The federal government has announced a loan of $5 million to Charlottetown pharmaceutical manufacturer BioVectra to help it expand operations, including upgrading a plant in Nova Scotia.
Treasury Board Secretary Scott Brison made the announcement Thursday in Windsor, where the facility is being renovated, creating 28 jobs in the near term. Once the plant is operational in 2020, the company expects to employ twice that number at the site.
The government made the loan through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program.
Founded in 1970 by J. Regis Duffy, then Dean of Science at the University of Prince Edward Island, BioVectra manufactures ingredients for drugmakers around the world. The company was purchased in 2013 by Questcor Pharmaceuticals of Anaheim, Calif., for $100 million, and since then has been expanding rapidly.
“As an integral part and leader within the vibrant Atlantic Canadian BioScience cluster, we consider ourselves fortunate to operate in a supportive ecosystem where substantial emphasis is placed on talent, skills and innovation,” said BioVectra President Oliver Technow in the statement. “The contribution from ACOA’s Business Development Program will enable BioVectra to continue to thrive, create highly skilled jobs in Atlantic Canada, and help solidify Canadian leadership within the very competitive global markets we participate in.”
BioVectra will use the money to complete major renovations at its Windsor facility and to purchase new equipment, all of which will help it make and sell more pharmaceutical products, said the statement. The changes to the 50,000-square-foot facility will increase the company’s capacity by about 40 percent.
A pillar of the P.E.I. life sciences community, BioVectra has more than 300 employees, and will initially add another 28 jobs in Windsor. The company’s four facilities – three in Charlottetown and one in Windsor – total about 110,000 square feet.
The company has been growing strongly. In September, it opened a new 21,000-square-foot flagship warehouse and process development suites, and in December it signed a manufacturing agreement with Boston-based Keryx Biopharmaceuticals.