Excerpt from discussion in the House of Commons on March 22, 2021.
Cathy McLeod (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo)
With regard to offers or proposals received by the government to manufacture or produce COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, or to develop facilities for such production, since January 1, 2020: what are the details of any such offers or proposals, including (i) the name of the individual or firm making the offer or proposal, (ii) the summary of the offer or proposal, including the timeline, (iii) whether or not the offer or proposal was accepted by the government, (iv) the reason the offer or proposal was rejected, if applicable?
Francoise-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada does not comment on whether specific applications for federal funding, including from the strategic innovation fund, SIF, may be under consideration. Details related to applicants and/or applications are subject to commercial confidentiality and cannot be disclosed. The process for strategic innovation fund projects can be consulted on the program website at https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/125.nsf/eng/00023.html.
In the course of the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s efforts to map the vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing landscape in Canada, departmental officials conducted a comprehensive outreach across a range of companies to better understand their capabilities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nature and content of these conversations are commercially confidential. The Government of Canada also established the Vaccine Task Force, Therapeutics Task Force and the joint manufacturing subcommittee, comprising scientific experts and industry leaders, to make evidence-based recommendations to the government. All promising leads and offers to the government have been thoroughly evaluated for their specific scientific and technical merits and their ability to make a timely contribution to Canada’s biomanufacturing landscape, and investment decisions are made on that basis.
To date, more than 20 proposals have been submitted that are related to biomanufacturing, vaccines and/or therapies. The Government has announced three of these projects, Precision NanoSystems, Abcellera and Medicago, and multiple others are in various stages of due diligence or other consideration, in consultation with some of Canada’s leading scientists and industry experts in vaccinology, immunology, therapeutics and commercialization. Further projects will be announced in due course.
On May 3, 2020, the government announced a $175.6-million investment in AbCellera through SIF to support its antibody therapy discovery and to establish a good manufacturing practice facility in Vancouver.
On October 23, 2020, the government announced an investment of up to $173 million in Quebec City-based Medicago through SIF. The project, valued at a total of $428 million, will involve developing a vaccine through clinical trials, including phase 3, and establish a large-scale vaccine and antibody production facility to increase Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing capacity.
On February 2, 2021, the government announced an investment of up to $25.1 million in Vancouver-based Precision NanoSystems Inc. for a new biomanufacturing centre to expand Canada’s capabilities in the production of ribonucleic acid, RNA, vaccines and future genetic medicines.
A backgrounder that highlights the list of investments that have been made can be found at the following website: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2021/02/backgrounder–government-of-canada-investments-in-covid-19-vaccines-and-biomanufacturing-capacity.html.