The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

The pharmaceutical industry: an innovation centre for Montréal

(left to right): Michel Leblanc, President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal; Frédéric Fasano, CEO, Servier Canada; Jennifer Chan, Vice-President, Policy and External Affairs, Merck Canada; Frédéric Lavoie, Vice-President, Access and Government Relations, Pfizer Canada.

On April 12, the Chamber played host to three senior executives from major pharmaceutical companies in Montréal: Merck Canada, Pfizer Canada and Servier Canada. Before an audience of close to 300 business leaders, they discussed the city’s huge potential to carve out a leading place for itself on the world market and take advantage of future industry trends.

Montréal is already one of North America’s leading centres in life sciences and health technology (LSHT). The pharmaceutical sector is particularly strong here, and a number of important discoveries have been made in the city. Here are two drivers the three experts believe have the potential to take the industry even farther.

Promote open data to speed up advances

Strategic talent working in the city’s research centres and two mega-hospitals is an asset that attracts investment and partnerships from around the world. Yet to foster the discovery of new treatments, experts need to be able to analyze and share patient data in real time. To do this, we need to have open, anonymous data and integrate digital technology into the health care system.

Streamline the approval process for new treatments

To remain at the leading edge, Montréal’s pharmaceutical companies have reinvented their business model and are leveraging partnerships with research hubs. This creates a unique ecosystem in which companies of all sizes work with renowned institutions to speed up innovation. This value chain drives the city’s economy and is behind tomorrow’s treatments. But for patients to reap all the benefits, we need to speed up the approval and commercialization process for new medications in Québec.

The Chamber actively supports innovation in the LSHT sector and its integration to the health care system. We drew attention to this issue in an opinion piece that appeared in La Presse+ in March. Good news: the message was received by the Government of Québec, which in its latest budget announced the creation of an office for innovation in health care. This is a step in the right direction to ensuring local LSHT expertise and know-how benefit us all.

The Chamber has developed an overview of the life sciences sector in Québec and in Greater Montréal. For the highlights, click here (in French only).

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