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Government of Canada to invest $23 million in Ontario-based Edesa Biotech

The project will be a stepping stone in therapies for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening form of respiratory failure and leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients

The Government of Canada is working tirelessly to rebuild Canada's domestic biomanufacturing sector to develop safe and efficient treatments for Canadians. Since March 2020, over $2.1 billion has been invested to rebuild Canada's vaccines, therapeutics and biomanufacturing capacity.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, announced a contribution of $23 million to support Edesa Biotech's $61 million project through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF). Edesa is a biopharmaceutical company based in Markham, Ontario, that is seeking to advance Phase III clinical trials for its monoclonal antibody therapy (EB05), for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients. ARDS is a severe form of respiratory failure characterized by widespread inflammatory injury to the lungs and is the leading cause of death among COVID-19 patients. For moderate to severe cases of ARDS, there are currently few meaningful treatments, other than supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation, and patients suffer high mortality rates.

The proposed project is built on the positive results generated from the company's Phase II trials, which were previously funded by the SIF in 2021 and also endorsed by the COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force.

This groundbreaking project aligns with Canada's Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy and will support increased innovation, as well as world-class expertise and infrastructure for clinical trials. With this contribution, Edesa will create 34 new positions and maintain its existing workforce for a total of 50 jobs, in addition to hiring students for a total of 26 co-op positions.


"Building a strong, competitive domestic life sciences sector with cutting-edge biomanufacturing capabilities is our priority. With this investment, Edesa will advance the development of a treatment for those negatively impacted by COVID-19 and will greatly improve the quality of life of those Canadians who need it most. This project is yet another example of our government's determination to better address current and future health care issues, while creating good jobs and securing long-term economic growth."

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

"Today's investment in Edesa Biotech reflects Canada's commitment to medical innovation and economic growth, securing Canadian lives and jobs while fostering clinical trial expertise in Canada. This is also an investment in Markham. It will create 50 jobs and 26 student co-op positions nationwide, bolstering our clinical trial capabilities and skills."

– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development

"Edesa is proud to lead Canada's development of host-directed therapeutics. These breakthrough medicines have the potential to be important tools in both pandemic preparedness and biodefence. Edesa has a track record of delivering successful results on time and on budget, and this continued support from the Strategic Innovation Fund will allow us to accelerate our research plans, expand our reach to more hospitals and move another significant step closer to commercialization. We are honoured to be a part of such an important public-private project."

– Dr. Par Nijhawan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Edesa Biotech, Inc.

Quick facts

  • Canada's Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy presents a long–term vision to protect Canadians against future pandemics and other health emergencies and to grow an innovative, competitive domestic life sciences sector.

  • Edesa Biotech, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical research and development company focused on developing and commercializing novel clinical-stage drugs for autoimmune and infectious diseases.

  • The federal government's $23 million contribution supports the acceleration of Edesa's Phase III clinical study to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of EB05 for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19.

  • Budget 2021 provided a total of $2.2 billion over seven years toward growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector and securing pandemic preparedness. This budget funding provides foundational investments to help build Canada's talent pipeline and research systems, as well as to foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms.

Associated links

  • Edesa Biotech

  • Biomanufacturing: Advancing health sciences industry in Canada

  • Strategic Innovation Fund

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