For Immediate Release
May 6, 2021
VANCOUVER, B.C. —“A new report commissioned by the Greater Vancouver Board of trade is highlighting six recommendations intended to cement the future of the life sciences sector in B.C., including the implementation of competitive tax policies to keep intellectual property in B.C. and Canada.
Life sciences was already one of the fastest-growing sectors of the provincial economy prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 2,000 companies employing approximately 17,000 people in 2018. In response to the pandemic, companies operating in the lower mainland garnered international attention by pioneering technologies and treatments that have achieved global adoption. In 2020, the B.C. life sciences sector raised a record-breaking $2.0B of market capital.
To ensure B.C. can fully realize the economic potential this groundbreaking research has unlocked, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, together with Life Sciences BC, is releasing the report B.C. Life Sciences Update 2021: Building on a foundation of innovation. Building on recommendations included in previous reports, such as the recent Industry Strategy Council’s Restart, Recover and Reimagine Prosperity for all Canadians, it highlights opportunities to address system barriers and accelerate the growth and competitiveness of B.C.’s Life Sciences sector.
- Enhance investment in talent to attract, develop, and retain scientific leaders with a focus on C-suite leadership that will support commercialization and company growth
- A dedicated life sciences fund to support the VC market, early-stage growth, and incubator organizations, which will accelerate and scale up the next wave of SMEs that will stay in B.C. and grow to be anchor companies
- Regulatory & Tax Policies:
- Implement modernized streamlined regulatory processes that are aligned globally and harmonized to ensure regulatory capacity to draw the next generation of technologies into use for and by British Columbians and Canadians
- Implement competitive tax policies that attract and retain investment and ensure retention of intellectual property in B.C. and Canada
- Value-based Procurement:
- Implement streamlined value-based health procurement and sourcing strategies to create resilience of domestic capabilities through ensuring local innovation is considered and prioritized for adoption.
- Invest in a coordinated, comprehensive strategy to provide faster, streamlined access to data and facilitate and create data-driven advances in research, innovation, and health outcomes
- Continue to invest in research and increase investment in critical infrastructure, particularly lab space and manufacturing
B.C. is home to the fastest growing life sciences sector in Canada, it is also one of the fastest growing sectors in the province. Anchor companies include STEMCELL Technologies, Canada’s largest biotech company; Starfish Medical, Canada's largest medical device design, development, and contract manufacturing company; and AbCellera Biologics, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, and Zymeworks Inc, each with greater than $1B in market capitalization.
The B.C. Life Sciences Update 2021: Building on a foundation of innovation report was funded in part by Western Economic Diversification Canada.
“The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade recognizes the remarkable role our life sciences sector has played in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. “We’re calling on all levels of government to work collaboratively with industry stakeholders to ensure we can achieve our full potential and take our place amongst the world leading destinations for talent and investment.”
“The Life Sciences sector is extremely well positioned to contribute to the economic recovery and competitiveness of British Columbia while developing innovative solutions, products and processes to address the complex issues facing the health system,” said Wendy Hurlburt, CEO with Life Sciences BC. “We’re at a critical inflection point and through a collaborative effort between academia, research, government and industry we can address existing barriers to scaling and growth and ultimately secure our health and economic security.”
“British Columbia’s life sciences sector has demonstrated extraordinary capacity for innovation, agility, and global competitiveness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and is poised to positively impact the health and economic well-being of Canadians now and in the future,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “By funding this report, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to investing in opportunities that attract top talent and improve necessary infrastructure so that the life sciences sector continues to thrive in B.C.”
About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Pacific Canada’s leading business association, engaging members to impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.’s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique Signature Programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events programs in the country, providing a platform for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.’s business leaders.
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
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