COVID-19 has put Canada on the map as an attractive investment destination. Our government’s strong, stable response to the crisis and our ability to develop science and step up to find vaccines and therapies have been noted by industry observers. The world is looking and sees Canadian biotechnology delivering game-changing solutions during the pandemic. Venture capitalists in the U.S. view Canada as a hidden gem. However, COVID-19 has also opened countries’ eyes to the economic opportunity of biotechnology, meaning competition for dollars is even more intense than it was pre-COVID. Canada has to sharpen up and increase investment to keep operations growing domestically.
Our competitors are aggressively backing leading industries and businesses, making strategic investments in STEM and digital skills, building industrial and technological capabilities, supporting the development and adoption of digital innovation, intensifying research collaborations, and helping their companies grow faster.
Besides more total investment needed, how can we better support our companies to reach markets and scale up?
- Create a venture capital fund dedicated to life sciences to build on the momentum and financial success already generated and propel the next generation of biotechnology innovations in Canada. With co-investment from the government, institutional investors, and international sources, the proposed Life Sciences Capital Catalyst Initiative (LS-VCCI) will provide the capital required to support the full Canadian life sciences innovation continuum. The Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP) and Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI) were proven tools that attracted investment into life sciences that otherwise would not have gone into the sector. These funds were successfully leveraged to grow existing Canadian companies with a goal to create emerging anchor companies. We envision a similar outcome for LS-VCCI.
- Ensure that cleantech VC funds include investments that target industrial biotechnology companies in Canada.
- Improve the SR&ED to benefit SMEs. Canada has established itself as a competitive place to invest and drive R&D. This is in part due to the SR&ED Tax Credit program that competes against a multitude of global competitors modeling public policy after what Canada has established. Ensuring the SR&ED remains at the forefront of attracting investment is integral to the goals of long-term economic growth. Learn more.