Government strengthens Canada’s leadership role in medical isotope production
Accelerator and nuclear reactors, in partnership with First Nations and biomanufacturing, to receive up to $35 million to support the development, production, advancement and distribution of medical isotopes used in fight against cancer and in diagnostic imaging
June 27, 2023 – Tiverton, Ontario
The Government of Canada continues to deliver on its promise to rebuild and strengthen the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector across the country. Since March 2020, major achievements have been reached, with over $2 billion invested, resulting in 36 major new and expanded projects to boost the Canadian biomanufacturing and life sciences sector’s capacities. Health care professionals need access to the proper tools and therapies to address all kinds of medical challenges, treat diseases and care for their patients. That is why the government is investing in the medical isotopes sector to ensure that Canada remains a global leader in medical treatments and that Canadians have access to the best health care possible. Canada has played a key leadership role in the development and use of medical isotopes for over 70 years, positioning the country as a global leader in the production and supply of medical isotopes.
Today, Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Member of Parliament for Oakville North—Burlington, Ontario, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the official launch of the new Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem (CMIE). The CMIE will be under the oversight of the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC) and TRIUMF Innovations, supporting projects with Bruce Power, BWXT Medical, McMaster University and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. It will receive up to $35 million over a five-year period to develop initiatives focused on the production, advancement and distribution of medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals in Canada. Through this investment, the Government of Canada is taking another step in advancing Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, which is designed to improve the long-term resilience and promote the growth of Canada’s life and sciences sector.
Demand for medical isotopes worldwide is increasing, and today’s investment will ensure that Canada has access to a steady supply. The CMIE will encourage the domestic production of medical isotopes, an important component used in the health care sector for medical diagnoses and therapies, including cancer and heart diseases. This new ecosystem will advance Canadian expertise on medical isotopes and make Canada an attractive hub for investment in the medical isotopes sector.
The CMIE will help fund new tools and therapies that can improve the lives of Canadians who receive medical treatments, while also helping health care workers provide the best care that they can. The ecosystem will attract over $75 million in investments, create or maintain over 600 highly skilled jobs for Canadians, and create 30 internship opportunities.
This funding responds to the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council’s report, Isotopes for Hope: Canadian Leadership Needed Now More Than Ever, calling on the federal government to invest in the growth of Canada’s medical isotope ecosystem.
As part of the funding announced today at Bruce Power, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) will take the next step in their partnership with Bruce Power to jointly produce, advance and market new isotopes in support of the global fight against cancer, marking a significant contribution to economic reconciliation within the SON territory.
“Our government is proud to partner with CPDC and TRIUMF Innovations to launch the Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem, which, along with its partners, will help advance our Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy. The pandemic has shown us how important it is to have strong domestic production of pharmaceuticals, and we
are delivering on our commitment to providing Canadians with the best therapies they need to care for their health. With this investment, we are making our country a major player in the global biomanufacturing and life sciences industry while creating good jobs for Canadians and stimulating the local economy.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Our government is committed to strengthening our health care so patients can receive timely access to health services they deserve, including diagnosis and treatments. The Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem will play a crucial role in the development and distribution of medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals across the country. Through this, we will improve access to many medical therapies, including cancer and heart disease treatments.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains for critical medical materials, such as medical isotopes. With this investment in the creation of the Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem, the Government of Canada is taking another major step toward building resiliency in our domestic medical production capabilities, which will help to ensure the health and safety of Canadians in the event of any potential future global supply chain disruptions. This investment will not only grow the economy—as the Ecosystem is expected to attract over $75 million in investment and create or maintain over 600 highly skilled, well-paying jobs—but also contribute to the economic reconciliation with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.”
– Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Member of Parliament for Oakville North—Burlington, Ontario
“Canada has held an extraordinary global leadership position in the production and medical use of isotopes for several decades. With the support of the Government of Canada; our co-lead, TRIUMF Innovation; and all our network partners, the new Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem has the opportunity to accelerate the use of medical isotopes both here in Canada and globally.”
– Owen Roberts, CEO, Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization
“TRIUMF Innovations is proud to co-lead this important initiative with the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization. The new Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem brings together government, industry and academia to work collaboratively to build Canadian medical isotope capabilities and ensure Canada remains a leader in this high-growth sector.”
– Kathryn Hayashi, President and CEO, TRIUMF Innovations
“Canada is a world leader in medical isotope research and production, and Bruce Power is proud to be among the innovative companies that places Canada at the forefront of nuclear medicine. We are honoured to partner with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation to market isotope production, and we thank the federal government for its support in leveraging this historic opportunity while creating sustainable economic benefits within the SON territory.”
– Mike Rencheck, President and CEO, Bruce Power
The Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem (CMIE) is a pan-Canadian initiative led by the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC) and TRIUMF Innovations, which are both not-for-profit corporations specializing in radiopharmaceutical products and the commercialization of particle acceleration, respectively.
The CMIE will direct project funding to support collaborative research and development initiatives focused on medical isotopes, with the goal of creating and commercializing innovative treatments in the health care sector while also securing a domestic production of medical isotopes.
Supporting the medical isotopes sector through the CMIE will improve Canadian expertise on medical isotopes and make Canada an attractive hub for investment in this sector.
Medical isotopes are used by medical professionals to diagnose and treat health conditions such as heart diseases and cancer. The production of medical isotopes is achieved by using two overarching technologies: nuclear reactors and particle accelerators. There is currently a restricted global supply of medical isotopes, so this ecosystem will keep Canada at the leading edge of nuclear medicine.
By producing these critical resources domestically, Canada will be positioned to take advantage of the ever-growing global market for medical isotopes, which is expected to reach up to US$31 billion by 2031. Globally, more than 40 million procedures use this technology each year.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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