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BioAlliance welcomes federal budget commitment to bioscience sector

Budget 2021 demonstrates the strategic importance of Canada’s bioscience sector in economic recovery

Charlottetown, PE – The Prince Edward Island BioAlliance welcomes the Government of Canada’s investment in biotechnology innovation as a key priority area set to drive economic recovery for Canada following the COVID-19 pandemic. Budget 2021 includes recommendations that will improve access to investment capital, as well as commitments to refinance key funding programs and build bio-manufacturing capacity. These investments will enable the BioAlliance, along with academic and industry partners, to execute on key priorities over the next few years to grow the PEI Cluster.

Budget 2021 also demonstrates the importance of investing in skills and training for future economic growth. Last year the PEI BioAlliance launched the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) with support from the Government of Canada and the Government of PEI, as a regional and national initiative to help address the future skills demand of the bioscience sector, particularly in biopharmaceutical and biologics manufacturing.

“This budget demonstrates the federal government’s awareness of the importance of the bioscience and biotechnology sector in addressing some of the biggest challenges of our time,” said Oliver Technow, Chair, PEI BioAlliance Board of Directors, and CEO, BioVectra. “From the current pandemic and other human health needs, to climate change and global food security, these investments in Canada’s biotech sector will allow Canadian companies to bring solutions to the global marketplace.”

Budget 2021 proposes targeted support for the life sciences and bio-manufacturing sector including:

  • $1 billion on a cash basis over seven years, starting in 2021-22, of support through the Strategic Innovation Fund would be targeted toward promising domestic life sciences and bio-manufacturing firms.
  • $50 million on a cash basis over five years, starting in 2021-22, to create a life sciences stream in the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative, as part of a larger venture capital investment.
  • $500 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $100 million per year ongoing, to expand the Industrial Research Assistance Program to support up to 2,500 additional innovative small and medium-sized firms.
  • $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.
  • $250 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the federal research granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund.
  • $67.2 million over seven years, starting in 2021-22, to Environment and Climate Change Canada. This standard creates new economic opportunities for Canada’s biofuel producers, including farmers and foresters, who are part of the diverse supply chain for low-carbon fuels.

Over the past decade, the PEI Cluster has established itself as a centre of excellence in bioprocessing and is seeing an abundance of opportunity to expand its role in this critical area.

“The BioAlliance has previously identified a shortage of wet labs and manufacturing facilities, as well as the lack of systematic approach to bio sector skills and training as key factors limiting the potential growth of the sector, both in the province and across Canada,” said Rory Francis, CEO, PEI BioAlliance. “This budget has certainly put the resources in place to address these issues and ensure the bio sector is a major contributor to recovery and growth.”

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