New national biomedical innovation hub being led by UBC at its Vancouver campus

Click to play video: 'Research hub led by UBC to develop drugs for future pandemics'
Research hub led by UBC to develop drugs for future pandemics
The federal government has announced funding for a new B.C. research hub led by UBC, that will create a development pipeline for drugs to combat future pandemics and many other diseases. Grace Ke reports – Mar 15, 2023

Canada’s biomedical sector is getting a “major boost” as the federal government, along with the University British Columbia, announced Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Manufacturing Hub (CIEBH) will be in B.C. Wednesday.

UBC researchers and staff will be leading the centre, which will focus on bringing partners together in collaboration for the development and manufacturing of “next generation immune-based therapeutics,” UBC staff said in a release.

A primary goal of CIEBH is to establish a seamless drug development pipeline that will enable Canada to respond to future pandemics and other health challenges in fewer than 100 days.

“This hub will build on the strengths of B.C.’s biotech and life sciences industry, and those of our national and global partners, to make Canada a world leader in the development of lifesaving medicines,” said Dr. Deborah Buszard, UBC’s interim president and vice-chancellor.

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“It’s about creating a healthier future for all Canadians. Together, with our outstanding alliance of partners, we will ensure Canada is prepared to respond rapidly to future health challenges with homegrown solutions.”

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The hub is one of five new centres across Canada that will improve pandemic readiness and the overall health and well-being of Canadians, federal officials said, and will be funded by the $570 million federal announcement which will be available over four years.

The investment is part of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, made in response due to a “decades long decline” in Canada’s domestic biopharmaceutical industry which was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic when domestic vaccines were not able to be produced.

“This is why the federal government is working tirelessly to rebuild Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing sector by focusing on both quick strategic actions and a long-term vision,” a joint message from Canada’s federal ministers said in a release.

“Canada’s strategy is already yielding results, as we have successfully supported investments that will add capacity across a range of vaccine platforms and production processes — like RNA vaccine development and production, protein-based vaccines, viral vector manufacturing capacity, and new fill and finish capabilities.”

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The new centre, which is located on UBC’s Vancouver campus, will have teams of Canadian scientists, researchers and biopharmaceutical companies working together to create, develop and manufacture lifesaving medicines.

“The Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub (CIEBH) is a testament to Canada’s commitment to innovation and collaboration and will position our country as a global leader in developing immune-based therapeutics,” said the Hon. Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

“With its seamless drug development pipeline, CIEBH will help ensure Canada is prepared to respond to future pandemics and health challenges with leading-edge homegrown solutions found right here at the University of British Columbia.”

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