Unique Hands-on Training Program in Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Expanding Across Canada

Mitacs and BioCanRx build on program pioneered at The Ottawa Hospital to meet the need for highly skilled biotherapeutics manufacturing workforce

September 23, 2022

The Ottawa Hospital Biotherapeutics Manufacturing CentreCanPRIME, the Canadian Partnership for Research in Immunotherapy Manufacturing Excellence, began in 2019 as a unique training program at The Ottawa Hospital’s Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre (BMC).Mitacs, in partnership with BioCanRx, has developed CanPRIME 2.0 — a national, first-of-its-kind initiative that will enable standardized, hands-on training to work in a biomanufacturing environment. The Canadian biomanufacturing sector is growing rapidly. But despite an influx in physical capacity, the highly qualified personnel (HQP) who are instrumental to the success of these facilities are in short supply with few formal mechanisms in place to train more. CanPRIME 2.0 addresses this crucial need.

CanPRIME, the Canadian Partnership for Research in Immunotherapy Manufacturing Excellence, began in 2019 as a unique training program at The Ottawa Hospital’s Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre (BMC). It formally brought together for the first time, the complementary offerings of college (Algonquin College) and university (University of Ottawa) training, with invaluable industry expertise, guidance and funding support from the Mitacs to provide students with specific training in biomanufacturing. Since its inception, CanPRIME has successfully created a pipeline of HQP with invaluable experience and marketability for employment in the biomanufacturing sector - 100% of the program’s graduates to date, are now employed.

As the next iteration, CanPRIME 2.0 is elevating this training program nationally — consolidating the training from the inaugural program into a standardized biomanufacturing curriculum that will be implemented at each of its six training nodes across Canada including sites in Victoria, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa. CanPRIME 2.0 represents a $2.22M joint investment by BioCanRx and Mitacs that will expand access to this program for trainees and in turn, highly qualified personnel for prospective industry and academic receptors. The focus of CanPRIME 2.0 will continue to be providing real-life skills and competencies sought after by the biomanufacturing sector through an 8-month paid internship in partnership with colleges, universities, research facilities, industry and funders.

As the pandemic has shown, there is a pressing global need for capacity to manufacture biologics for clinical use. CanPRIME 2.0 will provide experienced, job-ready individuals with GMP advanced therapeutic product biomanufacturing know-how. Ensuring HQP gain this critical on-the-job skillset has never been more important to securing short, medium and long term biomanufacturing domestic capacity and anchoring biomanufacturing in Canada.


Dr. Stéphanie Michaud, President & CEO, BioCanRx:

“Biomanufacturing, and the biomanufacturing workforce, play a critically important role in the successful translation of transformative, life-saving therapies to Canadians both now and in the future. That’s why BioCanRx is proud to partner with Mitacs on extending this first-in-Canada, hands-on training program across the country to increase capacity for and access to GMP vector and cell manufacturing.”

John Hepburn, CEO, Mitacs

Mitacs is thrilled to be strengthening our partnership with BioCanRx through the development of CanPrime 2.0. Not only will this commitment provide much needed skills and training opportunities for the rapidly growing biomanufacturing industry, this elevated partnership demonstrates the important role collaboration plays—across the ecosystem—in advancing innovation.

Dr. Jennifer Quizi, Director, Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Operations, BioCanRx:

“Targeted training in biomanufacturing will greatly accelerate the job readiness of interns upon successful completion of the CanPRIME 2.0 training program. We need now, more than ever, to establish and maintain a national pipeline of highly qualified personnel to secure the long term sustainability of biomanufacturing capacity in Canada. CanPRIME, as a work-integrated learning opportunity, is critical to ensuring this.”

Reuben Benedict, past CanPRIME intern:

  • “As a student finishing their studies, preparing to enter the professional world was a daunting task. With partnerships like CanPRIME bridging the gap, those dream jobs in biomanufacturing that I’ve heard about suddenly became more real than ever.”

About Mitacs:

  • Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from the best academic institutions in the world.
  • Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.

About BioCanRx:

BioCanRx, Canada’s Immunotherapy Network, is a network of scientists, clinicians, cancer stakeholders, academic institutions, NGOs and industry partners working together to accelerate the development of leading edge immune oncology therapies for the benefit of patients. Our vision is to cure patients and enhance the quality of life of those living with cancer. BioCanRx invests in leading edge immune oncology research translating world-class technologies from the lab into early phase clinical trials. BioCanRx provides researchers with access to funding, expertise, training and manufacturing facilities and is a leader in the translation, manufacturing and adoption of cancer immunotherapies. The network is committed to training and developing the talent needed for a thriving health biotechnology sector in Canada. BioCanRx receives funding from the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence, and support from industry, the provinces, and charities.

Media contacts:

Nancy Boyle, BioCanRx, 613-402-5680 I

Adam Austen, Manager, Communications, Mitacs 514-705-8355 |