Moderna co-founder says Canada needs focused funds to grow domestic biotech

The Canadian co-founder of biotech firm Moderna says any federal plans to kick-start domestic innovation in a big way should focus funds rather than spreading it around the country.

Derrick Rossi says Canadian politicians have a track record of trying to be equitable with their funding pledges to hit every region of the country.

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There is a political calculation behind that, he suggests, but setting the country up for long-run growth — especially in biotech — will require putting money behind the best bets and regions for growth of new firms.

The Liberals promised during the campaign to put federal dollars into “moon shot” ideas that may not always work out, modelling it on a decades-old program in the United States.

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Rossi says the success of the government’s proposals rests on putting granting decisions into the hands of an apolitical body that has some independence from the mandate of the party in power.

Rossi took part in a virtual talk today at a conference organized by the Coalition for a Better Future, a group of 100 think tanks, business, non-profit and Indigenous associations.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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