A Canadian vaccine manufacturer is leaving the country after the Liberal government failed to address repeat calls for more funding support.
According to CBC News, Calgary-based Providence Therapeutics is in the process of engaging with its board of directors to move the company’s operations abroad.
“I’m moving on, that’s where I’m at now. I’ve prostrated myself at the altar of government in Canada for a year and I’ve received nothing for it. I’m tired of begging and pleading,” said Providence Therapeutics CEO Brad Sorenson.
“I can’t tell you how much this pains me. The reality is, I can do more good for the world outside of Canada than I can in.”
Providence Therapeutics was in the process of planning to build a vaccine manufacturing plant in Calgary, but according to Sorenson, even the Alberta government has been dragging its heels with much-needed support.
“It’s not going to be made here in Canada. It’s not going to be prioritized for Canadians,” Sorenson said about the vaccine.
The Providence Therapeutics vaccine was developed in collaboration with Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto. During development, the company requested loans from the government to set up manufacturing capacities and engage in clinical trials but the calls went largely unanswered.
As many countries were developing vaccines in 2020, the Trudeau government only pre-ordered vaccines from CanSino Biologics, a Chinese firm connected to the Chinese Communist Party. China would later block vaccine shipments to Canada.
Once vaccines started arriving in Canada, shipments were small and Pfizer temporarily stopped shipping to Canada in January. With no domestic production, Canada has been at the mercy of governments like that of the European Union, which has restricted exports to meet its own domestic needs.
The company has received one $5 million grant from the National Research Council, however according to Sorenson the small company requires more to get its manufacturing capabilities off the ground.
“I never asked for a single handout. All I’ve asked for is a deposit on vaccines or a non-interest loan,” said Sorenson.
In February, the company’s CEO urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide the company $150 million to bring the vaccine to the market but Sorenson never received a response from the government.
A spokesperson for Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne told CBC News that Canada’s investment decisions were based on expert recommendations.
“Our investment decisions have been informed by the expert advice of the Vaccine Task Force, as we have pursued the most promising opportunities to build resilience in Canada’s future supply of vaccines and therapeutics,” said spokesperson John Power.