CEO of Canadian drug company says Ottawa has approached him about his firm’s made-in-Canada vaccine

Providence Therapeutics CEO Brad Sorenson says he has been approached by a number of provincial premiers and the federal government about his company’s made-in-Canada vaccine. 

Last month, the Calgary-based company started human trials for its coronavirus vaccine candidate. 

Sorenson told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics that this is the first time a COVID-19 vaccine designed and manufactured in Canada has begun trials. 

WATCH | Brad Sorenson says he’s meeting with Science and Industry Minister

Providence Therapeutics CEO Brad Sorenson speaks to Power & Politics after striking a deal for the company’s vaccines with the Manitoba government. 2:49

The office of Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne approached Sorenson’s company about the Canadian-made coronavirus vaccine, he told guest host Catherine Cullen.  

“We’ve heard from a number of premiers, and I’m happy to report that I was approached by Minister Champagne’s office to have a discussion with him tomorrow,” he said. 

In recent weeks, the federal government has faced questions over Canada’s lack of domestic capabilities to produce vaccines as the country’s supply faces delays and shortages from foreign manufacturers. 

In a separate interview last month, Sorenson told host Vassy Kapelos that he has tried to contact the federal government about producing vaccines domestically. 

Hoping for a dialogue

“We tried extremely aggressively to try and get the attention of the government for the first half of 2020, really with not much success,” he said.

Sorenson now wants to use his scheduled meeting with Minister Champagne to advocate for his company’s efforts to produce vaccines on Canadian soil. 

“I just hope that we’re able to have a dialogue and that he’s interested in actually learning about the capacity that we have in Canada and learning about our program,” he said. 

Earlier this week, Manitoba struck a deal with Providence Therapeutics to buy two million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, bypassing the federal government’s vaccine procurement efforts.

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