7 Biggest Players in the Canadian Biotech Industry

Updated on February 3, 2021

Not every industry suffered losses in 2020 when the pandemic hit every continent in the world. With the rising demand for medical research and innovation, the biotech industry records an all-time high growth rate in this pandemic period.

Everyone has been looking up to the industry to develop a vaccine or treatment against the coronavirus. Canada also had a fair share of its biotech industry’s success stories. Players in the Canadian biotech industry have also done commendable jobs.

Many pharmaceutical companies in Canada are working hard to produce vaccines to ensure people’s safety during the pandemic. In this guide, we’ll look at the people who play significant roles in Canada’s biotech industry.

The Biggest Biotech Industry Players in Canada

There are numerous companies and people in the biotech industry that have stood out in the COVID-19 period. They have invested millions of dollars in medical research to come up with a Covid-19 vaccine. Thankfully, their commitment has been fruitful.

Here are some of the commendable biotech industry players in Canada. 

ImmunoPrecise Antibodies

It is one of the publicly listed top Canadian biotech stocks. The company has been on the frontline in the quick search of therapeutic antibodies and custom therapeutics against diseases. In the past three decades, the company has done a commendable job of completing about 4,000 projects for hundreds of clients. 

In what can be termed as their most recent move in the fight against the virus, the company joined the COVABELP consortium in late December 2020. The COVABELP consortium aims to come up with a nanomedicine-based therapy. The therapy can revive the lungs’ functionality and induct virus aggression leading to patient immunity.

ImmunoPrecise joined the consortium to partner with Eindhoven University of Technology and Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Health Holland has awarded the institutions 350,000 Euros to come up with the nanomedicine known as SARS-CoV-2. 

Biovail Corporation/Bausch Health

You’ve probably heard about Biovail Corp or Bausch Health (as it is known today). It’s a pharmaceutical company owned by Eugene Melnyk before Valeant Pharmaceuticals acquired it. Eugene Melnyk, who features severally in ottawacitizen.com, founded this once largest pharmaceutical company in Canada. 

Bausch is one of the world’s fastest-growing international companies and is doing a great job bringing quality pharmaceutical products to Canadians. The firm has been developing health care products to help improve people’s lives even in the pandemic. 

In 2020, the company received a positive recommendation from CADTH Canadian Drug Expert Committee (CDEC) when they produced DUOBRII™. DUOBRII™ is a novel antipsoriatic prescription drug that helps in improving the signs and symptoms of plaque psoriasis. That works well with patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis if some specific conditions are met.

StageZero Life Sciences 

While COVID-19 is the major concern for the biotech industry, other terminal illnesses like cancer are still a major threat. StageZero Life Sciences is the top Canadian stock that designed the Aristotle test panel. The test panel was to screen for up to ten different cancers from a single blood sample. 

Over the years, the company has developed tests to help detect cancers in their primary stages using the whole blood. The use of whole blood means every component of the blood is present during testing, and none is removed whatsoever.

Scientists used StageZero Life Science’s Sentinel Principle platform to develop the first-ever liquid biopsy for colorectal cancer known as ColonSentry. That added to one of their inputs towards modern medical innovation that has been beneficial in the fight against cancer.

The biotech company hasn’t been left behind in the fight against COVID-19 either. It closed a deal in December 2020 that was worth CAD 7.2 million. These funds are aimed at helping the company to expand its capacity to conduct effective COVID-19 testing. They will also use the funds in developing its existing product lines.

Microbix Biosystems 

Microbix Biosystems is a first-hand biotech company specializing in manufacturing viral and bacterial antigens and reagents for the global diagnostics industry. 

These antigens from Microbix Biosystems have been used far and wide over the years. They have mainly been used for research purposes as immunodiagnostic assays and calibrators for medical devices, among other uses.

With three decades of experience in the manufacturing business, they only produce high-quality viral and bacterial preparations. They have a detailed manufacturing process that entails strain selection, purification, efficient and reliable organism culture at scale, and advanced inactivation methods. 

They have consistently produced high-quality products that have seen customers pose consistent demands for their products. 

In March 2020, the company announced it would be creating and verifying a quality assessment product (QAP™) to help in accurate testing of COVID-19. It currently has a capacity of making 5,000 units of QAPs per week. 


MedMira has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 and other major diseases. With its frequent launch of outstanding medical products, the company has done a great job putting major diseases at bay. 

Not long ago, it announced the development of its Rapid Vertical Flow (RVF) Technology. The RVF technology has been a reliable testing option to hospitals, clinics, labs, and patients seeking instant diagnosis for diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

On December 30, 2020, the company announced the validated REVEALCOVID-19™ PLUS Total Antibody Test. This technology was aimed at detecting the total antibodies against the spike regions of SARS-CoV-2 and the nucleocapsid. 

Based on a cross-reactivity study carried on 50 HIV positive specimens, the technology proves to achieve 100% specificity, building confidence in its use. 

The REALCOVID-19 PLUS, Total Antibody Test, is a recent development of the previous MedMira’s REALCOVID-19 Total Antibody Test. It was specifically upgraded to help in the more accurate detection of antibodies and both nucleocapsid and spike proteins.

The latest version still maintains the easy-to-use features and previous product versions, but it adds modified spike antigens. The spike antigens address the growing total antibody testing needs for pre and post-vaccination. 

SQI Diagnostics

SQI Diagnostics is a medical company that identifies, develops, and markets innovative rapid diagnostic testing for global health workers, consumers, and patients. When it labels itself as overarching life science and diagnostic company, it rightly does so. That’s because it develops a wide range of multiplexed tests to measure biomarkers in blood and other sample types.

The company offers its multiplexing technology testing solutions to biotechnology and pharmaceuticals markets. These solutions are implemented in solving both human diagnostic testing and animal healthcare diagnostic testing. Its testing solutions mainly target organ transplants, serological testing, and autoimmune diseases. 

Some of their top testing solutions have also been a recent favourite for testing COVID-19. These include the COVID-19 HOME Antibody Test, the RALI-dx™ COVID-19 Severity Triage Test, and the COVID-19 RALI-fast™ Severity Triage Point-of-Care (POC) Test. 

The testing solutions aligned to COVID-19 testing are set to be sold to healthcare professionals so that patients can have first-hand access to accurate results. They can also access effective treatment from the comfort of their homes.

In their October 2020 update to shareholders on clinical developments, SQI Diagnostics included confirmation from the US FDA about their three testing solutions. It was good news as the FDA had given them the green light to continue with the three COVID-19 diagnostic tests’ production and commercialization.

TheraPure BioPharma Inc.

TheraPure BioPharma was founded in 2008 in Mississauga, Ontario, as a biotechnology company and a player in the biopharmaceutical industry. It is owned privately and operates as an integrated Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO). 

The company is known to offer top-notch therapeutic protein development and manufacturing services. Some of these services include the following:

  • Technology transfer and process development
  • Scale-up and cGMP manufacturing
  • Analytical development and testing
  • Aseptic fill and finish
  • Cryodesiccation

The company is building on its technology platforms for drug conjugation and half-life extension. This technological advancement has seen them develop products that have proven to help mitigate liver cancer, hepatitis C and anemia. 

In April 2020, the company signed a manufacturing deal with VBI vaccines for coronavirus vaccine candidates. It was assigned the role of biomanufacturing the vaccine drug substance and the aseptic fill of the drug product at their TheraPure facility in Mississauga, Ontario.

Final Words 

Whether you are an investor looking forward to entering the Canadian biotech market or an enthusiast of biotechnology, you can follow these companies’ trends. Their impact on the biotech industry has been fruitful, especially in the development of Covid-19 drugs.

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