BOSTON—The Manitoba government’s visionary new Life Sciences Strategy will power innovation and boost the province’s reputation as an internationally renowned hub for biosciences, Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Jeff Wharton announced today at the BIO International Convention in Boston.
“The biosciences make extraordinary contributions to every aspect of our society and this new strategy recognizes just how vital this sector is to both our economy and our quality of life,” Wharton said. “Our government’s strategy prioritizes support to attract investment, grow partnerships, and cultivate a skilled workforce to ensure Manitoba’s bio-economy continues to thrive. I look forward to seeing the innovation and advances that will make a difference in the lives of Manitobans and millions of others around the world.”
Manitoba’s bioscience sector is one of the largest contributors to the provincial economy, the minister noted, with 2021 revenues exceeding $9.9 billion and the sector employing more than 14,000 Manitobans. Manitoba is the second-largest pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturer in Canada, and biotech products are the province’s top export.
Co-developed by the Manitoba government and Bioscience Association Manitoba, and informed through extensive consultation with the province’s biotech community, the strategy is designed to capitalize on the proven strengths that have made Manitoba an established industry leader and exporter. The strategy establishes five strategic pillars essential to addressing barriers to growth and ensuring Manitoba’s bioscience sector reaches its full potential including:
- strong public-private partnerships;
- a future-ready skills and talent infrastructure;
- data and analytics excellence;
- world-class research and innovation; and
- increasing access to capital.
“Bioscience Association Manitoba commends the Manitoba government for its leadership and recognition of the sector’s essential contributions to our economy, lives and livelihoods,” said Kim Kline, president, Bioscience Association Manitoba. “New partnerships and investments will ensure that we continue to be innovative. We believe that the strategy has the potential to be transformative for the province's economy and position Manitoba as a leader in this vital and growing industry.”
The Manitoba government will monitor key measures to track success and inform future enhancements to the strategy, the minister noted. Those measures include increasing sector employment and the sector’s contribution to Manitoba’s GDP, as well as increasing private sector research and development spending, international awareness of Manitoba’s bioscience sector, and the quality of public-private partnerships.
“A Life Sciences Strategy is an essential roadmap to advance health and innovation, now and into the future,” said Tracey Ramsay, vice-president and general manager, AbbVie Canada. “These strategies support important investment in discovery research and projects, which generate new technologies that help advance standards of care and improve the lives of people in Manitoba, Canada, and globally.”
In addition to the strategy, the Manitoba government continues to make strategic investments to support an environment for bioscience companies to prosper, the minister added A renewed focus on harnessing competitive advantages such as clean hydroelectricity and an innovative suite of incentives and tax credits will help Manitoba businesses and communities capitalize on future trade and investment opportunities in the sector, the minister noted.
“As a longtime leader in the biosciences industry in Manitoba with a modern manufacturing facility in Steinbach that provides products locally and is the largest exporter of medicaments for the province, Bausch Health is very pleased that the Manitoba government is recognizing the importance of this industry to the province with the development of a new biosciences strategy,” said Cees Heiman, senior vice-president, Europe and Canada, Bausch Health. “The strategy is a good step to help ensure a positive environment in which the industry can continue to grow and contribute to the economic and social well-being of Manitobans.”
The Manitoba government provides a number of programs and services to advance the bioscience industry in province including:
- seed capital investment of $100 million in the Manitoba First Fund, an independent fund that helps Manitoba-focused businesses grow and thrive by leveraging private investment capital to substantially expand the breadth of financing options for companies in Manitoba;
- various funding opportunities for research and development including grants, tax credits and incentives such as the Manitoba Research and Development tax credit, the Innovation Proof of Concept grant, and the Innovation Growth Program;
- programs to support business expansion and company relocation to Manitoba including the Industry Expansion Program, Manitoba Works Capital Incentive, and the Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit; and
- Manitoba’s Business Navigation Services, which provide direct supports to businesses of all sizes looking to start, expand or invest in Manitoba.
To view the new Life Sciences Strategy, visit manitoba.ca/jec/files/lifesciencesstrategy.pdf.
News source: Manitoba government