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API grows pharma manufacturing capacity

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) has passed an important milestone in securing the Edmonton Metropolitan Region’s place as a global player in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.

The Drug Development and Innovation Centre facility has received a notice of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance for a Drug Establishment Licence (DEL) following an audit by Health Canada. GMP certification is an important international manufacturing standard that is required to be able to produce pharmaceuticals that can be sold internationally. This news will dramatically enhance the region’s ability to attract investment into pharmaceutical manufacturing.

“This is a huge step forward for API’s efforts to develop security of supply manufacturing and support innovators in the commercial market.” says Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation CEO, Andrew MacIsaac, “Over the past 9 months we’ve been working around the clock to bolster our capacity to meet needs related to COVID-19 and we’ve now passed this significant milestone.”

While API’s facilities were previously appropriate for clinical trials, a DEL will enable the organization to work with products that are on the market – a critical licensing step in the efforts of API to establish production of Propofol and other drugs.

Propofol in particular, has seen a lot of shortages during the pandemic, and is a critical drug in the treatment of patients requiring the use of a ventilator.

“We’ve now got everything in hand to expedite the launch the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is home to a large concentration of chemical companies, world-class expertise, accessible health datasets from 4.5 million people and a university that is ranked 3rd globally in AI research,” says Andrew. “We’re well positioned to be an emerging hub for pharmaceutical R&D of products from our planned facility once it is funded.”

Chemical companies in the region such as Gilead and Rane Pharmaceutical, already manufacture smaller batches of drugs that are used in clinical trials. They also produce a lot of the ingredients needed for GMP certified facilities. Gilead’s Edmonton facility has been critical in producing Remdesivir. By establishing a GMP facility in the region, API is helping to secure the missing link that would complete the entire supply chain of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the region.

The region already has the infrastructure needed to supply the international market. The Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is the first airport in Canada to successfully secure CEIV certification for pharmaceutical handling through the International Air Transportation Association.

“Establishing the Edmonton region as a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub makes sense for a lot of reasons,” says Lynette Tremblay, Edmonton Global’s VP of Strategy & Innovation. “The region already has a unique combination of assets including infrastructure, expertise and government support. API’s certification unlocks the potential that exists for pharmaceutical manufacturing here.”

API and Edmonton Global are working with the Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta to secure funding for a new 40,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

Petrochemical program is open for business

A new program to turn Alberta into a top global producer of petrochemicals is launching with an aggressive industry-driven strategy to spur long-term international investment and thousands of jobs to the province.  

The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP), part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, will help attract billions in petrochemical project investments and continue to diversify the province’s economy while drawing directly on our abundant reserves of natural gas. The goal is to aggressively compete with several jurisdictions across Asia, the Middle East, and those in the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, many of which also offer similar incentives for petrochemical manufacturers, to become a global destination for petrochemical investment.

“Today we’re adding another incentive to Alberta’s already world-class opportunities for petrochemical development. On top of our existing petrochemical producers and all the companies that feed in and support them, we have a multi-generational supply of natural gas, an experienced workforce, and one of the lowest tax rates in North America. By launching this program, Alberta moves towards achieving the goal of becoming one of the most attractive investment opportunities for petrochemicals in the world.”

Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity

The program is one of the key pillars of the Natural Gas Vision and Strategy, which outlined the province’s goal of becoming a top global producer of petrochemicals. According to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, there is an opportunity to grow Alberta’s petrochemical sector by more than $30 billion by 2030, resulting in more than 90,000 direct and indirect jobs over the construction and operations of new facilities, and more than $10 billion in revenue for the Government of Alberta from corporate and personal income taxes.

To encourage additional investment in the sector, Invest Alberta and Alberta international offices will be courting petrochemical companies and investors by highlighting the many benefits of investing in Alberta’s growing petrochemical industry. Alberta’s industrial associations are also doing their part, working with current members and leveraging contacts within the petrochemical industries to share the opportunities available. Hydrogen-producing facilities will also be eligible for APIP, ensuring continued interest from investors in the province’s nascent hydrogen economy.

“Diversifying our energy industry is key to ensuring Albertans will have good-paying jobs and careers to get excited about in the future. Alberta has the potential to become a major player in low-carbon hydrogen and sustainable plastics production, but we’ll only get there if we have a competitive edge over other jurisdictions. Petrochemical companies have dozens of factors to consider when choosing where to invest, and we’re putting together a winning formula to ensure Alberta is at the top of their lists.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

APIP offers a direct financial incentive on new petrochemical or fertilizer facilities, or on expansions to existing ones. High-level details include:

  • Once a project is up and running, companies that have successfully applied will receive grants worth 12 per cent of their eligible capital costs.
  • The grant will be issued in the final step in the process, ensuring that only projects already built and employing Albertans receive funds.
  • Prior to the grant, companies will need to show their project meets the program requirements by detailing the scope and expected cost of the project.
  • The application window for small projects (between $50 million and $150 million in capital costs) will be open for five years. Applications for larger projects will be open for 10 years.

“The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program is a meaningful incentive program that will strengthen Alberta’s value proposition for large-scale petrochemical investments. As Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region and a critical partner in Canada’s energy future, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is focused on capturing a potential $30 billion in new, diversified, value-add investments by 2030. As an investment attraction tool, APIP will increase our region’s competitiveness and enhance our ability to attract petrochemical investment projects that diversify Alberta’s economy.”

Mark Plamondon, executive director, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association

“Low-cost, low-carbon and abundant – Alberta’s natural gas and natural gas liquids make it a global player in industrial chemicals manufacturing. The Alberta government recognizes this potential and the Petrochemicals Incentive Program goes a long way to level the playing field with other jurisdictions competing for new investment. The opportunity for growth in this sector exists in the province and that is good news for jobs, new global-scale investment, and Alberta’s economy.”

Bob Masterson, president and CEO, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

“We have heard directly from companies that they have been looking at Alberta for greater chemistry investments, but that we are also competing with the best locations around the world. The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program helps to provide the necessary incentives to grow Alberta’s burgeoning petrochemical sector, which in turn will provide thousands of good jobs and sustainable economic growth while continuing to diversify our resource and energy sectors. I’m particularly excited that this program will incentivize hydrogen and fertilizer production. These are key growth and diversification opportunities for our province in a lower-carbon future.”

Adam Legge, president, Business Council of Alberta

“Alberta’s petrochemical industry competes globally with many other jurisdictions that are determined to bring new investment to their part of the world. This program will attract new value-added investments which will bring much-needed jobs and prosperity to the province. The Resource Diversification Council is confident that APIP will garner international attention and thanks the Government of Alberta for its collaborative approach in developing a meaningful and world-class investment attraction program.”

Denis Painchaud, executive director, Resource Diversification Council

“The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program will help bring much-needed investment to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, diversify our petrochemical sector, create jobs, and boost our economic recovery. This program is great news for our many energy producers, processors, fertilizer producers, and the construction and service companies who work closely alongside them.”

Janet M. Riopel, president and CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

Projects eligible for the program must have:

  • A minimum $50 million in capital investment
  • Consume natural gas, natural gas liquids or petrochemical intermediaries
  • Create new and permanent jobs in Alberta
  • Meet the federally set definition of a manufacturing and processing facility

There is no cap to the program, but the government will report on expected costs each fiscal year, based on applications received and projects approved.

Full details on the eligibility and requirements for projects are available on alberta.ca, where companies can also register to begin the application process.

Alberta is already among Canada’s largest hubs for petrochemicals manufacturing, and global demand for petrochemical derived products is expected to continue increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown the continued need for petrochemicals to support the development of personal protective equipment, plastic food packaging and cleansing agents. A growing petrochemical industry will continue to feed into these integral products.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.

Quick facts

  • The program was developed based on best practices in competing jurisdictions, including several American states with large petrochemical industries. The program was also refined with the input of stakeholders and interested companies.
  • Alberta has the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada at eight per cent, and compares favourably with the lowest tax rates in the United States.
  • Alberta has one of the most established petrochemical industries in Canada, with potential growth in existing centres like Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, Grande Prairie, Joffre and Medicine Hat.
  • Every day, people around the world use dozens of products that are made with petrochemicals, including:
  • Medical supplies, such as computers for X-rays and MRIs and personal protective equipment, including disposable masks and gloves
  • Polyester fabric couches, HD televisions, phones, bicycle helmets, coffee makers and computers
  • Car tires, engine hoses, gasoline, radio components and AUX cords, and car seats
  • Desks, chairs, computers, carpets, cellphones and other office supplies
  • Food packaging that keeps food fresh and safe during transport and storage
  • According to the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, Alberta’s chemicals sector, comprised predominantly of petrochemicals, was valued at $12.1 billion and employed about 58,400 people directly and indirectly in 2019.

Related information

Onetwosix Design – Finding solutions through innovation

Onetwosix founders, Brendan Gallagher & Nick Kazakoff

Onetwosix founders, Nick Kazakoff and Brendan Gallagher are both graduates of the University of Alberta’s Industrial Design program – a program that Nick refers to as a “hidden gem” in the Edmonton region. The program has developed near mythic status in the design world – with students graduating into jobs with firms like Adidas, Nike and Lego to name a few – a testament to the depth and breadth of talent that is coming out of the post-secondary institutions in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region and Onetwosix is no exception.

They’ve seen some substantial growth since they were founded in 2015 and that success is translating into recognition. Onetwosix has recently received a Designer of the Year award from Western Living Magazine. They have developed design solutions ranging from office privacy, to medical equipment, to solutions for safe covid-19 screening. If there’s a design challenge, the pair have proven they are more than capable of finding innovative ways to solve it.

Nick credits the supportive business environment that exists within the Edmonton region for a lot of their success.

“We started out with investing only $4000 and were working out of a garage,” says Nick. “We really benefitted from initiatives like the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s Trade Accelerator Program that worked with us to bring our product to market. But on top of that, the local business community is incredible. When it came time to expand our operations and we needed more space, another well-established design firm in the area, IZM, offered to let us share some of their workspace. They could have viewed us as the competition but instead they provided us with incredible support and mentorship.”

The duo’s biggest success has come with their Loop Phone Booth, an office privacy solution made to address the drawbacks that were starting to emerge in open-concept office spaces. The pair’s modern take on phone booths has generated a lot of interest, translating into orders from big name companies like Shopify, Mercedes Benz and even Pokemon.

The Loop Phone Booth

“The reception to our designs has been incredible,” says Nick. “And working with these companies has been amazing.”

When it came to the decision of where to manufacture their designs, Nick says the decision was pretty simple.

“The Edmonton region has such a strong background when it comes to expertise in manufacturing, it made sense to build our product here,” points out Nick. “The capabilities here are really sophisticated. And while traditionally, a lot of the manufacturing that’s been happening here has been in the energy sector, those same tools, knowledge and skillsets are completely translatable for our industry.”

This decision to establish their manufacturing operations in the region has also helped them in other ways. Being located in the Edmonton region meant much faster shipping times for their North American clients compared to some of their competitors and it provided a gateway into the US market.

“We’ve also benefitted from government incentives like the Canadian Export Grant,” says Nick. “This really helped us break into the US market with our office furniture solutions.”

But this innovative firm is not content to simply focus on one niche market. In fact, one of the greatest strengths of this innovative firm lies in their ability to apply their design skills to a broad range of industries.

“We’ve always approached design by thinking about the people that will be using our product. And we look for the solutions that are unique to that person and their situation – it’s truly a human-centred approach,” says Nick. 

It’s this attitude that has seen the duo successfully take on the daunting challenge of designing the housing for an MRI machine, to help make patients feel more at ease, and on the complete opposite side of the design spectrum, they’ve developed a new design for a line of curling brooms.

More recently, Onetwosix has shifted their focus again, using their unique skillsets to address some of the challenges that have emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, they’ve designed the Loop Rapid Screening Booth, a modular design that creates a safe environment for people administering COVID-19 testing, making the procedure quicker and safer and eliminating the use of some PPE equipment – which has seen a huge surge in demand throughout the pandemic.  Their design has been authorized as a Class 1 medical device for use in relation to COVID-19 by Health Canada and the pair is working hard to bring their concept to market. They are actively building partnerships with airports where rapid testing could support the air travel industry – arguably the hardest hit industry throughout the pandemic.

“A product like this has the ability to impact a broad range of industries though,” says Nick. “From airports to healthcare, to schools, to almost any businesses wanting to create a safe environment for their employees – we see the potential for our Rapid Screening Booth to have a broad impact.”

You can learn more by reaching out to the team at Onetwosix by following this link.

HOW NABATI FOODS IS CARVING OUT A SPOT IN THE PLANT-BASED FOOD MARKET

The Edmonton-based company sells cheesecakes and cheese shreds, and will soon launch a line of meat alternatives and expand into the U.S.

When Ahmad Yehya and his partner, Afaf Miri, started Nabati Foods in 2014, they set out to show consumers that it’s possible to eat mouth-watering foods and also live a healthy life.

“It’s based out of passion for whole, plant-based foods. We started out making desserts that we sold at farmers’ markets and our vision is to inspire those that value their health to indulge in clean foods … and positively impact the climate as well,” said Yehya, president of the company.

“We saw that North American culture was so different than where we came from,” Yehya explained, who is Egyptian but grew up in Saudi Arabia before moving to Canada at university age. “You can still have amazing food whether you want to consume burgers or something else by incorporating plant-based foods.”

They started with desserts as they didn’t find many whole-food alternatives and they wanted to fill that gap in the market. Their first product line was a selection of dairy-free cheesecakes, including blueberry, chocolate, tiramisu and peanut butter. Cheese alternatives followed, with their current selection including cheddar and mozzarella shreds. Soon they will be offering slices as well.

Their most popular product is the Nabati Cheeze Mozzarella Style Shreds, which they created to taste and melt exactly like dairy cheese.

The products are developed in-house and the team invests a considerable amount of time perfecting each recipe. They mostly use peas, nuts and coconut in their products.

“We start out with seeing what’s out there and what the consumer expects. Then we look at where the gaps are and try to make a product that bridges that.”

The focus is more about the process of making each product than the formulation and Yehya said they intentionally incorporated scalability into that.

As they’ve learned from each product line, they’ve improved their processes and gotten faster. While their cheesecakes took a few years to develop, their newest line was developed in a few months.

That line of meat alternatives is launching later this summer with chicken, fish and beef patties as well as ground beef.

While companies like Beyond Meat have dominated that space in recent years, Yehya isn’t worried about his company’s ability to be successful.

“We develop our products to directly compete with them and position ourselves in a way that you’re not just buying a meat alternative but you’re supporting a Canadian company that creates jobs here.

“We’re trying to come in and position our unique brand in the market by also offering products that are not necessarily addressed by the big brands. We’re creating products that stand out from the competition.”

When the idea to start Nabati Foods was born, Yehya pooled his money with his wife Afaf Miri and his father to lease and renovate a 1,700-square-foot space in Edmonton that the company’s team of six is still using as their main production facility. But Yehya said they need a space three to four times that size to support growth in Canada and the United States.

“We’re at a point where if we raise capital and resources, we can grow really quickly versus having to continue doing things ourselves and it would take much longer,” said Yehya.

Currently, their products can be ordered online and are available across Canada, mostly at Save on Foods and Sobeys/Safeway stores as well as many independents.

They’ve had to turn down opportunities because everything that’s being made is selling out and it’s been tough to keep up with demand. Looking forward, he’s working on getting Nabati Foods into five distribution centres in the United States.

“We know we can do more.”

Yehya is confident there’s nothing as unique as their products on the market and Nabati Foods will look to capitalize on that as it adds more plant-based foods down the line.

THE ALBERTA PETROCHEMICALS INCENTIVE PROGRAM WILL ENHANCE ALBERTA’S ABILITY TO ATTRACT INVESTMENT

July 9, 2020 – Fort Saskatchewan – The Government of Alberta today announced the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP), designed to attract value-add petrochemical investments and encourage continued growth in the advanced chemical manufacturing sector. 

“The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program, as announced today, will have a significant impact on enhancing the competitiveness of Alberta when attracting large scale, value-add investments, relative to other global jurisdictions,” said Mark Plamondon, Executive Director of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association. “This program, coupled with the other tremendous competitive advantages that Alberta’s Industrial Heartland has to offer, will contribute to the attraction of an expected $30 billion in new petrochemical investments by 2030.” 

With cost-advantaged natural resources, a diverse and skilled workforce, and world class infrastructure, including world-leading carbon capture and storage infrastructure, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is well-positioned to leverage the new Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program and we believe it will help attract formidable investment to our region. With more than 95% of the world’s manufactured products relying on chemistry and value-add manufacturing, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is part of a global supply chain that produces more than 70,000 products that we use every day. Alberta is a shining example of how jurisdictions can stimulate the economy and demonstrate environmental leadership by recognizing the importance of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. 

ABOUT ALBERTA’S INDUSTRIAL HEARTLAND ASSOCIATION 

The Industrial Heartland region is considered a world-class location for petrochemical, manufacturing, oil and gas investment and is also Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region. It is a powerful economic driver for Alberta and Canada and offers attractive competitive advantages in energy diversification and industrial development. 

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association is dedicated to coordinating, advocating, and promoting responsible industrial development in the Heartland region. The Association is a cooperative effort of Lamont County, Strathcona County, Sturgeon County, and the Cities of Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan. 

Media Contact: 

Tracey Hill, Manager of Communications & Community Relations 
tracey@industrialheartland.com / 780-998-7453 

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