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BioVectra gets $5 million from ACOA to expand operations in Nova Scotia, hire more staff

Jillian Brookinz, a technician at BioVectra Inc. in Charlotetown works at “downstream processing” recently.
Jillian Brookinz, a technician at BioVectra Inc. in Charlotetown is show in this file photo.

WINDSOR, N.S. - More bioscience jobs are coming to Windsor, following an investment from the federal government into Charlottetown-based BioVectra.

During a funding announcement at the BioVectra facility in the Windsor Industrial Park on April 12, company executives said they would use the funding boost to complete major renovations and purchase new equipment.

An estimated 60 people could be employed at the facility by 2020, once all of the upgrades are completed.

The enhancements will allow the company to increase its capacity to develop and manufacture biologic drug substances for global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

These materials are used in the creation of products to treat cancer, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, arthritis and other serious illnesses.

Scott Brison, the secretary of the Treasury Board and MP for Kings-Hants, announced the $5 million loan.

Brison said BioVectra’s three other facilities, located in Charlottetown, where the company is based, are already at maximum capacity.

Oliver Technow, president of BioVectra, said the products they’ll produce from the Windsor facility will be highly sought after in the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

“We consider this kind of our first step at this facility in Windsor,” Technow said. “This speaks to the immediate needs of our clients in the global marketspace, but also from a long-term perspective, we continue to explore opportunities to build on what we create here and grow.”

When asked why BioVectra expanded its operations in Windsor, rather than in P.E.I. or at another location, Technow said it was partly about accessing a wider pool of talent from Nova Scotia.

“I hope that Nova Scotia can turn into the powerhouse in bioscience and healthcare that (I know) it can,” Technow said.

Heather Delage, general manager of the Windsor site, said there are currently 25 employees working there, with staffing levels expected to climb to more than 40 by the end of 2018.

She said staff numbers could reach or go beyond 60 before 2020, depending on upgrade timelines and market conditions.

The company currently employs approximately 300 people in Atlantic Canada.

Delage said most positions will require highly skilled and highly educated staff with a bioscience, biochemistry background.

“Down the line there are additional rooms and spaces in this footprint that would allow us to look at adding alternative scales of process equipment or additional process development,” Delage said. “We do have additional, adjacent land that we could use if we were required to expand our footprint.”

-The Hants Journal

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