UBC Faculty of Medicine researchers receive federal support to advance mRNA vaccine technologies

Research Excellence | Strategy 9: Knowledge Exchange
Theme: Innovation
Dr. Leonard Foster (right) shows federal Minister Harjit Sajjan (centre) how his lab is working to improve the delivery technology behind mRNA vaccines.

UBC Faculty of Medicine researchers have received $11.1-million for two new projects to advance mRNA vaccine technologies and boost the impact of B.C. biotechnology on the global stage. The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister for International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced the funding through PacifiCan for the projects to enhance the delivery and efficacy of mRNA vaccines.

“PacifiCan is committed to supporting British Columbia’s life sciences sector and these projects at the University of British Columbia reflect that commitment. Establishing a home-grown pipeline for mRNA vaccine research will not only save lives, but create jobs for British Columbians and position Canada as a global leader in biotechnology innovation,” says Minister Sajjan.

The two project teams will work in tandem, meeting regularly and coordinating research to maximize the value and effectiveness of both projects.

“UBC has long been a major driver of the B.C. biotech sector, but those connections and their outputs really gained international attention during the pandemic. AbCellera, Acuitas, and Precision Nanosystems, among many others, are now major players in the treatment and prevention of diseases,” says Dr. Leonard Foster, one of the project principal investigators and a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology. “This funding builds off many years of collaboration between UBC and local biotech companies and will enable us to continue developing and refining vaccines, drugs, and biologics.”

Please visit the Faculty of Medicine website to read the full story.

Through Strategy 9: Knowledge Exchange, UBC is committed to improving the university ecosystem and supporting the translation of research into action.