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Three BC Life Sciences Companies to Watch

February 16, 2022

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British Columbia is proud of the incredible life sciences work that happens throughout the province. Our strong history of innovative life sciences initiatives is bolstered by talented and passionate people. British Columbia (B.C.) companies, research institutions, and government pushes technological advancements forward, especially in healthcare, which exemplifies B.C.’s leading capability of positively impacting the world.

Westcoast Life Sciences Scene

Vanrx, a Burnaby-based biopharmaceutical manufacturing firm, develops machines that can fill vials, syringes, and cartridges with no operators within a sterile environment. The technology gets medicine from the suppliers to consumers quicker than conventional methods and can accommodate liquid medicines from ranging from animal tranquilizers to messenger RNA drugs. Vanrx clients include Roche/Genentech and Moderna and is expected to expand to more companies since its recent acquisition by Cytiva, a prominent United States life sciences company.

The Government of Canada has budgeted $2.2 billion over the next seven years as part of a strategy to strengthen Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector. One Vancouver company that has obtained some of that funding is Precision NanoSystems Inc. (PNI). The company is receiving $25 million from the federal government to fund a new 50 million biomanufacturing facility that is set to be completed in 2023. This building will become PNI’s new global headquarters, and its key purpose is to increase Canada’s domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity. It is estimated that this new facility will be able to manufacture 240 million doses of vaccines annually.

Frightened of needles? Burnaby-based Symvivo Corp. might have an answer. Symvivo is researching the use of live bacteria to deliver vaccines, where they can encapsulate freeze-dried bacteria and the pills can be taken at home at room temperature. The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program is granting Symvivo $4.6 million in support of its bacTRL-Spike COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This innovation would vastly change the efficiency of providing booster doses to vaccinated citizens and relieve some of the pressure of healthcare workers who are pulled from other branches to staff vaccination sites.

British Columbia’s life sciences sector is supported by industry associations such as LifeSciences BC and the BC Tech Association, as well as research funding organizations such as Genome BC and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. With a plethora of investments and collaborations, the demand for the provincial life sciences sector continues to grow. Want the latest and greatest news from the life sciences sector? Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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