The global COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for better development capacity of influenza vaccines for Canadians. Administered by the Government of Canada through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), an investment of up to $415 million has been awarded to support Sanofi Pasteur Limited (Sanofi) in building an influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in Toronto, Ontario. To date, the Canadian government has invested in ten other pharmaceutical companies through SIF that aim to accelerate the growth of Canada’s biomanufacturing sector.
“This is a critical investment as it will create 300 high quality jobs and push Ontario toward becoming less reliant on others to produce flu and potentially other vaccines. By supporting companies like Sanofi, we will continue to strengthen our excellent pharmaceutical sector and ensure we are prepared for future public health events with Made in Ontario products.”
– Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
For manufacturing the new vaccine facility in Toronto, Sanofi is investing an additional $455 million, and promises to create and maintain over 1,225 highly skilled jobs across Canada as part of the project. The Government of Ontario will invest a further $55 million, making the total sum of $925 million a historic investment for a singular facility project. For future innovation, Sanofi has committed to investing at minimum $79 million a year to support Canadian biomanufacturing research and development projects.
What is the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)?
The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a Canadian government funding program uniquely positioned to support Canada’s industrial and technology sectors. The program offers both grants and loans valued at up to 50% of project costs with the purpose of promoting investment into innovative projects that drive sustained productivity and economic benefits. The amount and type of financial support offered by SIF is allocated on a case-by-case basis, as determined by the funding application review committee.
The SIF program offers both grants and loans valued at up to 50% of project costs. The program focuses on projects requesting at least $10 million in contributions, meaning a project size of at least $20 million. There is no maximum ask.
There are five Strategic Innovation Fund streams of funding and applicants are encouraged to align their projects to address one of the following areas: (1) research, development, and commercialization, (2) business growth and expansion, (3) investment attraction and retention, (4) collaborative technology development and demonstration, and (5) national ecosystems.
About Sanofi and the New Vaccine Manufacturing Facility
Sanofi, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer and a global leader in the development of drugs and vaccines, has been present in Canada since 1917. Their main Canadian operations are based in Laval and Toronto, where dozens of advancements have already been made to advance biomanufacturing capacity throughout Canada.
After conducting global research, Sanofi has chosen Toronto, Canada as the home of its international production and distribution centre for its high-dose seasonal influenza vaccine, FLUZONE® High Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (FLUZONE® HD QIV).
In addition to creating jobs and funding Canadian research, this new Toronto facility means better pandemic preparedness for all Canadians. In the event of a future flu outbreak, Sanofi will be able to produce pandemic influenza vaccine at population scale in its new Toronto facility. Sanofi plans to have the capacity to create enough vaccine doses to support the entire Canadian population within approximately six months of the World Health Organization (WHO) classifying a pandemic influenza strain.
“This new investment will help ensure more people around the world are better protected against influenza. In addition, it will be a key resource to assist against future pandemics.”
– Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi
Government Funding for Innovative Canadian Projects
The process of innovation is vital to the continued success of any business. Whether that be the innovation of providing new skills via hiring and training programs, installing new technology to improve internal operations, by expanding into new global markets, or through the research and development of new innovative products or processes, innovation is an important aspect that keeps society moving forward.
To find funding for your top strategic priorities, similar to programs like the Strategic Innovation Fund, visit our Government Funding Activities Page and learn more about which funding programs may align with your innovative objectives.