Published February 2021

In the ongoing global fight against COVID-19, The Ottawa Hospital is proud to help fill Canada’s critical needs in vaccine manufacturing. As one of only a handful of hospitals with the capacity to manufacture vaccines, and as the most experienced facility of its kind in Canada, our hospital is uniquely positioned to partner with Edmonton-based Entos Pharmaceuticals to help manufacture Covigenix VAX-001 in vials for Stage 1 clinical trials being conducted at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology.

“I think it’s very important that we have the capacity to be able to produce these kinds of products, particularly vaccines in the midst of the pandemic in Canada.”

— Dr. Duncan Stewart, Executive Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital

Why is developing new COVID-19 vaccines important?

With several vaccines now approved and being administered in many countries around the world, some might wonder why researchers at The Ottawa Hospital are continuing to create and test potential new vaccine candidates. There are several important reasons why:

New Variants

As COVID-19 variants continue to circulate and as more could emerge, the development of new vaccines that could better address variants is critical.

Features of Vaccines

Some of the existing vaccines have features that make them challenging to administer (e.g. storage at -70C, two doses required). This leaves ample room for improvement that could turn the tide. One of the vaccines we are manufacturing for clinical trials is a single dose vaccine that is stable at room temperature for 30 days or 4⁰C for up to a year.

Global Vaccination

An estimated 12 to 14 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines are still needed globally to get the pandemic under control and ensure new variants don’t emerge and re-infect vaccinated populations. Also, developing countries often do not have the infrastructure to manage the complex administration of vaccines. For these reasons, it’s essential to continue the development and production of multiple, easy-to-administer vaccines throughout 2021.

Building Capacity

Enhancing Canada’s capacity now to develop and manufacture COVID-19 vaccines is crucial to ensuring that we are prepared for future pandemics and other health threats. The facilities and expertise required for vaccine manufacturing can also be applied to manufacture promising biotherapeutics such as stem cell therapies, cancer-fighting viruses, and CAR-T cell therapy for cancer.

Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre at The Ottawa Hospital

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