Why is Montréal thriving in the life sciences and health technology sector?

published on January 27, 2022
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Montréal is one of North America’s leading cities for life sciences and health technology. The excellence of our institutions — such as university research departments and pharmaceutical companies — has been recognized around the world, with grants for new research and development continually flowing into the city.

But what exactly is the life sciences and health technology sector?

A quick definition

Also known simply as ‘LSHT,’ the field encompasses a variety of medical research and advancement, and it encompasses the development of physical products ranging from pills to prosthetics and many products in between. LSHT also includes therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and other products that are designed to treat or aid in the treatment of patients.

In short, LSHT is a sector that creates products for health and healing. And Montréal is proud to be part of it.

Introducing InVivo

One of the main reasons Montréal thrives in the life sciences and health technology sector is because of effective collaboration among key stakeholders. Mobilizing the industry is an organization called Montréal InVivo. The non-profit exists to strengthen and develop the local LSHT sector — locally in Montréal and across the province of Québec.

InVivo is more relevant than ever. While this sector has grown immensely over the past decade, the past two years have been critical for LSHT, especially in the media. More than ever we’ve collectively understood the importance of research and development. Manufacturing capacity (such as vaccines) and therapeutic treatments (such as ventilators) also came to the forefront of our discussions as a society.


Montréal has allure

InVivo advocates for the life sciences and health technology sector in Montréal by helping to attract top talent. The allure of the city is attributed to a variety of factors, such as eminent Montréal researchers. LSHT-focused companies have an immense talent pool to choose from, largely due to eight university-level institutions and three engineering schools.

But it’s not just the talent, it’s also the economic advantages of the city. Montréal offers the most competitive operating costs among the 20 largest cities in Canada and the United States. Many companies qualify for tax credits.

See the entrepreneurial spotlight video series that Montréal lnVivo developed, featuring LSHT successes in the region.

What exactly does Montréal manufacture?

Montréal has developed an internationally acclaimed expertise in several fields, such as oncology, neuroscience, infectious disease, medical imaging, deep learning/artificial intelligence, and more. Key industry players often collaborate to create new solutions, and here are just some of the products that are created in Montréal:

Pharmaceutical products – mainly medicines, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs. Example: antibiotics or Tylenol.

Natural health products – a term used in Canada to describe a wide variety of substances such as vitamins and minerals, herbal medicines, homeopathic preparations, probiotics, and many alternative and traditional medicines.

Biopharmaceuticals – any pharmaceutical drug product manufactured in, extracted from, or semi-synthesized from biological sources. Example: vaccines.

Medical technologies – instruments, apparatuses, or machines that are used in the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of illness or disease, or for detecting, measuring, restoring, or modifying the function of the body for some health purpose. Example: a ventilator.



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