Montréal: An innovative leader in the pharmaceutical sector

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Montréal: An innovative leader in the pharmaceutical sector

Guy-Joffroy Lord, Director of Business Sales at Tourisme Montréal, explores the role of the pharmaceutical sector in Montréal’s dynamic life sciences and health technology (LSHT) ecosystem.


The life sciences and health technology (LSHT) sector is thriving in the Greater Montréal area, with 56,000 industry jobs in over 600 organiaations and 10,000 students graduating yearly from health-related programmes.

Many top researchers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, neuroscience, cardiology, oncology and many other specialised fields are drawn to Montréal because they know that the talent pool and infrastructure will enable them to achieve excellence and advance research in their fields.

Montréal is also a recognised hub for innovation in research and we are first in Canada in terms of the number of research centres and amounts invested in university research. The support of a strong life sciences and health technologies cluster, Montréal InVivo, has been key in this success. Montréal InVivo is comprised of more than 600 organisations, including 150 research organisations and 80 subsidiaries of foreign companies, fostering a spirit of innovation and creativity for companies working in the sector.

The pharmaceutical sector plays a major role in Montréal’s life sciences and health technology ecosystem. Our city is home to Canada’s largest concentration of major pharmaceutical company headquarters, with approximately 50 national and international biotechnology companies headquartered here.

Over 100 private companies involved in new medical technology development have also established themselves in Montréal. Organisations setting up in Greater Montréal benefit from a rich, cutting-edge research network and the ability to recruit top talent.

There are many reasons why major pharmaceutical companies and researchers choose our city. Greater Montréal offer some of the lowest operating costs in North America, close proximity to the United States and it is first in North America when it comes to the number of university students per capita.

Greater Montréal is also unique in the fact that it is one of the few places in the world where a company can conduct every phase of creation of a new drug, from basic research to marketing. The cluster provides a productive environment for every company working in life sciences and health technologies.

Most recently, companies like Delmar, a subsidiary of Italy-based Holding Fabbrica Italiana, and specialty pharmaceutical company Indivior Canada Ltd. have chosen to establish headquarters in Montréal.

In addition to the human capital in Montréal, more than CAD$10 billion have recently been invested in leading-edge infrastructures, including research centres and new hospitals, such as McGill’s MUHC, Université de Montréal’s CHUM, and the CHU Sainte-Justine pediatric hospital.

So, it’s no wonder that Montréal was selected to host prestigious events in the pharmaceutical sector, such as the International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology in 2013, the 18th ISPOR Annual International Meeting in 2014, and the International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology in 2017.

We are also looking forward to hosting the Annual Meeting of the Safety Pharmacology Society and the 7th Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress, both in 2020, as well as International Society for Pharmacoeconomics And Outcomes Research in 2021, for which some 5,000 delegates are expected.

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.

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