ONTARIO, OCTOBER 24: The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on Friday announced an investment of up to $173 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) in Quebec City-based Medicago to support Canada’s response to COVID-19 and future preparedness.
The project, valued at a total of $428 million, will advance Medicago’s 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 biomanufacturing capacity, the PM office said in a release.
“As we continue to safely restart our economy, we will do whatever it takes to protect Canadians from COVID-19 and build a country that is healthier and safer for everyone. This is why we are supporting our biomanufacturing sector, through companies like Medicago and Precision NanoSystems, to develop a reliable, made-in-Canada vaccine,” PM Justin Trudeau said in a statement.
The government has signed an agreement with Medicago to secure up to 76 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, enough to vaccinate 38 million people. This is the first domestically developed vaccine candidate the Government of Canada has secured.
The government will also invest up to $18.2 million in Vancouver-based biotechnology company Precision NanoSystems Incorporated (PNI) through the SIF. This investment will support a $24.27-million project to help advance the development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate through pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. The government is also providing up to $23.2 million in funding through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to advance six COVID-19 vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials, added the release.
The Government of Canada has now signed agreements with Medicago, AstraZeneca, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer, and Moderna.
Agreements signed to date will secure access to up to 358 million doses of their different COVID-19 vaccine candidates. At this time, there are three vaccine candidates currently under review and many others in clinical trials and in development.