The COVID-19 pandemic called to light the importance of increasing Canada's domestic capacity to produce vaccines in times of crisis. One of the Government of Canada's key early investments was the construction of the Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Montréal. It will ensure vaccines and other biologics can be safely manufactured here at home, in a facility compliant with good manufacturing practices (GMP).
While the new biomanufacturing facility was built in response to COVID-19, its potential uses reach far beyond the current pandemic. Unique to Canada, the Biologics Manufacturing Centre was built to fulfil a public-good mandate. This means it will focus on public-interest projects, such as the production of drugs for rare diseases, to support the health of Canadians and protect those at high risk. By collaborating on these projects with industry and academic partners, the Biologics Manufacturing Centre will support the continued growth of Canada's biomanufacturing sector, while retaining domestic biomanufacturing knowledge and capacity.
The public-good mandate also means that if another pandemic strikes, the Biologics Manufacturing Centre will be ready to pivot to produce cell-based vaccines or other drugs to keep Canadians safe. Working with a vaccine sponsor, teams at the facility would complete the technology transfer and other preparations required for emergency production as efficiently as possible. And they would do so while continuing to meet the rigorous requirements for GMP compliance that ensure products are safe and effective for human use.
With the infrastructure, equipment and expertise now in place at the Biologics Manufacturing Centre, Canada is in a much better position to protect the health of Canadians going forward.
"We have seen the federal government quickly move to grow our domestic biomanufacturing capacity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing the Biologics Manufacturing Centre to life means we can utilize the know-how from the best academic institutions in Canada and private industry to further advance health security in Canada. This is an important step toward rebuilding our domestic capacity to produce critical medicines and vaccines during public health emergencies, and history has proven this industry must be nurtured to thrive."