Feds to provide $600 million for SIF to fund private sector trials of COVID-19 therapies

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The federal government is investing $600 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund over two years to support vaccine and therapy clinical trials in the private sector as well as bio-manufacturing opportunities.

Along with the $1.1 billion investment, the government has established a COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.

The SIF funding is part of a larger $1.1 billion investment announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday. The funding is aimed to support new medical countermeasures to better understand the virus and develop the infrastructure needed to fight it. The government is also providing $10 million to a new data monitoring initiative.

“We are making sure that Canada remains at the forefront of scientific research to help us make smart and effective decisions on the path to recovery,” Trudeau said.

SIF was created to support business investments in Canada. It is now focusing on supporting projects to advance Canada’s medical countermeasures in the fight against COVID-19. On March 23, the government committed $192 million to new projects prioritized under the new SIF COVID-19 stream. This most recent vaccine investment is in addition to $275 million announced for the same purpose in March.

SIF was created in the March 2017 federal budget with $1.26 billion, and since then, the government has added about $1.2 billion in five streams. The fifth stream of SIF was opened in June 2019, to support large initiatives that create high-impact collaborations and partnerships in Canadian ecosystems.

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As part of the $1 billion in new research funding, the federal government will also invest $10 million for a data monitoring initiative to coordinate and share pandemic-related data across the country and enhance Canada’s pandemic response.

The $1.1 billion is also composed of the following investments:

  • $40 million for the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network to coordinate a COVID-19 viral and host genome sequencing effort.
  • $23 million for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
  • $29 million for the National Research Council of Canada to begin the second phase of upgrades to its Human Health Therapeutics facility in Montréal.
  • $10.3 million over two years, and $5 million ongoing, to support the Canadian Immunization Research Network in conducting vaccine-related research and clinical trials.
  • $114.9 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for research projects that will develop, test, and implement medical and social countermeasures to the pandemic.

Along with the $1.1 billion investment, the government has established a COVID-19 Immunity Task Force that will include Dr. David Naylor, Dr. Catherine Hankins, Dr. Tim Evans, Dr. Theresa Tam, and Dr. Mona Nemer.

The task force is mandated to oversee the coordination of blood test surveys that will reveal how widely the virus has spread in Canada and provide reliable estimates of potential immunity and vulnerabilities in Canadian populations.

Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Collision via Sportsfile.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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