At BIO 2023, Canada Showcases Multiple Strengths as a Biopharma Powerhouse

A Premier Destination for BioManufacturing

A low-cost, high-quality medical system for hosting clinical trials

A new generation of emerging companies as government funding and venture investment accelerate startup activity

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The nation of Canada, long known for its highly educated workforce and welcoming business environment, is emerging as a biopharma powerhouse as federal policies enacted at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic yield multiple benefits to startups, industry incumbents, educational institutions and researchers.

The Canada booth at BIO2023 is a showcase of biopharma accomplishment and forward thinking towards creating the most welcoming and productive biopharma environment in the world.

“At the start of the pandemic, our government stepped up with a powerful Biomanufacturing and Life Science Strategy,” said Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Starting with an emphasis on building our domestic capacity to develop and produce vaccines and therapeutics, we enacted ways to prepare Canada for the next biopharma challenges. In doing so, we’ve added to our nation’s strengths in research, innovation and biomanufacturing, enabling a new wave of emerging Canadian companies even as we welcome major investments from pharmaceutical multinationals.”

Among the key steps enacted by the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

More than $2 billion in investment in research, stem cell science, company creation and workforce training

Key investments in cell and gene therapies, RNA technology, and antibody therapeutics

A streamlined clinical trial regulatory scheme along with funding to subsidize the cost of trials

“With the increased awareness globally of the importance of having a competitive domestic biotech sector, the diversity, strength, and national scope of Canada’s biotech ecosystem represents a significant competitive advantage upon which to build, said Andrew Casey, President and CEO of BIOTECanada, the leading industry organization. “The federal government’s biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy and its corresponding investments are greatly enhancing Canada’s competitive position and attracting the investments of global biotech partners. Combined, the increase in investments and partnerships are enhancing the ability of Canadian biotech companies to scale up and ultimately deliver game changing solutions to meet the needs of these highly complex illnesses impacting people worldwide.” said Casey. “The Canadian biotech sector is having a generational moment which will benefit the world.”

Earlier this year, biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced a major expansion of its research footprint in Canada, bringing 500 new scientific and high-tech positions to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) with the expansion of its Research and Development (R&D) Hub, focused on leading global clinical studies in areas including breast, lung and prostate cancer, COVID-19, and chronic kidney disease. The investment also included the creation of a new AstraZeneca, Alexion Rare Disease Development Hub which focuses on rare disease research.

“The decision to invest in Canada is a testament to the network of world-class Canadian universities, hospitals, and research centers – as well as the incredibly diverse scientific talent pool that exists here,” said Kiersten Combs, president of AstraZeneca Canada. “We’re also pleased to see key steps by the Federal and Ontario governments to create a more supportive environment for the biopharmaceutical industry, and we look forward to continued collaboration to help improve the time for Canadian patients to access new medicines and build a more resilient healthcare system.”

The AstraZeneca R&D Hub in Mississauga, Ontario, is leading more than 120 global clinical studies across Oncology and Biopharmaceuticals. The Alexion Development Hub will focus on rare disease research in hematology, nephrology, neurology, metabolic disorders and ophthalmology.

Canada’s thriving biotech sector is illustrated by Zymeworks, a Vancouver-based developer of advanced antibody therapeutics for multiple types of cancer that has multiple drug candidates in advanced or pivotal clinical trials.

In other recent Canadian biopharma news:

Abcellera announced a $701 million dollar co-investment with the government;

Fusion Pharmaceuticals announced the opening of its new radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Hamilton, Ontario;

Aspect Biosystems announced a partnership with Novo Nordisk to produce bioprinted tissue therapeutics for diabetes. Aspect will receive $75 million from Novo Nordisk in initial payments, and Novo Nordisk could potentially give Aspect up to $650 million in future payments for each product arising from the partnership.

More than 1,000 convention attendees from Canada will help showcase the nation’s advantages as a leading biopharma industry destination.

The Canada Pavilion at BIO 2023 is located at Booth 2149 and will be staffed with senior trade representatives throughout the convention. To schedule a meeting with an official from the Canadian consulate general, contact Philip Bunsick at, 1(857) 272-1672.

About BIOTECanada

BIOTECanada is the national industry association with over 200 members located nationwide, reflecting the diverse nature of Canada’s health, industrial and agricultural biotechnology sectors. In addition to providing significant health benefits for Canadians, the biotechnology industry has quickly become an essential part of the transformation of many traditional cornerstones of the Canadian economy including manufacturing, automotive, energy, aerospace and forestry industries. Learn more at

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a focus on the discovery, development, and commercialization of medicines that transform lives, with a core scientific focus in the areas of Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic disease; Oncology; Rare Disease; Respiratory & Immunology; and Vaccine & Immune Therapies. AstraZeneca operates in more than 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

AstraZeneca Canada employs more than 1,300 people across Canada, with the majority of its employees located at its head office and clinical research hub in Mississauga, Ontario. The company is one of Canada’s leading R&D contributors, investing $135.6M in Canadian R&D in 2021. AstraZeneca was recognized for Best Workplace Culture in 2022 by the Canadian HR Awards and has been designated a Top Employer in the Greater Toronto Area for nine consecutive years. For more information, please visit the company’s website at

About Zymeworks

Zymeworks Inc. (Nasdaq: ZYME) is a global biotechnology company committed to the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel, multifunctional biotherapeutics. Zymeworks’ mission is to make a meaningful difference for people impacted by difficult-to-treat cancers and other serious diseases. Zymeworks’ complementary therapeutic platforms and fully integrated drug development engine provide the flexibility and compatibility to precisely engineer and develop highly differentiated antibody-based therapeutic candidates. Zymeworks engineered and developed zanidatamab, a HER2-targeted bispecific antibody using Zymeworks’ proprietary Azymetric™ technology. For information about Zymeworks, visit


Jim McManus

Slowey McManus Communications
(617 ) 413-9232