FILE - A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)

FILE - A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)

‘This is beyond my expectations,’ Champagne says of Canadian biomanufacturer rebound

Several drug companies have announced plans to produce vaccine products in Canada

OTTAWA — While Canada still has a way to go to rebuild its biomanufacturing sector, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says it has rebounded beyond his initial expectations in the last several months.

At the outset of the pandemic, Canada’s lack of biomanufacturing capability came into sharp focus, and the incapacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines domestically caused some major initial stumbles in the country’s early vaccine rollout.

Champagne says his vision was to rebuild the sector based on the different families of vaccines, as well as improve the capacity for contract manufacturers in Canada.

Canada’s $173 million investment in Medicago’s plant-based vaccine is likely to come to fruition before the end of the year, as the company announces clinical results that shows 88 per cent efficacy against the Gamma variant and more than 75 per cent efficacy against the Delta variant.

Along with Medicago, several drug companies have announced plans to produce their vaccine products in Canada, including Moderna, Sanofi, and Novavax, while Merck Canada announced yesterday it plans to produce it’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment in Ontario.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2021.

vaccines