The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Life sciences: 2 historic discoveries made in Montréal

Montréal is one of the most active cities in life sciences and health technology (LSHT) because of its strong ecosystem and diversified business environment. The sector injects $5.6 billion annually into the Quebec economy, and its innovative businesses employ over 40,000 Montrealers (2014).

In addition to generating wealth, the Greater Montréal LSHT industry contributes to global advances in health. We have a prestigious history in medical innovation, and here are two outstanding discoveries that are sources of pride for Montréal:

Antiviral treatment for HIV

A graduate of McGill University, internationally renowned chemist Dr. Bernard Belleau discovered an anti-AIDS molecule that led to the commercialization of 3TC, with the Montréal company Biochem Pharma. His discovery, presented in Montréal at the fifth International AIDS Conference (1989), piqued the interest of scientists the world over. 3TC is now included in most tritherapy drug mixes to treat people infected with HIV.

Oral treatment of asthma

Also a McGill graduate, Dr. Robert Zambon is considered the main innovator behind SINGULAIR, a treatment for asthma developed in the Montréal laboratories of Merck Frosst. SINGULAIR benefits over 1.8 million Canadians suffering from asthma. The treatment is approved in 79 countries because of its exceptional efficacy.

These two medical advances are examples of the many discoveries that demonstrate Montréal’s LSHT know-how. LSHT has made a major contribution to our city’s prosperity and reputation. This is why the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal is organizing a Strategic Forum on Life Sciences, taking place November 7. This half-day of sessions will bring together decision makers, experts and corporate executives to look at Montréal’s strategic positioning and opportunities in this key sector.

Attend the Strategic Forum to learn more and make contacts with key players in this sector. Don’t miss the chance to hear Dominique Anglade, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy, who will be one of the speakers.


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