Sector Highlight:

Pharmaceuticals & Vaccines

The people of Halifax tend to live healthy lifestyles. Our historic city is very walkable and is surrounded by endless leisure activities offered by both the sea and the land. But when prevention fails, Haligonians know that their health is in excellent hands.

A healthy population starts with a healthy approach to new medicines.

The culture of Halifax is defined by conviviality and working together. A shared plate of nachos in the pub; a day hiking with friends; and when it comes to our efforts in pharmaceuticals, productive collaboration at all levels.

Halifax’s globally-recognized accomplishments in pharmaceuticals and vaccines can be explained by the way our hospitals, universities, private enterprise, and government all work closely together to maximize investment and achievement. The Canadian Center for Vaccinology is just one such example. A collaboration of Dalhousie University, the IWK Health Centre, and Nova Scotia Health Authority, the Center is developing, implementing, and evaluating vaccine technologies for infectious diseases and training new experts in these critical and evolving fields.

From vaccines for various cancer treatments to a new class of anti-infectives, to topical treatments for pain, to rapid COVID-19 testing, Halifax is always working on the forefront of drug discovery and development. 

Most recently, Dr. Joanne Langley, professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University and Head of Infectious Diseases at the IWK Health Centre, has been named co-lead of the task force leading the Canadian COVID-19 vaccine strategy. Dr. Langley is Dalhousie University’s CIHR-GSK Chair in Pediatric Vaccinology. It is the only chair of its kind in the country.


DID YOU KNOW:  Three Halifax pharma companies—Immunovaccine, Appili Therapeutics, and ABK Biomedical—have raised over $70 million since 2016.


Halifax is a national hub for pharmaceutical research.

As the population and innovation centre for Eastern Canada, Halifax is home to the hospitals, universities, and companies that make life-changing discoveries in drugs and vaccines. A few of the organizations making advancements in this sector include:

BioNova - leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotias growing health and life sciences sector.

Dalhousie University Medical School - a world-renowned university, with areas of research including cardiovascular, immunology, infectious diseases, and neurology.

Life Sciences Research Institute - a $70-million facility where scientists, students and entrepreneurs work together to improve the quality of health of Canadians.

The IWK Health Centre - engaged in leading-edge research into disorders and diseases affecting children, women, and youth.

QEII Health Sciences Centre - the largest adult academic health sciences centre in Atlantic Canada.


DID YOU KNOW:  The city has export-focused partnerships with numerous multinational biotechnology giants including Pfizer, Merck Canada Ltd, Abbott Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson.


For innovative drug and vaccine companies, Halifax is where the action is.

IMV Inc.
A clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of cancer immunotherapies and vaccines to treat infectious diseases including COVID-19.

A clinical-stage immuno-oncology company that addressing some of the most complex, devastating diseases in todays medical landscape.

Appili Therapeutics
Matches novel drug development programs with clearly defined patient needs in infectious disease, including a new pharmaceutical to treat antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.

Sona Nanotech
Developer of a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 that provides qualitative results in 15 minutes, designed for use by people in high-risk gatherings.

Solid State Pharma
A solid-state and crystallization engineering company that’s a recognized global leader in the delivery of crystallization engineering services for the pharmaceutical industry.

In Halifax, we foster pharmaceutical innovation with investment.

The pharma and vaccine industry in Halifax benefits from the Healthcare Venture Fund, which invests in innovative companies that improve healthcare productivity; Genome Atlantic, which provides up to 50% of project funding through research competitions; and the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program. These are in addition to many other incentives like the Nova Scotia Payroll Rebate, Atlantic Innovation Fund, Industrial Research Assistance Program, Innovation Equity Tax Credit, and more.

Contact Discover Halifax to learn more!

Ready to learn more, or to start planning your event in Halifax?  Contact our sector expert today.

Paul Bailey (he/him)
Sales & Marketing Director - Group Sales (Life Sciences)
Phone: 1.902.334.1846 (Atlantic Time Zone)
Office/Mail: 1809 Barrington Street, Suite 1004, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 3K8