Increasing biomanufacturing capacity


The NRC's Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre is working to set up a Good Manufacturing Practices platform at its Royalmount Avenue biomanufacturing facility in Montreal to develop and scale up COVID‑19 vaccine candidates in Canada.

What we're doing

Our biomanufacturing facility, managed by the Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre, is used to develop and scale up processes to produce biological medicines. As part of its development capacity, the facility is equipped with pilot-scale bioreactors (200 L and 500 L), which will be operationally available to produce up to 100,000 doses of vaccine per month once one is available.

A $15 million investment has been provided by the Government of Canada for upgrades to the facility for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance, which will enable the NRC to produce vaccines for clinical trials in Canada. A further $29 million will support the second phase of critical operations to maintain the facility, as well as new equipment and infrastructure to fill and finish individual doses of vaccine.

The work to refine and certify quality systems at the facility will include:

  • bringing the existing facility up to GMP-compliant regulatory standards
  • installing equipment to expand capacity
  • managing information

Once the facility is GMP-compliant, it will be able to accelerate the scale-up production and testing of various types of vaccine candidates in the context of the current COVID‑19 outbreak, including protein-based, viral vector-based, and antibody-based products.

Project spotlight: NRC researchers mobilize to advance vaccine technologies against COVID-19

The NRC is working with a number of trusted partners both in Canada and internationally, as part of collective efforts to help find solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak. We're currently working with collaborators at VBI Vaccines (based in Massachusetts, with research operations in Ottawa), CanSino Biologics (based in Tianjin, China, with a Canadian subsidiary based in Toronto), and VIDO-InterVac (based at the University of Saskatchewan).

Read more about these important collaborations.

COVID‑19 resources for researchers and clinicians in Canada

In addition to ongoing research projects, the NRC is also a contributor to COVID‑19 Resources Canada, a web portal designed to help those working on COVID‑19-related research and development initiatives in Canada make connections and locate human resources, expertise, reagents, and equipment.

Since the portal's launch in March 2020, the number of volunteers more than doubled alongside its projects, opportunities, and initiatives. To date, the portal has recruited more than 3,400 volunteers. It features more than 160 COVID‑19-related projects and funding opportunities, and more than 150 relevant initiatives.

To learn more about the NRC research software engineer who helped develop and launch COVID‑19 Resources Canada, visit Behind the bench: Our COVID‑19 researchers.