In times like these, hope is more important than ever. That’s why we are working together with governments, research institutions and life sciences organizations to provide hope to Canadians through the discovery of new medicines and vaccines.

What it takes to deliver innovative medicines

$2.6 Billion per drug Developing innovative medicines and vaccines is expensive. Our members invest billions in research and development each year.
10 to 15 Years It doesn’t happen overnight. From discovery through clinical trials and manufacturing, it often takes more than a decade for a drug to reach patients.
10,000 Compounds Of the 5,000–10,000 compounds that are screened, only 5 will make it to clinical trials. If the trials don’t show promise, researchers go back to the drawing board.
24/7 Collaboration Pharmaceutical companies and global researchers are collaborating around the clock to find new treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

An era of unprecedented collaboration

COVID-19 is a global crisis unlike any we have encountered before. We know we can overcome it – as we have other major health challenges – but it will take courage, cooperation and every one of us rolling up our sleeves to get the job done. Here’s how pharmaceutical companies in Canada are collaborating like never before to help fight COVID-19.

Sharing knowledge and resources within the industry

While our members often compete for new breakthroughs, they are now collaborating with each other like never before. For example, several member companies opened their libraries of molecular compounds to share with the global scientific community to spur the development of vaccines and treatments for the virus through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations’ COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.

Working with policymakers to accelerate COVID-19 response

Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical companies are collaborating with government and regulatory bodies to ensure rapid development of solutions. For example, Roche is currently working with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial public labs to align on a strategy for available COVID-19 testing solutions to help reduce the level of pandemic impact according to the needs of various jurisdictions.

Partnering with research institutions to explore all options

Our members are partnering with research institutions to help rapidly explore all potential vaccines and treatments. For example, AstraZeneca announced a landmark agreement to collaborate with the University of Oxford on the development and distribution of Oxford’s potential vaccine (AZD1222) — agreeing to supply 1.7 billion doses and to distribute them around the world at the same time at no profit.

Committing resources to ongoing testing and treatment

In addition to searching for a vaccine, Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical companies are working to help test those who may have been exposed and treat those who have already contracted the virus. For example, BioVectra is manufacturing critical raw materials for COVID-19 diagnostic testing kits while collaborating with multiple Canadian biopharmaceutical companies and researchers on COVID-19 therapeutic products.

A hundred years of hard work

Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical companies have never shied away from hard work. While COVID-19 is the latest focus, the industry has positively contributed to the health and well-being of Canadians for over a century.


Discovery of insulin

Banting and Best prove insulin is the hormone involved in glucose metabolism, leading to a means of treating diabetes.


Polio vaccine

Canadian research, methods and innovation are critical to the development and mass production of the Salk polio vaccine.


Smallpox vaccine

Connaught Laboratories’ freeze-dried smallpox vaccine becomes the standard for global smallpox eradication program.


Macular degeneration treatment

Quadra Logic Technology develops photodynamic drug Visudyne™ to treat age-related macular degeneration worldwide.


HIV prevention vaccine

Dr. Chil-Yong Kang and his researcher team at the University of Western Ontario develop a preventive vaccine for HIV.


Cancer stem cell targeting

Dr. John Dick and Princess Margaret Hospital team use a small-molecule inhibitor to block the BMI-1 pathway and halt cancer growth.

Stories of innovation and hope

© Anthony De Luca

@ 2020 Globe and Mail

© 2018 National Post

© 2019 Biovectra

Innovative Medicines Canada

Innovative Medicines Canada is a national association representing 42 innovative pharmaceutical companies – from small Canadian start-ups to established global organizations – that discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines and vaccines. Our vision is to help all Canadians live longer, healthier lives.

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A commitment to ethics

Mutual trust is key to collaboration. Innovative Medicines Canada and its members have set a high standard for ethical, transparent and open practices that respect the relationships between our member company employees, the life sciences sector, healthcare professionals and the Canadian public.

Learn about our Code of Ethical Practices

Focused on the pandemic

The innovative pharmaceutical industry is dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of life-saving medicines and treatments. Our members are working around the clock with industry, government, research and healthcare stakeholders to help treat and eradicate COVID-19.

Visit our COVID-19 resource centre