The pharmaceutical industry: At the forefront of life sciences

The very first edition of the strategic forum titled “The pharmaceutical industry: At the forefront of life sciences” was held on December 13 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, in the company of the François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation.

Montréal has the potential to consolidate its role as an international hub for life sciences and health technologies. The 20 or so stakeholders present also agreed on the importance of mobilization and collaboration to propel this flagship sector of our economy and support its growth.

Block 1 – Seizing the opportunity provided by the pandemic

“The pandemic has shown us the economic importance and scientific interest of having a strong pharmaceutical industry in Quebec.” – Michel Leblanc, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

“Thanks to our expertise, we have everything we need to position Canada as a leader in the pharmaceutical sector.” – François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Foreign investors looking at Quebec see our expertise in AI and personalized medicine. We have the attributes to be winners, and I sense a real momentum.” – Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation

Presentation: The pharma sector, a flagship LSHT industry 

“The pharmaceutical industry has never been better equipped to harness the potential of science, technology and data. It is essential to remove any barriers to the advancement and strategic positioning of Canada and Quebec.” – Pamela Fralick, President, Innovative Medicines Canada

Presentation: The situation of the LSHT industry 

“We need to address three urgent issues and focus our energies to achieve three specific outcomes: the increased need for domestic investment capital, the increased need for commercially focused research and development infrastructure, and an increased talent pool to support the industry’s growth. To address these issues, we need to develop companies, ecosystems and talent.” – Gordon C. McCauley, President and CEO, adMare BioInnovations

Presentation: Overview of the pharmaceutical sector in Montréal: A high value-added sector

“The pharmaceutical sector has developed and established itself here in Montréal thanks to researchers. We have scientific excellence and this is definitely a factor of attraction. Let’s continue to harness this.” – Frank Béraud, CEO, Montréal InVivo

Presentation: The successes of the Montréal pharmaceutical industry

“The quality of research infrastructure, world-class research, research networks, the human biological material biobank and R&D funding are Montréal’s strengths in R&D.” – Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director, Research Centre, Montreal Heart Institute; Scientific Director, Montreal Health Innovations Coordinating Centre (MHICC) and Full Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal

Panel: A new era of collaboration in the pharmaceutical ecosystem

“Our sector is very particular; developing a drug is long, expensive, complicated and risky. If we want to achieve great things, we must work together. And when we talk about working together, we’re not just talking about public-private partnerships, we’re talking about collaboration between research institutions and the companies themselves. Everyone wins in the end.” – Diane Gosselin, President and CEO, CQDM

Joint presentation – A concrete case: The new Centre of Expertise in Diabetes at the CHUM

“Being open to open collaboration is essential. To ensure transparency and ethical governance, we must rely on regular communication between stakeholders.” – Kathy Malas, Innovation and Artificial Intelligence Lead, Office of the CEO, CHUM and Associate Professor, HEC Montréal, CHUM Research Center

Block 2 – Identifying growth levers for greater Montréal’s pharmaceutical sector

Panel: Ensuring an environment conducive to the development of new pharmaceutical treatments 

“In Quebec and Canada, we are consumers and not producers of innovation. We want to be a model on the world stage and become producers. To do this, entrepreneurs must be supported and financed. We have the talent, the education, the socioeconomic stability, and the financing.” – Dr. Youssef Bennani, Managing Partner, Fund III, CTI Life Sciences Fund

Panel: Better integrating innovations into the healthcare system

“We need to put in place public policies to have faster access to innovation and to get faster coverage.” – Frédéric Alberro, Director, Quebec, Innovative Medicines Canada 

Panel: Increasing local production capacity

“The hub of the future in biotechnology has not yet been established. Canada should not be complacent about its biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy; it should not just wait for foreign investment and instead look at what we have here and how we can develop it.” – Nawel Rojkjaer, Founder and President, SmokePond Biologics

Block 3 – Making Montréal an international life sciences and health tech hub

Presentation: Innovation zones as an attraction factor

“For Montréal to become a leader in AI health innovation, it must complement its R&D performance with increased adoption, commercialization and consumption of AI solutions.” – Max Fehlmann, Director of the AI Innovation Zone for Health Project, Montréal InVivo

Presentation: The coolest hotspot – Quebec’s life sciences & health technologies

“Quebec’s life sciences and health technology sector must speak with one voice to be heard internationally.” – Jean-Marc Juteau, Commissioner, Biotech City

Panel: Leveraging our niches of excellence

“The presence of AI strengthens the possibility of the future of biopharmacy. We are already working hand in hand. The spirit of collaboration is one of our hallmarks.” – Stéphane Létourneau, Executive Vice-President, Mila

About the strategic forum “The pharmaceutical industry: At the forefront of life sciences”

The Strategic Forum on the Pharmaceutical Industry was organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and presented by adMare BioInnovations. It was produced in association with Johnson & Johnson and Innovative Medicines Canada in collaboration with the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), IRICoR, Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. and Theratechnologies, as well as in partnership with BIOQuébec, Corealis Pharma, Medicago, Montreal Gazette, the Palais des congrès de Montréal and Pfizer Canada.

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