Canada’s biotechnology and life sciences industry is experiencing rapid growth and development, making it a global hub for scientific research and innovation.
Canada’s biotechnology sector has recently gained international recognition for its unique strengths and capabilities and as a key player in the development of innovative solutions across healthcare, agriculture, and environmental challenges. Several factors contribute to Canada’s biotech success, and this unique ecosystem is shaping the biotechnology sector worldwide.
Canada is home to numerous world-class research institutions and universities that conduct cutting-edge research and create a strong research network of life sciences and biotechnology collaborators. These institutions join forces with biotech companies, providing a steady stream of new discoveries and innovations that help fuel the industry’s growth.
The University of Toronto is a globally recognized institution with a robust biotechnology program. Their Master of Biotechnology program combines coursework in science and business, providing students with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in the biotech industry. The University of Toronto is also most famously the home base of Drs Frederick Banting and Charles Best, who in 1921 discovered insulin which has since become a life-saving treatment for millions of people with diabetes worldwide.
McGill University also offers a Biotechnology Master’s degree program that focuses on molecular biology, biochemistry, and chemical engineering, preparing participants for a wide range of careers in the biotechnology sector. McGill alumnus, Dr. Martin Yaffe, is the co-inventor of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT), an advanced imaging technology for breast cancer detection. DBT provides a more accurate diagnosis by generating 3D images of breast tissue, helping to identify cancer at an earlier stage.
As well, the University of British Columbia, situated in Vancouver, offers a Masters of Biomedical Engineering. This program provides students with a solid foundation in biotechnology principles and applications, along with opportunities for research and industry collaboration. Dr. Gilly Regev, a UBC alumnus, co-founded a company that has developed a nitric oxide-based nasal spray for the prevention and early treatment of COVID-19. The spray, named Enovid, has received regulatory approval in several countries and has shown promising results in clinical trials.
In addition to these education programs, Canada boasts a highly educated and skilled workforce with expertise in various aspects of biotechnology, including research, product development, and commercialization.
Canada has several specialized research centers and clusters, such as the Toronto-based MaRS Discovery District and Vancouver’s Life Sciences Centre, which offer state-of-the-art facilities and resources for biotechnology research and commercialization.
The Canadian government plays a critical role in fostering a vibrant biotech ecosystem. Various federal and provincial programs provide funding, tax incentives, and support for research, development, and commercialization of biotechnology products and services. The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program encourages R&D by offering tax credits to eligible companies.
Researchers and developers in Life Sciences and Biotechnology are constantly engaging in lifesaving and life-changing scientific research and experimental development. Much of this work involves the traditional scientific method – which is one of the hallmarks of a potentially eligible SR&ED project.
The SR&ED program is the largest single source of funding for research and development provided by the federal government. Tax rules also now allow companies with a taxable income of up to $10 million to receive the full 35% tax refund for their eligible expenditures. This is great news for small and medium-sized life science and biotechnology corporations in Canada.
Additionally, organizations like the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) provide funding and resources for biotechnology projects, further bolstering the industry’s growth.
A Diverse Industry
Canadian biotech companies work across various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, environmental, and industrial biotechnology. This diversity allows the industry to capitalize on synergies and cross-sector innovations, making it more resilient and adaptable to changing market conditions.
Canada also offers robust IP protection for biotechnology innovations, with a patent system that supports and encourages the development and commercialization of new technologies. This protection is essential for attracting investments and fostering a competitive environment for biotech companies.
Overall, the unique nature of biotech in Canada can be attributed to a combination of factors, including strong research infrastructure, government support, a skilled workforce, and a collaborative culture. These elements have helped establish Canada as a global leader in biotechnology and a key player in the development of innovative solutions for healthcare, agriculture, and environmental challenges.
If your company is engaged in and owns the intellectual property rights associated with the development or improvement of equipment, mathematical algorithms, computer programs, and biological products, you need to talk to one of our experienced SRED Unlimited consultants.
SRED Unlimited has 15+ years of experience helping companies submit claimable projects, even projects they didn’t think were eligible. Claims can be made up to 18 months past fiscal year-end. It costs you nothing to have a consultation to see if any of your work is eligible.