The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization has completed the construction of its Vaccine Development Centre, strengthening and expanding Canada's domestic biomanufacturing capacity.
The VDC will have manufacturing capabilities for human and animal vaccines and will support Canada's emergency response for possible future pandemics. As such, the center will play a key role in Canada's Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy.
Post construction, the VDC will undergo commissioning to ensure that the facility utilities and equipment operate as required and meet good manufacturing practice standards. GMP standards help ensure medicines are safely produced. The VDC will be one of only a few GMP biomanufacturing facilities in the world that produce vaccines under containment level 3.
The event on June 28, was attended by the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan; the Honourable Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan; and his worship Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon. The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, toured the facility in May.
"From the start of the pandemic, our Government took immediate action to protect Canadians and prepare for future pandemics," say Vandal. "We recognized the only way to move beyond the pandemic and keep people safe was through a coordinated, effective immunization campaign that included swift and reliable procurement from our government. At the same time, we are ensuring that Canadians, and the global community, have Canadian-produced vaccines to protect from future infectious disease outbreaks by investing $97.8 million from PrairiesCan since 2018, to help VIDO emerge as a world-class hub of research, development and vaccine manufacturing capacity. Through our investments in research at the University of Saskatchewan and partnerships with industry, we continue to build domestic vaccine production capacity right here in Saskatoon, helping keep Canadians safe."
Funding for the VDC was provided by the Government of Canada, Government of Saskatchewan, founding corporate partners and by individual and corporate private donations. The VDC is located within VIDO's containment level 3 facility (InterVac) which receives operational funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation under the Major Science Initiatives Fund.
"The Vaccine Development Centre expands VIDO's already-impressive ability to make scientific advancements protecting Canadians and the world from the threat of infectious diseases to humans and animals. VIDO now has expanded capacity to advance our global reputation in vaccine research and development for this and future pandemic threats," says Baljit Singh, vice-president research, University of Saskatchewan.
The VDC is the first step in establishing VIDO as Canada's Centre for Pandemic Research. This will also include an expanded scientific team, containment level 4 capacity and a new animal housing facility.
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