Government of Canada invests in biomanufacturing capacity in Calgary

News release

The project will strengthen the domestic vaccine value chain

December 20, 2023 – Calgary, Alberta 

The Government of Canada continues to make significant investments in Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector by prioritizing innovative solutions and long-term domestic biomanufacturing capacity.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced a contribution of $15 million to support Northern RNA’s $50 million project through the Strategic Innovation Fund. The proposed three-year project aims to expand Northern RNA’s biomanufacturing capacity, including by establishing a facility compliant with good manufacturing practice (GMP) to produce lipids that are a critical component for mRNA vaccines and therapies.

This project aligns with Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy and aims to make Canada’s vaccine supply chain more resilient by securing domestic lipid production. Through this project, Northern RNA will maintain 50 jobs, create 100 new jobs and hire students for 195 co-op terms.


“Keeping Canadians safe and healthy by making sure they have access to life-saving medicines and vaccines remains a top priority. This is a critical investment to strengthen Alberta’s growing biomanufacturing and life sciences industry. Northern RNA will upgrade and expand its world-class Alberta facility, while creating good jobs and securing economic growth for Canadians.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Vaccines are one of the most effective ways to protect ourselves from infectious diseases and other health concerns. As we learned during the pandemic, we need to be able to respond to public health emergencies quickly and efficiently to ensure the best health outcomes for Canadians. Through this investment and our broader Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, our government is building Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity to ensure it can meet the future health care needs of Canadians.”
– The Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health

“Alberta’s life sciences sector is flourishing and creating new and exciting treatments that will help expand our pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity. Our government invested in Northern RNA because we saw how important it was to expand Canada’s and Alberta’s health security, and we’re pleased to see this investment from the federal government today.”
– The Honourable Nate Glubish, Alberta’s Minister of Technology and Innovation

“Investing in research, development and manufacturing initiatives that lead to a stronger biomedical sector on the Prairies is a key part of our government’s commitment to increasing domestic production of pharmaceutical products. Today’s investment in Northern RNA will further bolster the ability of this leading-edge, Calgary-based company to strengthen our local supply chain for critical medicines while creating good jobs and sustainable economic activity for Albertans.”
– The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada

“I’m proud to see our government making significant investments to grow Alberta’s life sciences sector and increase the global competitiveness of our local biomedical firms such as Northern RNA. This investment will help position Calgary as a cornerstone of Canada’s critical drug manufacturing capacity and contribute to a strong, resilient economy for our region.”
– George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview

“Today, Northern RNA is excited to announce this significant expansion of our Canadian-based biomanufacturing capabilities to include commercial-scale, GMP-grade lipid manufacturing. Lipids are a critical raw material needed to produce life-saving medicines, and global manufacturing capacity is limited. Northern RNA is appreciative of the government support that makes this expansion, local economic diversification and increased employment possible.”
– Brad Stevens, Founder and CEO, Northern RNA 

Quick facts

  • Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy presents a long‑term vision to grow an innovative, competitive domestic life sciences sector and to protect Canadians against future pandemics and other health emergencies.

  • Northern RNA is a contract development and manufacturing organization specializing in the production of nucleic acid products, providing scalable manufacturing capacity to clients worldwide.

  • The federal government’s $15 million contribution to Northern RNA is being made through the Strategic Innovation Fund alongside a $5 million investment from the Province of Alberta and a $5 million investment from Prairies Economic Development Canada.

  • Budget 2021 provided a total of $2.2 billion over seven years toward growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector and improving Canada’s pandemic preparedness. This budget funding provides foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, as well as to foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms.

Associated links


Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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