CEO of Calgary's Providence Therapeutics again seeks funding for Canadian vaccine

·2 min read
The Providence Therapeutics vaccine prototype is messenger RNA-based. (Providence Therapeutics/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The Providence Therapeutics vaccine prototype is messenger RNA-based. (Providence Therapeutics/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The head of a Calgary-based company in the midst of clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine made another pitch for federal funding Monday.

Brad Sorenson, the CEO of Providence Therapeutics, addressed the House of Commons standing committee on international trade. He's made repeated pitches to Ottawa for financial support related to manufacturing, so far without any success.

The company is soon entering its second phase of clinical trials on its messenger RNA-based vaccine.

Sorensen told the committee he needs money to buy materials to scale up production, in anticipation of approval by Health Canada early next year.

Providence Therapeutics CEO Brad Sorenson is again seeking funding for his Canadian-made vaccine, which is currently in phase 2 of clinical trials.
Providence Therapeutics CEO Brad Sorenson is again seeking funding for his Canadian-made vaccine, which is currently in phase 2 of clinical trials.(Providence Therapeutics)

"Everything we need to start producing mRNA vaccines in Canada is in place. The only thing that's missing is the capital," said Sorenson.

He says if he doesn't get the upfront costs from Canada, where he would prefer, he will get them from other countries.

Sorenson sees that as a a problem as he will have committed that production to another country and will have to export if out of Canada when the country needs it.

"I'm not looking for a handout, I'll take an interest-free loan, I'll take a deposit on an order, I don't care how it comes — I just need the capital so that we can start the process," said Sorenson.

Sorenson had previously met with the office of Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne in order to advocate for his company's efforts to produce vaccines on Canadian soil.

In February, Providence struck a deal with the Manitoba government for two million doses of his Canadian vaccine, bypassing the federal government's vaccine procurement efforts.