Québec City’s life sciences industry: The picture of amazing health!


Québec City’s life sciences industry is, without a doubt, one of the most booming sectors in the region. With over 150 companies generating nearly $1.3 billion in sales and 85 research chairs, centres and institutes, Québec City is brimming with expertise and a tremendous amount of potential for the future in biopharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technologies, eHealth technologies, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals.

Carl Viel, Québec International
Québec International

What makes Québec City such a hotbed for innovation?

“Québec City has truly made its mark in the world’s life sciences industry thanks to several key factors,” explained Carl Viel, President and CEO of Québec International, a leading economic development agency that contributes to Québec City’s economic development and international recognition.

For one, the city is focused on health research. Université Laval is one of the top ten research universities in Canada and, along with the burgeoning number of research chairs, partner chairs, research centers and institutes, over $357 million has been awarded in grants and contracts in the past three years alone.

Indeed, Québec City has several core strengths—both on the research and private sector side—pertaining to a wide variety of health-related issues, including vaccines, infectiology, development of new medications, clinical research, diagnostic tools, telehealth and artificial intelligence, functional foods, cardiology, pneumology, oncology, neuroscience, tissue engineering and much much more. “Our life science industry is very diverse and recognized the world over,” Mr. Viel said.

Complementing Québec City’s dedication to university research is Alliance santé Québec, an initiative that brings leaders from the Québec City region, including university faculties, healthcare institutions, stakeholders from the business community, and economic development agents, to further innovate in delivering stainable healthcare. “Alliance santé Québec symbolizes the amazing synergy between different fields of expertise to take healthcare to a whole new level—to the benefit of citizens everywhere.” Mr. Viel said.  

Another important reason that makes Québec City stand out is the fact that a lot of this life-changing research is actually transformed into commercial products, which means each year, new start-ups sprout in cutting-edge sectors and viable niche markets.

“Crossing the chasm from pure and applied research to marketable solutions is truly unique to Québec. We outpace other urban centres because stakeholders work together. We have implemented several means for researchers and entrepreneurs to achieve worldwide success," said Mr. Viel.

Québec City is definitely an attractive region for businesses in the life sciences sector to set up shop. For one, it is the number-one city in North America for affordable business operating costs; according to Competitive Alternatives 2016 by KPMG, it is 16.1% less expensive to start a business and do business in the Québec City region.  

The thriving life sciences industry in Québec City is also attributable to massive investments in the local public health system. For example, over $2 billion will be invested in a new hospital complex for the CHU de Québec, the largest university hospital in the province of Québec. $42 million has been granted to the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec (IUCPQ) ─ Université Laval, an internationally renowned educational institution.

In terms of the private sector, the Québec City region also benefits from major projects, such as Médicago, which will invest $331million in building a new vaccine production plant, and Endoceutics, which is about to build a brand-new factory to commercialize its new medication.

Mr. Viel said: “Significant investments like these are paramount to advancing health research and supporting Québec-based experts and professionals in the life sciences sector. The data gleaned from the public health sector is vital to improving patient care, providing better and more personalized healthcare, and developing innovative products and services.”

As a testament to its flourishing life sciences sector, Québec City has, for the past 11 years, hosted the Québec City Industry Forum. This year’s edition will be held on December 5 and 6, 2017 at the Hilton Québec. The event will welcome 400 delegates to discuss innovations in health sciences and healthcare technologies as well as their impact on the healthcare system. Featuring a wide variety of plenary sessions, case studies, expert talks and workshops, Mr. Viel explained it is a must-attend event.

“I think that the secret ingredient of Québec City’s life sciences and healthcare technology industry is thanks in great part to quality research and innovation matched with ambitious entrepreneurs who can take that innovative research and expertise—and make both available to people around the world to improve their daily lives,” Mr. Viel concluded. 

Québec International

The mission of Québec International is to contribute to economic development in the Québec City metropolitan region and enhance its international status. As a regional economic development agency, Québec International fosters business growth and development, supports key clusters and attracts talent and investment to the region.

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