Conference & Meetings World Supplements Canada Supplement - Page 8

Québec Boom time for Life Sciences in Québec City Q uébec City’s Life Sciences industry is one of the most booming sectors in the region. With over 150 companies generating nearly CAD$1.3bn in sales and 85 research chairs, centres and institutes, Québec City is not short of expertise and potential for the future in biopharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technologies, eHealth technologies, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals. So, what makes Québec City such a hotbed for innovation? President and CEO of Québec International, an economic development agency, Carl Viel, says health research is a key factor explaining how Québec City has made its mark in the world’s Life Sciences. Its Université Laval, Viel notes, is one of the top 10 research universities in Canada. “Along with the burgeoning number of research chairs and centres and institutes, over CAD$357m has been awarded in grants and contracts in the past three years alone,” Viel says. Professors, researchers and students in the city are conducting some “ahead-of-the-curve, high- quality studies,” Viel explains. Québec City’s core strengths – both on the research and private sector side – are broad, including vaccines, infectiology, 8 CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD development of medications, clinical research, diagnostic tools, telehealth and AI, functional foods, cardiology, pneumology, oncology, neuroscience and tissue engineering. Complementing the city’s university research talent is Alliance santé Québec, an initiative uniting leaders from the region, including university faculties, healthcare institutions, stakeholders from the business community, and economic development agents, to innovate in delivering sustainable healthcare. Viel believes Québec City stands out because much of its life-changing research is transformed into commercial products, “which means each year, new start-ups sprout in cutting-edge sectors and viable niche markets,” he notes. Crossing the chasm from pure and applied research to marketable solutions is not easy and Québec City is proving it can be attractive for businesses in the Life Sciences sector to set up shop. With labour costs 34% less than in the US and energy prices among the world’s lowest, reasonably priced rents and one of the most competitive tax rates in North America, Québec has everything companies need to compete on the world stage. It is the number one city in North America for affordable business operating costs, according to Competitive Alternatives 2016 by KPMG. Evidence of the city’s thriving Life Sciences industry is provided by big investments being made in the local public health system. CAD$2bn will be invested in a new hospital complex for the CHU de Québec, the largest university hospital in the province and CAD$42m has been granted to the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec (IUCPQ) Université Laval. In terms of the private sector, Médicago is to invest CAD$331m in building a new vaccine production plant, and Endoceutics is building a new factory to commercialise its new medication. Viel continues: “Significant investments like these are paramount to advancing health research and supporting Québec- based experts and professionals in the Life Sciences sector.” Québec City has also for many years hosted the Québec City Industry Forum where up to 400 delegates annually discuss innovations in health sciences and