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$2.5M for Vancouver Island life sciences companies

$2.5M for Vancouver Island life sciences companies

Technology Sector Life Sciences/Bio Tech

Specialized lab spaces on the way for Island innovators

As part of the Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy, the Government of British Columbia is providing $2.5 million to local non-profit organization Vancouver Island Life Sciences to create a new facility for budding tech companies in the field. It will support as many as six local businesses annually with access to low-cost, high-demand, and specialized lab space.

These specialized labs are known as wet labs, which allow for safe handling of chemicals and other materials to conduct research and development. Commercial wet labs are particularly key when startups have outgrown a university lab and need a larger, individualized space. Transferring prototypes from the early days of R&D to products in an industrial setting is a key gap that these new wet labs are designed to bridge.

There is currently — excuse the pun — a dry spell for wet labs. On the mainland, an Invest Vancouver report recently found that the lack of wet lab space is hindering the industry. Notably, the report found that the government is in the best position to provide this space, as it can withstand temporarily lower profits in pursuit of anchoring valuable intellectual property and creating well-paid jobs.

Victoria is a growing ecosystem for local biotech ventures. These startups have been recognized both locally at the Victoria Tech Community Awards as well as provincially via the New Ventures BC competition. Many have spun out of the regional university ecosystem, including Axolotl Biosciences, VoxCell BioInnovations, and Nyoka, to name a few.

Vancouver Island Life Sciences is currently looking for an appropriate location for the new facility in the Greater Victoria region. When the building is operational, its aim is to enable companies to spend more time and capital on advancing improved health outcomes, pandemic preparedness, and technology commercialization, rather than the overhead costs associated with securing lab space.

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Media Contact : Victoria Tech Journal

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