B.C. government invests $7.8 million in local life sciences

The funding will be deployed in a trio of projects across Metro Vancouver.

B.C. Minister Brenda Bailey. Photo credit: BCGovPhotos on Flikr.

The B.C. government is investing $7.8 million in B.C. life sciences through a trio of projects. Chief among those is a new clinical trials unit (CTU) that will allow life sciences companies and researchers to test their discoveries within the province. Expanding B.C.’s clinical trial capacity and capabilities is part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy.

Who’s getting what

The Province is investing $4.2 million to create a six-bed unit for Phase 1 clinical trials at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital in Vancouver, which is operated by Providence Health Care, to be operational in late 2024. It will be the only non-cancer Phase 1 CTU in Western Canada.

The Province is also providing $2.4 million to UBC to support the establishment of an endowed research chair focused on accelerating the province’s capacity to design and conduct trials of next-generation therapeutics. The new chair will provide academic leadership for the CTU and lead an integrated research and education program in clinical pharmacology at UBC. The chair will also work to establish a new residency training program in clinical pharmacology that will strengthen the talent pipeline of clinical researchers and clinical trial investigators in the province.

Michael Smith Health Research BC, the province’s health research agency, will seek opportunities to leverage and support these initiatives as they contribute to a world-class destination for clinical trials. The agency will contribute an additional $1.2 million.

Who’s saying what

“The new clinical trials unit will give significant opportunities for B.C.’s life sciences companies to keep their teams and intellectual property here at home,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “Successful clinical trials will also lead to new business agreements with pharma companies that will better position us to commercialize new, life-changing drugs and treatments for people in B.C. and around the world.”

“Growing B.C.’s capacity for clinical trials is not only going to further scientific advancement, it is going to save lives,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “By investing in the new clinical trials unit, we are paving the way for groundbreaking life sciences innovation that will advance health care in our province for years to come and help more patients in B.C. achieve better health outcomes.”

“Strengthening B.C.'s early-stage clinical trials ecosystem will advance life-saving medicines for patients by fostering collaboration between researchers, clinicians and industry experts,” said Anne Stevens, vice-president of business development, AbCellera. “This project will also help position B.C. as a leading destination for clinical trials, which will attract investments and partnerships from global biopharmaceutical companies.”

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