Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Prion Research Institute, Alexandria Venture Investments, Amana Global Partners, Amplitude Ventures, Angelini Pharma, Braxia Scientific, Business Development Bank of Canada, Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, CellCAN Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network (CellCAN), Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, China Grand Pharmaceutical, CNL Science Collaboration Centre, Colorado State University, Communitech Corporation, Deep Genomics, Dettwiler and Associates, federal government, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Fondaction, Fonds de solidarite FTQ, Genome Alberta, Genome Canada, Government of Canada, Healthcare Holdings, Investissement Quebec, Kensington Capital Partners, Khosla Ventures, Lethbridge College, Lumira Ventures, MacDonald, Magnetic Ventures, Margaret Gunn Endowment for Animal Research, McMaster University, National Institutes of Health, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGEN), Northleaf |Capital Partners, Ontario Capital Growth Corporation, Royal Bank of Canada, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Teralys Capital, True Ventures, University of Alberta, University of Saskatchewan, University of Southern California, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), Vancity, Western Economic Diversification Canada, and Western University



The Short Report - August 4, 2021: Ottawa's new biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy, a national startup job board, rural transit solutions, and more

Cindy Graham
August 4, 2021


The Government of Canada has launched its new biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy, which includes a more than $2.2 billion investment over seven years from Budget 2021. The strategy is meant to ensure preparedness for future pandemics and to grow a competitive domestic life sciences sector through the following five pillars: coordinated governance, strengthening research systems, growing business, building public capacity and enabling innovation by ensuring world-class regulation. – GoC

The CellCAN Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine are launching the Canadian Advanced Therapies Training Institute (CATTI) to help meet the demand for highly-qualified personnel in the biomanufacturing industry including for cancer immunotherapies, cell and gene therapies, vaccines and other biotherapeutic applications. – CCRM

Related: Coalition pushes federal government for $500 million investment in stem cell cures

Toronto-based Braxia Scientific CEO Dr. Roger McIntyre and chief medical and scientific officer Dr. Josh Rosenblat have received more than $900,000 in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to evaluate the effectiveness of intravenous ketamine when used in combination with internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) to rapidly reduce suicidality in persons with depression compared to using iCBT alone. – Newswire 

Dr. Vladimir Hachinski, professor of clinical neurological sciences at Western University, is leading an initiative with scientists from across Canada, the U.K. and New Zealand thanks to support from the Weston Family Foundation’s Transformational Research 2020 Grant, which aims to develop cost-effective models for prevention by examining all the relevant factors associated with dementia prevention at once. – Western U.

France has issued a three-month moratorium on prion research after a retired lab worker who worked with prions was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the most common prion disease in humans. In Canada, researchers from the University of Alberta's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are collaborating with groups including Colorado State University and VIDO (Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan) on a vaccine strategy to deal with chronic wasting disease (CWD), a prion disease of elk and deer, which is exploding amid new research indicating there is a risk it can infect humans. Funding sources for these projects include Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Prion Research Institute (APRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Genome Canada/Genome Alberta, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Margaret Gunn Endowment for Animal Research. – University of Calgary


The Government of Canada has launched a fund dedicated to developing solutions for transit in rural and remote communities. The new Rural Transit Solutions Fund will provide $250 million over 5 years to help Canadians in rural and remote areas get around communities more easily and support the development of rural transit solutions that can be replicated or scaled up such as on-demand services, publicly-owned electric vehicle ride shares, and volunteer community car-pooling. The fund is part of the nearly $15-billion public transit investment announced in February for public transit infrastructure projects over the next eight years, and funding of $3 billion per year on an ongoing basis beginning in 2026-27. – GoC

The federal government is investing $5 million through Western Economic Diversification Canada's Regional Innovation Ecosystem program to accelerate the growth of small- and medium-sized technology firms across Alberta over the next three years. The funding compliments an investment of up to $25 million from Alberta Innovates, bringing total funding for the initiative to up to $30 million. – GoC

Next Generation (NGen) Manufacturing Canada has announced funding for new projects that will expand advanced manufacturing technology clusters in small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across Canada. The projects range from creating new associations to increasing capacity within existing clusters to generate new business opportunities. The funding will scale the impact of investments and extend benefits to over 1,700 SMEs involved in NGen-funded networks and industry associations. – Globe Newswire

Waterloo-based tech innovator Communitech Corporation has acquired a non-profit called Prospect to help Canadian startups and scaleups find global tech talent as one of its initiatives to help Canadian tech companies prepare for returning to the office. – Communitech

Construction has started on the new Science Collaboration Centre at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' (CNL) Chalk River campus. The centre will serve as a data centre and the central planning and collaboration space for CNL’s science and technology programs and is scheduled for completion in spring, 2023. – CNL

The Government of Canada has signed a new contract worth more than $35 million with Brampton-based space technology company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) for the design of external robotics interfaces that will allow the Canadarm3 to operate on the U.S.-led Lunar Gateway, a small space station that will orbit the moon. This is the third contract awarded to MDA for the multi-year, $1-billion-plus Canadarm3 program. – MDA

Related: Industry lauds long-awaited space strategy, but details on timelines and funding still needed.


Toronto-based startup Deep Genomics has secured $226 million in series C funding for an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that decodes and prioritizes RNA therapies for genetic diseases. The round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 (London, UK) with participation from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Fidelity Management & Research (Boston), Alexandria Venture Investments (Los Angeles), Amplitude Ventures (Montreal), Khosla Ventures (Menlo Park, California), Magnetic Ventures (San Francisco), and True Ventures (San Francisco). – Deep Genomics

Biomedical innovation-focused VC company Lumira Ventures (Toronto) has raised $276 million in its latest round and formed a strategic venture fund backed by $44 million from Italian pharmaceutical company Angelini Pharma. Fund investors include Kensington Capital Partners (Toronto), Fonds de Solidarité FTQ (Montreal), Northleaf Capital Partners (Toronto), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (Quebec City), Business Development Bank of Canada, Teralys Capital (Montreal), the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation, Royal Bank of Canada, Investissement Québec (Quebec City), Fondaction (Montreal), Alexandria Venture Investments (Pasadena), Angelini Pharma (Rome), China Grand Pharmaceutical (Hong Kong) and Healthcare Holdings (Nashville), Vancity (Vancouver), and Amana Global Partners (Dubai). – Lumira


Dr. Ishwar Puri, former dean of engineering at McMaster University, is the new vice president, research at the University of Southern California. Puri has been the dean of engineering at McMaster since 2013 and Dr. Heather Sheardown is now the acting dean. – McMaster

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