New agreement is a major milestone in the Government of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy and positions Canada as mRNA centre of excellence
August 10, 2021 – Montréal, Quebec
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced a major milestone in Canada’s strategy to rebuild the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector. The Government of Canada has established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with leading COVID-19 vaccine developer Moderna, Inc. to build a state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine production facility in Canada.
Canada has an impressive history in biomanufacturing and life sciences. However, a decades-long decline in the sector left Canada without the large-scale and flexible biomanufacturing capacity necessary to quickly produce a COVID-19 vaccine when the pandemic hit. This is why the government has worked tirelessly to rebuild Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing sector by focusing on both quick strategic actions and a long‑term vision. Since the start of the pandemic, over $1.2 billion has been invested to rebuild Canada’s vaccines, therapeutics and biomanufacturing capacity.
The MOU outlines how Moderna plans to establish a Canadian mRNA vaccine facility and work as a valued partner in Canada’s life sciences ecosystem by creating jobs and collaborating on domestic research and development. This partnership will help make sure Canada is more prepared for future pandemics, while creating good, highly skilled jobs.
Canada already has a strong foundation in mRNA research, development and commercialization. Canadian science excellence in vaccine technologies contributed to the discovery and use of mRNA technology, and Moderna, as a pioneering company, has always been at the forefront of its development. This announcement will contribute to the development of Canadian expertise and foster partnerships between the company and Canadian experts. This will help position Canada as an mRNA centre of excellence and a global mRNA research and development hub.
Moderna’s plans to establish an mRNA vaccine production facility in Canada align with the objectives of the recently announced Biomanufacturing and Life Science Strategy. The move will help strengthen the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector’s entire
value chain—from research and development, to talent acquisition and retention, to increased clinical trial capacity—and make Canada’s overall industrial capability stronger.
―COVID-19 vaccines have saved Canadian lives and helped us all to start getting back to normal. Moderna’s plans to establish a state-of-the-art vaccine facility here in Canada is a key move in our plan to grow a strong, competitive domestic life sciences sector with cutting-edge biomanufacturing capabilities. This will make sure Canada is prepared for future pandemics and other health emergencies, strengthen our economy and create good jobs for Canadians.‖
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
―This partnership strengthens the capacity for Canada to produce vaccines at home. By supporting Canada’s biomanufacturing sector, we are protecting Canadians, strengthening our pandemic preparedness and creating jobs. Our support for Moderna will give Canadians world-class access to vaccines made on Canadian soil for years to come.‖
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health
―I want to thank the Government of Canada for the exceptional partnership it has built with Moderna during the pandemic response. As Moderna expands internationally, we see Canada as an important partner, and we are delighted to be able to help the country ensure local supply and manufacturing capability of breakthrough mRNA technology on Canadian soil.‖
– Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer, Moderna
· Growing Canada’s life sciences and biomanufacturing sector is a priority that goes beyond responding to COVID-19. The government’s investments in this growing sector support thousands of good middle-class jobs while securing Canada’s pandemic preparedness for years to come.
· Moderna is a pioneering biotechnology company specializing in messenger RNA therapeutics and vaccines. The company will contribute to Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy by drawing on its mRNA manufacturing expertise and by enhancing existing Canadian strengths in RNA research and nanomedicine technology development.
· Moderna has a strong record of collaborating with public and academic entities in the United States and Europe on disease research, and it is expected to extend
its collaborations to Canada’s leading research universities and institutions for the next 10 years.
· On July 28, the government launched Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, which presents a long‑term vision to protect Canadians against future epidemics and pandemics.
· Budget 2021 provides a total of $2.2 billion over seven years toward growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector and securing pandemic preparedness. This budget funding provides foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems as well as foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms, including:
o $59.2 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, for VIDO to develop its vaccine candidates and expand its facility in Saskatoon;
o $500 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support the bioscience capital and infrastructure needs of post-secondary institutions and research hospitals;
o $250 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for the federal research granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund;
o $92 million over four years, starting in 2021–22, for adMare to support company creation, scale-up and training activities in the life sciences sector;
o $45 million over three years, starting in 2022–23, to the Stem Cell Network to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research;
o $250 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for a clinical trials fund; and
$1 billion over seven years, starting in 2021–22, through the Strategic Innovation Fund.