Laval bio-science companies involved in COVID-19 research

Cité de la Biotech is home to more than a dozen biotech firms

Martin C. Barry

While research is underway all over the world to find treatments and an eventual vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19, the City of Laval is pointing out that more than a dozen companies located on its territory are actively involved in the global scientific efforts.

“In these difficult times, each of us is called upon to contribute in all ways possible to facing the challenges posed by the pandemic,” said City of Laval executive-committee vice-president Stéphane Boyer who is responsible for economic development dossiers.

A biotech leader

“Laval has been known as a leader in biotechnology for years. Today more than ever, our scientists and entrepreneurs are exceeding themselves in research towards innovative and concrete solutions for safeguarding the health of people from here and elsewhere.”

In all, according to the city, there are 13 businesses located in Laval’s Cité de la Biotech scientific industrial park that stand to make contributions to the research towards eventually finding a solution to COVID-19.

Range of companies

The companies range from long-established multinationals, to much more recent “start-ups.” In the latter category, some are just getting underway under the roof of Laval’s bio-science business “incubator” – the Centre québécois d’innovation en biotechnologie (CQIB).

“We are especially proud that six businesses from our incubator are involved in the struggle against COVID-19,” said CQIB executive-director Perry Niro. “And this thanks to support from the CQIB and the commitment of its employees.”

The research firms

Here is a summary of the 13 bio-science businesses located in Laval that are working on COVID-19-related research:

Seen here from an eagle’s-eye point of view, the City of Laval’s Cité de la Biotech is home to more than a dozen science and research companies doing active work towards finding treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19.

Nexelis is a highly-regarded laboratory with projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to the city, the company is currently working collaboratively on anti-viral vaccines and treatments.

Corealis Pharma produces oral formulations for antivirals in anticipation of clinical trials for various clients located internationally.

On the cutting edge

Altasciences is pursuing research on behalf of Swiss-based Roivant Sciences (a company founded by U.S. bio-sciences venture entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy). The research is on Gimsilumab, a COVID-19 treatment, which could prevent or slow development of the disease’s severe acute respiratory syndrome. Phase 1 of a clinical study has been completed.

Biodextris has been developing an exclusive technology under license from GlaxoSmithKline for the administration of a nasal vaccine that has shown promise against the coronavirus in pre-clinical trials.

Doing their part

Roche Diagnostics is furnishings scientific instruments and tests for tracking the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Bausch Health (until recent years the most valuable company in Canada) is offering medications as well as other health-related products to international organizations as its contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

‘Laval has been known as a leader in biotechnology for years,’ says executive-committee v.p. Stéphane Boyer

Servier Canada is donating 100,000 facial masks to health professionals at the front line, in conjunction with Innovative Medicines Canada.

ILS Pharma will soon be offering a quick test for detecting the presence of the COVID-19 virus.

A cure for COVID-19

Ovensa is working on medications designed to slow viral infections as well as pulmonary lesions caused by hypoxy (lack of oxygen in tissues), a possible complication from COVID-19.

Oligo Medic and Smart Medicines GMP have adapted their production systems to make disinfectant gel.

Glycovax Pharma is developing technology for inhibitors against the adhesion of bacterias and viruses. And Inixium has decided to orient its research onto molecules that could inhibit viral replication.

Martin C. Barry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for the Laval News,