The Canadian life sciences industry is riding a strong wave of global investment post-COVID and the investments being made by governments globally to grow capacity. To build on these recent successes and compete globally for the investment capital at play, the Canadian biotechnology venture capital industry needs to grow accordingly for it to support the creation and scaling up of companies. In this context, the Government of Canada vehicles such as the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative and the corresponding dedicated Life Sciences fund can play an instrumental role in catalyzing the growth of Canada’s venture capital pool. Canada is on track to establish world-leading anchor companies throughout the life science sector.
The convergence of life science innovation, financing, and operational growth with technologies including artificial intelligence, advanced cell, and gene therapies, big data, and platform technologies such as 3D printing, will lead the Canadian economy. The life sciences sector in Canada reported increasing investment and set a record in 2021 with CAD $4.2 billion invested.
During the pandemic, it was the biotech industry that was able to provide solutions to the many challenges faced by a global population. The industry’s trajectory continues with a strong innovation engine, highly skilled employment source, and destination for investment capital. More than 900 Canadian biotech companies are represented across all regions of the country at all stages of development and operations with a diverse range of therapy development and products.
With record levels of investment of almost $12.5 billion since 2019, into more than 146 companies, operations have grown to the point of global capacity building, thereby setting the course for them to be anchored in Canada over the long term.
Recent examples bringing another level of opportunity for Canadian life science companies to build on successes include Canadian biotech companies such as Zymeworks, AbCellera, Precision Nanosystems, Fusion Pharmaceuticals, Repare Therapeutics, and many others.
Sources: BIOTECanada’s detailed data model contains information on deals across the public and private equity markets, PitchBook is used as the primary source for comprehensive data about global capital markets. From the entire life science industry, the focus is on a subgroup of biotech companies which received investments during the most recent years. To view the Canadian biotech subsector landscape, several filtering rules are applied including the Canadian location of facilities; excluding companies dealing with cannabis, psychedelics, diagnostics, and medical devices; including companies contributing to R&D biotech projects (AI, machine learning, and data analytics). All deal size amounts in foreign currencies were converted to Canadian Dollars using appropriate monthly exchange rates from the Bank of Canada web page.
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