Life sciences see silver lining in dark COVID clouds
VANCOUVER, BC— Business in Vancouver —
If there has been a silver lining behind the otherwise menacing COVID-19 pandemic clouds for any sector of B.C.’s economy, it has been life sciences.
Vancouver biotech and medical device companies have recently received government funding, inked partnerships with big pharmaceutical companies and gained quick regulatory approvals to move their platforms and discoveries to the front of the clinical trial queue.
Digital health companies, meanwhile, have seen an uptick in demand for virtual doctor visits and other services.
ImmunoPrecise Antibodies (TSX-V:IPA), which specializes in custom antibody discovery and development, recently entered into a research collaboration agreement with the University of Victoria to develop a COVID-19 screening test. It raised $2.6 million in private placements in mid-May, and its stock has nearly tripled since the beginning of this year.
Vancouver’s SaNOtize Research and Development Corp. had already been in Phase 2 clinical trials for a spray that uses nitric oxide to treat chronic sinusitis and had an anti-viral formulation in the pipeline. So it was well-positioned for a swift pivot to test the spray as a nasal sanitizer for preventing COVID-19 infections.
The National Research Council recently announced $400,000 in funding to help SaNOtize focus on COVID-19 applications, and Health Canada gave a quick approval for Phase 2 clinical trials in B.C. and Quebec.