Feds Won’t Buy Tobacco Company Stake In Medicago To Release COVID Vaccines: Minister | Globalnews.ca

The federal government is not considering putting up money to help buy shares in the nation’s only maker of COVID-19 vaccines, but is “working on a solution” with Medicago’s parent company.

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The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois-Philippe Champagne, was in Japan last week, presenting Canada as a good place for the production of electric vehicles and the batteries that power them.

While meeting with the presidents of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma and Mitsubishi Chemical, which owns a 79 percent stake in Medicago, Champagne says there were discussions about the company’s future as a global vaccine maker.

Its biopharmaceutical vaccine has been rejected by the WHO because tobacco company Philip Morris is a minority shareholder and the UN agency has a strict policy on engagement with the tobacco industry.

Read more:

WHO rejects Medicago’s COVID-19 vaccine over ties to tobacco giant

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Health Canada licensed the Covifenz vaccine in February for adults ages 18 to 64, and the federal government has signed a contract to buy up to 76 million doses with plans to donate vaccine to low-income countries.

But donations are not allowed without WHO approval.

Champagne says the government is working with the company to make Medicago “a world leader when it comes to global health.”

But that doesn’t include buying shares right now.

“What we’ve been looking at with respect to Medicago, as we’ve seen, we’ve already invested to strengthen their (research and development) capacity, their manufacturing capacity,” Champagne said.

“We will see what it takes to make Medicago a world champion.”

Click to play video: 'Health Canada approves Medicago, the first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine'

Health Canada approves Medicago, the first homemade vaccine against COVID-19

Health Canada Approves Medicago, the First Homegrown COVID-19 Vaccine – February 24, 2022

Mitsubishi has approached the Quebec government for support so that Medicago’s vaccines “can receive a favorable reception from the WHO and be commercialized on a large scale,” according to an entry in the Quebec Lobbyists Registry.

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“The nature, form and amount of the financing are unknown,” the company states in the registry.

Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said in June that he had been in talks with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma executives to resolve the impasse, but that the Japanese company must first negotiate the purchase of the Philip Morris stake.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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