COVID-19 related vaccines, therapies and bio‑manufacturing projects
In March 2020, the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) was identified to deliver the Medical Countermeasures (MCM) initiative.
SIF was granted authority to invest $792M under the MCM stream to fund clinical trials and manufacturing capacity at scale to increase the chances of timely vaccines, treatments and improve Canada's long-term pandemic preparedness. The first project, Abcellera Biologics, was announced within 19 days of the start of project negotiations.
The MCM stream is divided in three types of projects: vaccines, therapies and bio-manufacturing projects. Under the MCM, to date SIF has:
- 7 announced projects (see table)
|Project name||Province||SIF Contribution||Total Project Cost||Announcement Date||Project Type|
|Abcellera Biologics Inc.||BC||$175,631,000||$287,353,000||2020-05-03||Therapeutics and bio-manufacturing|
|Variation Biotechnologies Inc. (VBI)||ON||$55,976,000||$74,636,000||2020-08-05||Vaccines|
|Precision NanoSystems Inc.||BC||$18,203,000||$24,271,000||2020-10-23||Vaccines|
|Medicago Inc.||QC||$173,000,000||$428,002,000||2020-10-23||Vaccines and Bio-manufacturing|
|Edesa Biotech Research, Inc.||ON||$14,053,000||$18,738,000||2021-02-02||Therapeutics|
|Precision NanoSystems Inc.||BC||$25,112,000||$50,224,000||2021-02-02||Bio-manufacturing|
Process for project selection
In April, an open call for proposals was issued. Due to the complex scientific and technical nature of the proposals, after initial SIF assessment, the COVID-19 Vaccine Task force or the COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force composed of leading scientific and industry experts provided advice on proposals.
Announced projects descriptions
- Abcellera Biologics Inc. is in direct response to Canada's fight against COVID-19 and Canada's ability to respond to future pandemics. It will enable the rapid discovery of antibody therapies to treat and prevent COVID-19 and establish a Good Manufacturing Practice antibody production facility for Canada's long-term emergency preparedness.
- Variation Biotechnologies Inc.'s project to support the development of Canada's MCMs in immediate response to COVID-19. Variation Biotechnologies Inc. (VBI) will advance the development of an enveloped Virus-Like-Particle (eVLP) vaccine candidate for COVID-19 through pre-clinical studies and clinical trials.
- Precision NanoSystems Inc. will help advance the development of a ribonucleic acid (RNA) vaccine against COVID-19 through pre-clinical studies and clinical trials.
- Medicago's project advances a virus-like particle vaccine, developed on the company's unique plant-based production platform, through clinical trials. It will also establish a large-scale vaccine and antibody production facility to increase Canada's domestic bio-manufacturing capacity.
- Arch Biopartners' project advances Metablock, a treatment to help block inflammation in the lungs, liver and kidneys, through clinical trials II.
- Edesa Biotech Research, Inc. is developing a monoclonal antibody therapy (EB05) as a treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, the leading cause of death among COVID-19 patients.
- Precision NanoSystems Inc.'s project seeks to expand Canada's capabilities in the production of ribonucleic acid (RNA) vaccines and future genetic medicines, while enhancing Canada's biomanufacturing capacity.
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