Vaccine developer to set up shop at new Montreal facility, says PM

Canada signs first deal for manufacture of foreign COVID-19 vaccine

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne, whose portfolio includes the NRC, said the new facilities will take several months to be approved by Health Canada, and Novavax's vaccine will start production there "by the end of the year".

The U.S. company is still doing clinical trials of its vaccine but if Health Canada approves it, a new National Research Council facility in Montreal will begin pumping out Novavax doses when the building is finished later this year.

The commitment involves an investment of up to to $25.1 million to Precision NanoSystems Incorporated (PNI), a Vancouver-based biotechnology company, to expand our ability to produce ribonucleic acid vaccines and future genetic medicines in Canada.

Canada is on track to getting everyone who wants the vaccine, vaccinated by September, he said, while announcing the production of the COVID-19 vaccine, which he called a "major step" forward in getting the vaccine made in Canada for Canadians.

When it comes to vaccine supply, Canada is now at the mercy of foreign governments, which could at any time slam the doors shut to vaccine exports until their own people are vaccinated. The federal government later increased that purchase agreement, committing to buy at least 76 million doses of the two-dose product, according to a company statement.

Meanwhile, the European Union plans to restrict export of the vaccine.

Nanovax will produce their vaccine at the National Research Council's Royalmount facility.

VIDO (Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization) Intervac expects to produce 40 million doses annually.

More details are also expected on making some COVID-19 therapeutic drugs at other facilities in Canada.

Novavax had just submitted their vaccine for Health Canada's approval late last week. Trudeau has promised that Canada won't be affected, but has said he's only received verbal assurances, not written, legal agreements.

Novavax reported last week that its vaccine candidate was 89 per cent effective in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United Kingdom, and 60 per cent effective in South Africa, where most infections from a different variant come from. Sanofi pumps out millions of doses of vaccine in Toronto for diseases like whooping cough, polio and tetanus, while GSK's Quebec plant is where Canada gets most of its annual flu vaccine.

On Tuesday, the prime minister noted that while COVID-19 cases have been declining nationwide for three weeks, the country is still far from returning to some sense of normalcy, restating that vaccinations will be central to that eventual resumption of pre-pandemic life.



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