Raidah Fairooz:-The CEO of Calgary-based Providence Therapeutics, Brad Sorenson stated he is tired of the “runaround” from the federal and provincial governments and is ready to take the company out of Canada and take his product somewhere else after a lot of calls asking for substantial support from the federal government went unanswered. He is now working alongside the company’s board of directors to help him move his operations elsewhere that aims at establishing a vaccine for people living in the southern hemisphere. “I’m moving on, that’s where I’m at now. I’ve prostrated myself at the altar of government in Canada for a year and I’ve received nothing for it. I’m tired of begging and pleading,” Sorenson said. “I can’t tell you how much this pains me. The reality is, I can do more good for the world outside of Canada than I can in.”
This decision is a regress for the federal government’s efforts to nourish a domestic biotechnology industry. If there is anything the COVID-19 crisis highlighted, it is now being totally dependent on foreign resources for crucial products, like vaccines put Canada in a susceptible position
Last year the small Canadian farm, which operated its product with researchers at the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto, requested the federal government for a loan in order to help inaugurate clinical trials in humans and stand-up manufacturing sites in Canada. Unfortunately, those requests were hugely disregarded on purpose, as the government constructed a vaccine task force to help it make funding decisions. “I never asked for a single handout. All I’ve asked for is a deposit on vaccines or a non-interest loan,” Sorenson said
Sorenson finally was able to gain some attention from the media by giving a number of interviews and was finally funded up to $5 million dollars by the National Research Council (NRC), a government-run agency to help start the first stage of clinical trials, which started in January. However, as a small privately-owned company, providence required more money to produce its product as it had very little access to large groups of capital. Furthermore, Sorenson wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February, requesting a $150 million cash fund to help bring the shot to the market, but unfortunately, he never heard back. “I handed the government of Canada the football on the one-yard line and all they had to do was punch it across and they took it and ran in the other direction,” said Sorenson.