Following Moderna last month, it is Pharmascience’s turn to receive 25 million from the Legault government to triple production capacity at its drug plant in Candiac, a southern Montreal suburb. The Quebec drug company also knocked on Ottawa’s door for funding.
Posted at 12:00 p.m
This subsidized loan (“forgivable loan”), issued by Investissement Québec (IQ), had received the approval of the Council of Ministers before the start of the election campaign. However, the details were announced on Wednesday.
It was not possible to speak to a representative from Pharmascience, which bills itself as “Quebec’s largest pharmaceutical employer” with more than 1,200 employees in the province and 300 others around the world. The company, founded in 1983, provided some details on this The press by email.
“Pharmaceutical science would have the leverage to work with federal and provincial governments to strengthen the national strategic emergency stockpile of key injectable drugs as well as oral solid dosage forms,” she said.
The pharmaceutical company did not provide information on the size of the investment. However, it is rare for IQ’s financial contribution to exceed 20-25% of a project. The construction site could therefore amount to more than 100 million.
The company describes the financial support it has received from the Legault government as a “great step forward”. Some questions, such as the project schedule and the number of jobs created, remain open for the time being. Nor do we know the parameters (threshold of jobs, size of investments, etc.) that must be respected by Pharmascience in order not to have to repay the loan in full.
Reduce an addiction
Pharmascience plans to add 26,000 square meters.2 (2415 m2) on the interface of his Candiac site. In addition, “new, more efficient equipment” will be installed. The site specializes in manufacturing injectable drugs approved by Health Canada, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency.
This Quebec pharmacy specializes in the niche of generic drugs – less expensive as they are copied from branded drugs when their exclusivity expires. Citing an EY survey, the company claims that 12% of local generic drug consumption is produced in the country.
“The project will be a major step forward in restoring Canada’s loss of domestic manufacturing capacity over the past 20 years,” the company said.
The headquarters are in Montreal, where the production of tablets takes place, while Dorval houses the distribution center.
Accelerate catching up
This expansion project in Candiac has not been on the radar of organizations like Montreal InVivo and BioQuebec, which represent the interests of the biotechnology and life sciences industries. Not surprisingly, the news was well received at BioQuébec. Managing Director Emmanuelle Toussaint is pleased about the increase in production capacity.
Investments of this kind help to reduce dependency on other countries in the supply chain, but also build local know-how. It’s an expertise [la production] that has been lost in recent years. We can bring her back.
Emmanuelle Toussaint, CEO of BioQuébec
The City of Candiac is still reviewing Pharmascience’s application for approval for the expansion work. The drug company has not applied for financial assistance from the community, says Jacinthe Lauzon, director of Candiac’s communications and civic relations department.
As for the federal government, the company says talks are going well. The exchange is “preliminary” at the moment, according to a government source who is not authorized to speak publicly.
This is the second time in two months that a pharmaceutical company has received 25 million from the Legault government. In July, Quebec had formalized the allocation of a $16.6 million grant and $8.4 million forgivable loan to Moderna for its vaccine manufacturing facility, which will see the light of day in Laval.
The financial aid had not yet been announced in April, when the Trudeau and Legault governments announced the American drug company’s arrival in Quebec with great fanfare.
- This is how many products Pharmascience offers pharmaceutical wholesalers. They are exported to more than 50 countries.