The Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island (PEI) will invest $50 million in the BioAccelerator, the largest single investment in economic development infrastructure in PEI history.
The announcement was made by Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages, who oversees Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and Premier Dennis King.
Led by the PEI BioAlliance, the new 75,000 sq.-ft. biomanufacturing center of expertise is unique in Canada in its design and service delivery components.
The BioAccelerator will enable Canadian bioscience companies to carry out research and new product development, process development, manufacturing scale up, as well as provide access to biopharmaceutical manufacturing skills and training.
“Today’s announcement is an exceptional endorsement of the hard work and vision of leaders from our cluster’s business, research, and government organizations and their commitment to sustainable economic growth,” said Rory Francis, CEO, PEI BioAlliance. “The BioAccelerator will provide essential biomanufacturing facilities and services for businesses across the region and beyond, that are critical to business growth and biomanufacturing self-sufficiency for Canada.”
Located in the BioCommons Research Park in Charlottetown, the BioAccelerator builds upon recent public and private sector investments such as BIOVECTRA’s expansion into the development of mRNA-Vaccines and biomanufacturing facilities, the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL), and the BioManufacturing Incubator.
It will also provide biomanufacturing infrastructure to advance the bioscience and life sciences ecosystem at both the regional and national level.
In addition, the BioAccelerator will supply capacity and expertise to support fermentation and downstream bioprocessing in areas of biologics, probiotics, natural product chemistry-derived products, and animal and fish health products. These are areas where capacity is extremely limited in North America and especially so in Canada.
Tenants in the BioAccelerator will include early-stage companies, small, and medium size enterprises from Atlantic Canada, across Canada, and from international locations. It will also include the facilities and expertise of the National Research Council of Canada’s atypical fermentation labs as well as Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL), providing hands-on biopharmaceutical manufacturing training for the talent pipeline that will be essential to Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy. The BioAccelerator will be CASTL’s national headquarters and expanded lead training facility.
“Prince Edward Island continues to play a key role in expanding Canada’s bioscience innovation ecosystem,” said Minister Petitpas Taylor. “Attracting more leading bioscience companies to Atlantic Canada is a key opportunity to grow and strengthen the bioscience cluster in our region. This will bring new high-skilled jobs, opportunities for advanced training, and the development of innovative new ideas and cutting-edge research.”
The bioeconomy is an important economic driver for Atlantic Canada, and critical to PEI’s economic diversification.
The Atlantic sector consists of approximately 900 organizations, including commercial businesses, hospital and university research institutions, and employed 10,800 people in 2019. The private sector alone employs approximately 5,500 people in a diverse range of companies, from start-ups to multinationals.
“By investing in today, we’re preparing for a stronger tomorrow that will have a positive and lasting impact on the Island’s economy and people,” said Premier Dennis King. “This facility demonstrates what we can accomplish when we work together, believe in the possibilities, and share a vision for a prosperous Prince Edward Island.”
The BioAccelerator is a key element in the PEI BioAlliance’s plan to build out the province’s capacity and reputation as a national centre of expertise in biomanufacturing.
“The BioAccelerator will create a unique space for bioscience businesses to flourish, accelerating new product development and commercialization to advance solutions that can improve health and food security,” said Oliver Technow, board chair, PEI BioAlliance, and CEO, BIOVECTRA. “This investment positions Atlantic Canada as a leading force in Canada’s bio-revolution.”