2H). Led by the University of Ottawa and McMaster University. Catalyzing research and biomanufacturing innovations to help Canada produce vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics ahead of future pandemics.
- Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence & Innovation in Infectious Diseases (HI3). Led by the University of Toronto. Advancing the concept of “personalized and precise medicine” to influence the development of vaccines, therapeutics and other public health interventions.
A research hub is a coalition of research and research-training actors, coordinated by an eligible post-secondary or health research institution that serves as an anchor for the hub. Hubs must be multidisciplinary in nature and have partners across a variety of sectors working towards common objectives to advance pandemic readiness and response initiatives.
The selection of the research hubs and the funding available through the integrated CBRF-BRIF will advance the Government of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy by strengthening the research capacity of Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences ecosystem.
These new pan-Canadian research hubs were selected through a two-step competitive review process that assessed the scientific merit and strategic alignment of the hub proposals with the strategy.
The strategy includes multiple foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, as well as foster the growth of Canada’s life sciences firms. Investments include the:
- Canada Biomedical Research Fund: $250 million to create a program to support high-risk, applied research, training and talent development partnership projects. The fund is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: SSHRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
- Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund: $500 million to support the biosciences infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions and affiliated research hospitals. This fund is administered by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
Over the last two years, the federal government has committed more than $1.8 billion to 33 projects in biomanufacturing, vaccines and therapeutics.
Media Relations – University of Toronto
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat
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