Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), one of the Canadian government’s Innovation Superclusters, has approved its first project, a collaborative undertaking with total costs of $4.2M, led by iVexSol Canada (Intelligent Vector Solutions).
NGen will provide $1.89M to develop a new manufacturing process for viral vectors, which are crucial components in the treatment of cancers and rare diseases.
iVexSol Canada is a newly formed company specializing in a next-generation, stable, viral vector production process. With support from the NGen manufacturing program, iVexSol will greatly reduce the complexity, cost, and development time of vectors, enabling greater access to crucial cell and gene therapies and driving advancement in Canadian manufacturing.
Funding from NGen will Support Innovative Manufacturing
iVexSol will develop a new manufacturing process for viral vectors. These gene-editing reagents are essential in the manufacturing processes of cell and gene therapies (CGTs), which are used to treat cancer, as well as rare and inherited genetic disorders.
CGTs have seen high treatment success rates and continued development in recent years: the market is estimated to grow at a rate of 44% over the next decade, for a global market opportunity of $9.7B USD by 2030, according to iVexSol CEO, Dr. Rodney Rietze. The success of CGTs has led to a corresponding spike in demand for the viral vectors that deliver genetic material into patients. However, current viral vector manufacturers use legacy methods that are costly, inefficient, and difficult to scale.
iVexSol’s new advanced manufacturing process, the first of its kind, will produce nearly 10 times the quantity of vectors at a portion of the cost and duration of existing processes.
iVexSol Canada will work with several other companies to develop this new manufacturing process. Their partners include: GE Healthcare Life Sciences, which will contribute expertise and specialized tools to the project; STEMCELL Technologies, a Vancouver biotechnology company that will provide advanced reagents; and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine Enterprises Inc. (CCRM Enterprises), the for-profit arm of CCRM, which will provide supporting manufacturing capabilities.
In addition to driving ingenuity in Canadian manufacturing, the project is expected to spur innovation in medical, engineering, and environmental fields, as well as create several hundred jobs, including non-technical support roles, technical roles, positions in operations and safety, managerial and administrative roles, and positions for PhD holders.
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada & Manufacturing Grants
Based in Ontario and funded by the Government of Canada, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada drives innovative manufacturing and works to build Canada’s reputation for cutting-edge processes and expertise. NGen provides manufacturing grants to projects that include multiple partners and have the potential to create deep positive impacts on their industries. Projects typically focus on development of new technologies and ground-breaking processes, as well as de-risking technology adoption.
Partnering organizations could receive up to 44.4% of project costs through NGen, to a maximum of $20M.
The federal government is investing up to almost $230M in NGen. In return, NGen anticipates creating more than 13,500 jobs and generating more than $13.5B across 10 years.
Innovation Superclusters Initiative (ISI)
NGen is one of Canada’s five Superclusters, large-scale industry partnerships funded by the federal government under the Innovation Superclusters Initiative and intended to spur regional innovation ecosystems. Other Superclusters include Digital Technology (BC), Protein Industries (Prairie Provinces), scale.ai (Quebec), and the Ocean Supercluster (Atlantic Canada). Altogether, the five superclusters have so far announced a total of 14 projects, with intended government funding contributions of up to $28.7M.
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