The Canadian Critical Drug Initiative, led by Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation and the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute, receives $80.5M from federal government

17 March 2023

A scientist is putting liquid in a vial. 

Alberta’s burgeoning biomanufacturing and life sciences industry got an $80.5-million boost in federal funding today, putting it at the centre of efforts to commercialize new discoveries and give Canadians a reliable national supply of life-saving drugs, including antivirals.

The announcement gives the green light for the Canadian Critical Drug Initiative (CCDI) — a partnership between the not-for-profit Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) and the University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute (LKSAVI) — to create an integrated research, development and manufacturing cluster in Edmonton.

“This investment, through the Regional Innovation Ecosystem (RIE) program, provides these Canadian firms with the resources and support they need to grow our country’s expertise in the life sciences sector and increase Canada’s competitiveness in global markets,” said Dan Vandal, minister for Prairies Economic Development Canada, in today’s announcement. “Today’s launch of the Canadian Critical Drug Initiative will help enable Canadian innovators to strengthen our local supply chain for critical medicines while supporting the expansion of early-stage companies and creating good jobs.”

CCDI brings together governments, industry partners and research institutions from across Canada to research, develop, test and manufacture new drugs and produce widely used generic drugs that are chronically in short supply. It builds on the proven track record of Li Ka Shing members in developing diagnostics, vaccines and drugs. LKSAVI researchers have numerous discovery projects underway to treat or prevent hepatitis C, COVID-19, herpes viruses, cancer, group A streptococcus, Alzheimer’s disease and others. CCDI creates a commercialization pipeline so those discoveries can be tested and produced locally.

Read the full story in UAlberta's Folio