BIONATION Capitalizing on Canadian Ingenuity

Save the date for a 2 day in person gathering in Ottawa September 28-29, 2022.

Partners Register to learn more

Over the past five years, Canada’s biotechnology sector has been one of our top economic success stories.

The goal of BIONATION is for BIOTECanada along with leaders from throughout the Canadian biotechnology ecosystem to gather for an event in Ottawa bringing together industry leaders and policymakers to showcase the biotech sector, the leaders, the potential, and its importance to the Canadian economy.

The program of events focuses on three prime areas of dialogue:

  • Investment attraction
  • Talent
  • Next-Generation Technology

These themes will serve as the program features for speakers, panels, and discussion throughout the agenda for the event.


BIOTECanada’s BIONATION initiative was launched in the Spring of 2020 and has continued through the pandemic with virtual programming designed to showcase the various components of the ecosystem and their connectivity. Over that period, the COVID-19 pandemic offered an up-close learning opportunity of the Canadian biotech industry which has led to an increased awareness publicly and amongst policymakers regarding the value of the biotechnology industry and the important social and economic benefit of a robust domestic biotech ecosystem. In this context, the BIONATION summit presents an important and timely opportunity to recognize the sectors’ importance as Canada rebuilds economically following the pandemic and looks to prepare for future health-related challenges.

Recent Events

April 29, 2021
Future Healthcare: Demand Meets Opportunity
Moderator: André Picard, The Globe and Mail
Panelists: Cynthia Lavoie (CCRM), Molly Shoichet (AmacaThera), Philip Tagari (Amgen)
Special Guest: The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Recording available here

March 1, 2021
Rebuilding Canada’s Economy: Greener, Cleaner, Stronger
Opening Remarks: Bruce Anderson, Abacus Data
Panelists: Brian Brazeau (Novozymes), Bettina Hamelin (Ontario Genomics), Stuart Smyth (University of Saskatchewan)
View recording here

December 18, 2020
Talking Talent Across the Biotech Ecosystem
Moderator: Rob Henderson, BioTalent Canada
Special Guest: The Honourable Navdeep Bains P.C., M.P Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Panelists: Ali Tehrani (Zymeworks), Heather Delage (BioVectra), Clarissa Desjardins (Entrepreneur), and James Taylor (Precision Nanosystems)
Check out the informative discussion recording.

November 18, 2020
Banking on Biotech: Game Changing Solutions
Moderator: Didier Leconte, Fonds de la Solidarité FTQ
Panelists: Dawn Bell (Novartis), Nancy Harrison (Amplitude Ventures), Peter van der Velden (Lumira Ventures), and Anne Woods (Silicon Valley Bank)
With its world class research institutions, talent, and quality scientific outcomes, Canada is reputed to be an attractive place to engage in biotechnology. Showcasing new Canadian technologies emerging into the global marketplace. Exploring the financial investment and leadership resources it takes. Discovering the whys and why nots of how investors make decisions. View the discussion to explore what is at play View the discussion to explore what is at play

October 26, 2020
Advantage Canada: Going Global
Keynote: Juan Enriquez, Futurist, Author, Businessman
Moderator: Rob Annan, Genome Canada
Panelists: Maha Katabi (Sofinnova Investments), Fred Ors (IMV) and Ali Tehrani (Zymeworks)
The reality of a global public health emergency has highlighted the need for more robust systems of innovation development and adoption. If you weren’t able to catch the live session, you can find the recording here.

June 11, 2020
Connect with Canada at BIO Digital

Keynote: Honourable Navdeep Bains
Moderator: Andrew Casey, BIOTECanada
Panelists: Nadine Beauger (IRICoR) and Gordon McCauley (AdMare BioInnovations). 
The discussion explored Canadian innovation in the face of COVID-19, and the role Canada’s biotech industry will play in driving economic recovery and growth post COVID-19. The Minister also recognized Canada’s biotech innovation sector as a strategic economic and social pillar both during and post COVID-19. The Minister specifically spoke to working with the industry to develop capacity throughout the biotech ecosystem including talent, funding and manufacturing. View recording here.


BIOTECanada recently submitted a recommendation to the Federal government to invest $500 million to establish the Life Sciences Capital Catalyst Initiative (LS-VCCI), a life sciences venture envelope with the critical capital necessary and incentives to attract private capital (from Canadian institutional investors Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), OMERS etc. as well as international sources) in order to grow the availability of capital to domestic life science venture funds, top performing later stage companies, as well as key seed stage initiatives.

To maximize the return to government on its investment, the proposed “Life Sciences VCCI” would have three (3) major functions, namely:

  • Finance seed and early stage funding vehicles: These vehicles will support company creation and early stage growth of innovations/companies emerging from Canada’s leading academic institutions;
  • Grow Canadian venture capital fund capacity: Strengthen and grow the Canadian venture capital investment pool by facilitating the collaboration of Canadian venture capital firms and attract investment from larger domestic investors and investors from outside Canada; and,
  • Create Canadian-based anchor companies: Provide later stage companies (private or public) access to investment capital to support their ability to grow in Canada and ultimately mature into domestic anchor companies.

For more information see BIOTECanada’s full submission here.



With approximately 900 innovative biotechnology companies located in Canada feeding a national network of discovery and development, the sector is a catalyst for long-term economic growth in all regions of the country and will help drive opportunities in big data, genomic applications and artificial intelligence.


The biotech sector is vital for our health security and economic growth. The government has leaned heavily on the sector through the pandemic and will in all likelihood continue to do so going forward. Accordingly, leveraging and investing in the sector’s multiple strengths and components, including early stage companies, universities, research institutes, and large multinational companies, will create an environment conducive to bringing high value, next-generation agricultural, health and industrial products to the world and enable the economy and healthcare system to get an early jump on recovery. Now is exactly the time when we should be focusing on the future.


Canada’s biotech sector is at the forefront of the race to defeat COVID-19, and is a critical building block of our economic recovery. The industry is a strong innovation engine, a source of highly skilled employment, and a destination for investment capital in every region of the country.