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New strategy positions B.C. as a global hub for life sciences

Press Release

April 17, 2023

VANCOUVER – More innovative companies will have opportunities to grow and create high-paying jobs while advancing health and pandemic preparedness at home and internationally through a new made-in-B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy.

“With the launch of the B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy, we are building on B.C.’s reputation as a place where we value and invest in innovation – because it makes life better for people, and cultivates a sustainable economy for everyone,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “Through the StrongerBC Economic Plan, we are maximizing our competitive advantage with our world-class talent and the innovators, entrepreneurs and anchor companies that will create high-quality jobs for British Columbians.”

As part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan, the new B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy provides five pillars to secure B.C.’s position as a leading global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing, and to develop commercial-scale biopharmaceutical and medical manufacturing.

Virtually every COVID-19 vaccine candidate that reached late-stage development in 2020 used components that were initiated, developed or manufactured by a B.C. company or scientist. This strategy will build on those and many other made-in-B.C. accomplishments.

The strategy outlines how the Province will capitalize on the industry value chain from discovery through to clinical trials and manufacturing by supporting targeted investments in people and infrastructure. To help grow innovative local companies, the Province is investing $10 million in a new wet lab facility with adMare Bioinnovations. The expanded operation will help grow early-stage, local biotech companies by providing access to turnkey-ready wet labs with cutting-edge equipment, as well as meeting and office space. A wet lab is a specific type of facility adapted for biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies for the safe handling of chemicals and contaminants.

“British Columbia researchers and companies demonstrated their remarkable innovative capacity during the pandemic,” said Gordon C. McCauley, president and CEO, adMare BioInnovations. “Literally billions of people around the world benefited from the strength of the B.C. life sciences ecosystem. This investment into new, flexible wet lab facilities will grow the life sciences sector, attract investment, and help ensure that the globally relevant companies of tomorrow can launch and scale in British Columbia.”

The strategy outlines key actions developed in close consultation with industry and academia to help meet the challenges faced by life sciences businesses and to attract new talent and investment.

To address the skills shortage, B.C. announced the National Biomanufacturing Training Centre (NBTC) that will train new and existing professionals with industry-recognized skills and knowledge. The strategy will also expand B.C.’s clinical trials capacity to help keep more companies and their intellectual property anchored here, and build stronger connections between research and care, creating benefits in health, employment and new discoveries.

“The launch of the B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy is a significant step toward improving health care and patient outcomes by investing in clinical trials capacity,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “By expanding B.C.’s clinical trials capacity, we are creating opportunities for more innovative companies to anchor and grow in B.C., which will benefit patients by increasing access to new treatments and therapies.”

The Province will also collaborate with First Nations and municipalities to streamline access to light-industrial-zoned land and buildings for biomanufacturing activity, so more anchor companies will choose to make their home in B.C. or expand their existing operations here. Increased seamless co-ordination between researchers and industry will help ensure new discoveries can more quickly be turned into commercially profitable products and processes.

B.C.’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy is part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan, moving British Columbia forward by tackling the challenges of today, while growing an innovation economy that works for everyone.

Quick Facts:

  • The 2022 edition of B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook shows that 80% of one million job openings expected over the next 10 years will require post-secondary education and training.
  • The most in-demand jobs will be in the care economy and scientific and technical services sector, with an additional estimated 16,000 biomanufacturing workers needed in Canada by 2029, of which at least 3,400 will be needed in Metro Vancouver.
  • Construction of the NBTC is expected to be completed in December 2023, with delivery of training in 2024.
  • B.C. is home to Canada’s largest biotechnology company, Stemcell Technologies; at least four of Canada’s biotechnology companies with more than $1 billion in market capitalization; and StarFish Medical, Canada’s largest medical device design, development and contract manufacturing company.

Learn More:

Learn about the B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy:

Learn about adMare Bioinnovations:

Learn about the StrongerBC Economic Plan:

Two backgrounders follow.


Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
Media Relations
778 587-4521

Mounia Azzi
Vice-president, Corporate Development
adMare BioInnovations
[email protected]


What people are saying about B.C.’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy

Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills –

“Our life sciences sector is vital to creating a future of prosperity and innovation. Our Province is focused on preparing people for the jobs of tomorrow through our Future Ready plan, which will make education more accessible, affordable and relevant so we can build a stronger B.C. together.”

Wendy Hurlburt, president and chief executive officer, Life Sciences BC –

“Building on the momentum of our life sciences thriving sector, this first-ever provincial life sciences strategy sets B.C. up to be a global leader in life sciences and will advance the health of British Columbians through the discovery and development of innovative products, solutions and services while diversifying and growing our economy by creating high-paying jobs.”

Dr. Allen Eaves, president and chief executive officer, Stemcell Technologies –

“As Canada’s largest biotechnology company, Stemcell Technologies is experiencing tremendous growth along with many other biotechs in B.C.  All of us will require more homegrown research and biomanufacturing talent in the years ahead to remain internationally competitive. The B.C. government’s Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy takes a thoughtful approach to strengthening the province from the perspective of both economic growth and health preparedness.”

Bev Holmes, president and chief executive officer, Michael Smith Health Research BC –

“The new Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy further positions British Columbia as a leader in an area that is critical to people here and around the world. The plan aligns with our work to support academic research and maximize benefits of clinical trials, which will create positive impacts on our economy, jobs and health.”

Jennifer Figner, interim vice-president, academic and research, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) –

“BCIT’s mandate is to support the workforce development of the province, and we will play a major role in the training needs to ensure the future success and growth of the life sciences sector. With our partner, the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences, we look forward to welcoming learners to the National Biomanufacturing Training Centre.”

Murray McCutcheon, senior vice-president, partnering, AbCellera –

“We believe that investments in life sciences talent and infrastructure are critical to building British Columbia’s ability to translate early scientific innovation into economic growth that makes our communities stronger today and tomorrow.”

Suzanne Gill, president and chief executive officer, Genome BC –

“This new Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy will supercharge our already world-class life sciences sector and position us as a global leader in research and innovation, delivering new technologies and treatments that benefit B.C., Canada and the world. Genome BC is proud to support this strategy by championing research and innovation to drive the responsible uptake of genomic technologies.”

Cheryl Maitland, interim chief executive officer, Business Council of British Columbia –

“With an increasing number of scaling companies, highly skilled talent and research advancements, B.C.’s life sciences and biomanufacturing sector is a significant source of employment, fuelling the growth of clean-tech businesses and contributing to our economy. The newly launched strategy presents a road map to build on these strengths and establish B.C. as a thriving global hub that positively contributes to British Columbians’ health and economic well-being.”

Deborah Buszard, interim president, University of British Columbia (UBC) –

“As B.C.’s largest health-research and innovation organization and the lead institution for Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub, UBC welcomes the launch of the B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy and looks forward to continued collaboration with partners across academia, health care, industry, non-profits and government. Working together toward the strategy’s vision, we can create new opportunities for British Columbians and save more lives sooner.”

Dr. Penny Ballem, member of the Council of Expert Advisors to the Government of Canada on biomanufacturing and life sciences –

“The life sciences strategy is an unprecedented opportunity for the remarkable life sciences sector in the province, our academic institutions and the health sector to leverage the investments being made by the federal and provincial government, and work together to benefit the lives of British Columbians and others across the country and globally, and support the biodiversity of our province and the planet.”


Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
Media Relations
778 587-4521

Mounia Azzi
Vice-president, Corporate Development
adMare BioInnovations
[email protected]



AdMare BioInnovations’ expansion of wet lab space for early-stage ventures in Vancouver

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the capacity of Canada’s innovative life sciences sector. Canadian scientists and companies have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, with British Columbia-based scientists and companies leading the way. The global life sciences sector has relied on B.C. technology in virtually every vaccine and treatment strategy addressing the pandemic and its related health complications.

AdMare’s current Vancouver Innovation Centre is approximately 3,251 square metres (35,000 square feet) and housed on the University of British Columbia campus. This facility, like adMare’s Montreal Innovation Centre, which is approximately 15,795 square metres (170,000 square feet), includes state-of-the-art industrial drug-development labs, shared-service facilities, and houses key members of adMare’s research and development, legal, business development and academic teams.

However, due to the success and fast-paced growth of the life sciences sector in B.C., adMare is unable to fully meet the needs of B.C.’s life sciences community. In particular, there is significant demand from promising, early-stage ventures for access to adMare’s turn-key wet lab space, along with the core services and expertise that are provided in the Vancouver Innovation Centre.

It is challenging for early-stage ventures to secure space from landlords, given that they are considered high-risk tenants with little or no track record. They also typically require a small amount of space to get started and need flexibility in leasing arrangements to support growth. AdMare is uniquely positioned to accommodate these needs, and, unlike real estate developers that are currently building out life sciences space, adMare provides specialized wet lab and office spaces in an innovation hub that includes core infrastructure and critical expertise, as well as high-impact training offerings and talent development. Founders and tenants in adMare’s Vancouver and Montreal-based innovation centres identify these offerings as critical to the growth, scaling and success of their ventures.

With the support of the B.C. government, adMare will identify matching investment to meet the needs of B.C.’s growing life sciences community, and create a 2,787-square-metre (30,000 square feet) facility. This facility will have dedicated wet lab and office spaces for early-stage ventures in the “Broadway Corridor/Mount Pleasant/False Creek” area, and is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2025. This project will enable adMare to expand its presence in B.C. and support an additional 20 or more early-stage ventures annually in the province.

A strong domestic life sciences industry will be a key economic and innovation driver of B.C.’s and Canada’s future, a potential destination for many workers displaced from other industries and provide insurance against future health challenges.


Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
Media Relations
778 587-4521

Mounia Azzi
Vice-president, Corporate Development
adMare BioInnovations
[email protected]


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