Minister Ng announces new venture capital investments for life sciences sector
April 25, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
The Government of Canada is committed to creating a vibrant and sustainable venture capital (VC) industry in the Canadian life sciences sector. The result will be improved access to capital for innovative early-stage companies that are developing the solutions of the future while creating good jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced that $50 million will be invested in six venture capital funds focused on the Life Sciences sector under the renewed Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI). The six VC fund managers are:
- AllosteRx Advanced Therapies
- Amplitude Ventures
- CTI Life Sciences Fund
- Genesys Capital
- Pender Ventures
- Sectoral Asset Management
The life sciences sector is made up of a number of different industries, including eHealth and IT, medical devices and equipment, therapeutic drugs and biologics, and health and wellness.
These investments ensure that more capital will be made available to businesses in the life sciences sector so they can continue transforming new ideas into market-ready products and services, unlock economic opportunities for Canadians and create high-quality middle-class jobs.
As part of a combined $450 million investment into venture capital, and together with investments from the private sector, the renewed VCCI is expected to inject over $1.4 billion into Canada’s innovation capital market.
The renewed VCCI requires all recipients to collect gender and diversity metrics. They must also implement policies and practices that promote diversity, equity and inclusion principles internally—in building their portfolios—and in the broader VC ecosystem. This ensures that more firms led by women and under-represented groups can access the capital they need to scale and grow—and strengthen the Canadian economy.
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which manages VCCI, is Canada’s most active single VC investor, managing over $4.2 billion in VC investments. BDC recently launched its $500 million Thrive Venture Fund and Lab for Women, the largest investment platform of its kind in the world.
Investing in life sciences and the growth of Canadian healthcare technology has been a priority. Through the CANHealth Network, Minister Ng recently announced over $42 million to enable entrepreneurs across Canada to match up with health care providers, scale up their businesses and strengthen our universal health care system.
“The life sciences sector is important for the Canadian economy. It brings new medicine, medical devices and electronic health infrastructure to market. Our government is bolstering investments in this area to help make more capital available over the longer term, and to accelerate the development of the next generation of Canadian life sciences innovations for customers here and around the world.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
Together with investments from the private sector, the renewed VCCI is expected to inject around $1.4 billion into Canada’s innovation capital market.
The recipients announced today were chosen as a result of a rigorous selection process informed by a private sector selection committee of highly qualified industry experts, as well as experts at BDC and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
As of 2016, Canada’s life sciences sector consisted of 900 firms, employing 91,000 people and contributing $7.8 billion to the Canadian economy.
Previous venture capital (VC) programs have invested $761 million in VC funds and fund managers. Selected managers have raised over $3 billion to help Canadian companies start up and grow.
In 2021, Canada’s VC industry invested $14.7 billion across 752 deals, more than double the previous record set in 2019.
Canada ranks in the top five of VC investment as a percentage of GDP, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Office of the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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