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Biotechnology Industry in Canada

Chem Chem

The Canadian biotechnology industry is fast-growing and is one of the main high tech sectors to drive innovation and growth and to attract capital.


The Biotechnology Industry Data Survey shows that more than half (56 percent) of companies are health biotech, followed by research & development services (25 percent) and agricultural biotech (17 percent). Industrial biotech companies account for 14 percent while businesses in the diagnostics sector make for 13 percent. Other sectors are healthcare IT (5 percent), environmental biotechnology (6 percent), and functional food and natural health (13 percent).

Government Programs and Assistance

The Scientific Research & Experimental Development Program is a government program that offers tax incentives to advance research and development. Qualifying businesses are allowed to deduct expenses that are incurred for scientific research and experimental development. Eligible applicants include members of partnerships, trusts and individuals, corporations, and Canadian private corporations. Another option to finance a biotech startup is to apply for a grant. Grants are offered under the Industrial Research Development Program ( to companies with a focus on innovation and technology. Financial assistance is available under youth employment strategy programs and technology innovation projects, and there are certain criteria to qualify. Businesses that meet the criteria are those that require funding to expand through the development and sale of innovative, tech-based processes, services, and products. Eligible applicants include medium-sized and small companies with up to 500 employees. Applications are assessed based on factors such as technical aspects, financial standing, potential, management. Other options to obtain financing include bank loans and credit (, secured credit ( venture capital, angel investors, and private investors.

Businesses specialize in biological containment, cell analysis, blood flow quantification, and site specific immunomodulators. There are also companies with a focus on protein quantification, immune-oncology therapies, nuclear acid purification, and vaccine delivery technologies. A number of companies operate in Canada, among which Emergent Biosolutions, MRM Proteomics, Sirona Biochem, Applied Biological Materials. MRM Proteomics, for example, offers a range of services such as metabolic profiling, protein biomarker discovery, and protein quantification. Founded in 2010, the company also specializes in tissue imaging and protein characterization. Sirona Biochem is also a biotech company that specializes in protein inducers, skin lighteners, and sodium glucose co-transporter inhibitors. Applied Biological Materials is another biotech company that offers a wide range of services and products, including exome and whole genome sequencing, custom gene synthesis, stable cell line generation. The company also offers a range of products such as recombinant proteins, secondary and primary antibodies, and stem cell antibodies. Kane Biotech specializes in biofilm prevention to destroy bacteria. The goal is to break down biofilm which increases the risk for urinary tract infections, medical device infections, food-borne illnesses, inflammatory skin disorders. There are also companies that specialize in small molecules, including Appili Therapeutics, Waverley Pharma, Novelion Therapeutics, and Achieve Life Sciences.

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There are professionals in high demand, and businesses find it difficult to hire skilled personnel. Such positions are in fields such as regulatory affairs, business development, and clinical and medical development. Professionals with a biotechnology background can choose from different positions such as regulatory affairs specialist, biotech analyst, and category management specialist. Other positions include field applications scientist, quality compliance specialist, medical advisor, and clinical project manager.