About biomanufacturing and life sciences in Canada

What are biomanufacturing and life sciences?

The term life sciences refers to any scientific discipline or study that deals with living organisms, their life processes, and their interrelationships, in our case the medical applications of living organisms.

Biomanufacturing refers to a type of manufacturing that uses living systems (like plants or animal cells) as its base. Vaccines and therapeutics are made in biomanufacturing facilities - think of an automotive plant, but instead of using steel to make cars, biologic materials are used to make vaccines.

Overview of Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences industry

Canada has a rich tradition in the biomanufacturing and life sciences industry, and has played an essential role in the development and global production of biopharmaceuticals for the better part of the 20th century. However, during the 1980s, the country began to focus on other areas of research and development in the life sciences sector. In 1973, less than 20% of Canada's vaccines and therapeutic drugs were supplied through imports. Today, Canada imports 85% of its requirements.

A strong domestic biomanufacturing and life sciences sector is critical to ensuring Canada’s future pandemic readiness. As a result, the Government of Canada is investing in “Made in Canada” projects to ensure Canadians are protected from COVID-19, and to fight future pandemics that may arise.

Investments in biomanufacturing and life sciences will:

  • enhance capacity to manufacture Canadian and international vaccine and therapeutic candidates
  • create good, well-paying jobs and provide long-term economic benefits to Canadians
  • minimize supply chain risks and border disruptions
  • secure Canada's role as an integral part of the international biologics supply chain
  • ensure adherence to high-quality manufacturing standards, which are key to Health Canada's approval process
  • create a long-term approach for Canada's pandemic preparedness

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