A favourable political and financial environment, a talent pool, a cutting-edge research infrastructure and a geographic location that opens onto North America and Europe: Montréal offers the best conditions for success for companies in the life sciences and health technologies (LSHT) sector. 

For more information, please consult the portrait of the Montréal metropolitan area’s expertise in the life sciences & health technologies sector. 

Industry Snapshot

Portrait of the life sciences sector

The LSHT sector first brings together companies that are dedicated to health, both human and animal, and which are found in one of the seven (7) sub-sectors of innovative pharmaceuticals, medical technologies, bitotechnologies, health information technology and artificial intelligence (health IT / AI), contract research organizations (CRO), contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) and natural health products. 

The activities of actors in the Life Sciences and Health Technologies (LSHT) sector thus cover the entire value chain associated with high-value-added therapeutic and diagnostic innovations, ranging from fundamental research to the commercialization of innovative services and products. 

This includes medicationssuch as biological and biosimilar drugs—bioactive molecules, probiotic formulations, tools, as well as methods and intervention modes used for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or cure of health issues or the mitigation of their effects on well-being. Their common objective is to improve health, prevent disease, or enhance human or animal well-being. 

The three major themes in the LSHT sector.

Biopharmaceutical Sector

The biopharmaceutical sector encompasses organizations involved in the research and development of medications, from the laboratory stage to their production and packaging, including the clinical trials necessary for their approval. It includes innovative pharmaceutical organizations, contract research organizations (CROs), and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs). Additionally, it comprises organizations utilizing biotechnologies. 

Medical Technologies Sector

The medical technologies sector encompasses organizations involved in the research and development of hardware or digital technologies aimed at therapeutic purposes, optimizing care pathways, or enhancing well-being. Digital health organizations are included in this sector, such as those utilizing artificial intelligence for data processing related to the life sciences and health sector. 

Natural Health Products Sector

The natural health products sector encompasses organizations involved in the research and development of natural health products, from the laboratory stage to their production and packaging. Natural health products include, among others, vitamin and mineral supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, and probiotics. 

The Life Sciences and Health Technologies (LSHT) Sector: A Major Contributor to Quebec's Economy

The sector’s contribution to Quebec’s GDP was estimated at $6.5 billion in 2020, with $4.6 billion coming directly from organizations active in the LSHT sector and $1.9 billion resulting from their purchases of goods and services from suppliers. The sector directly accounts for more than 1% of the region’s total GDP, highlighting its importance to Quebec’s economy! 

The sector has been a direct contributor to Quebec’s economy for many years. 

The three main sub-sectors of LSHT are represented in the Quebec industry

  • Biopharmaceutical Sector
  • Medical Technologies Sector
  • Natural Health Products Sector

Excluding healthcare ICT companies, Montreal hosts 74% of the sector’s enterprises! 

The Quebec LSHT sector is characterized by a network of small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Compared to 20 other major LSHT hubs in North America, Quebec ranks 10th for the number of LSHT establishments per million inhabitants in the active population. 

These establishments are also active internationally, as Quebec ranks as the 7th jurisdiction with the highest manufacturing exports (subsectors of pharmaceutical and medicinal product manufacturing and manufacturing of medical supplies and materials) out of 21 North American jurisdictions. 67% of exports were attributed to pharmaceutical and medicinal product manufacturing companies. 

Quebec boasts an attractive and competitive business environment.

Quebec is a prime location to start or establish a business in this sector: 

Quebec ranks 5th compared to 20 other LSHT hubs in North America in terms of performance and attractiveness.  

Niche of excellence

The Montreal LSHT ecosystem benefits from a concentration of centers of excellence where scientific and industrial partnerships are intensified. The rapid emergence of health technologies, personalized medicine, and genomics also acts as a catalyst for innovation in industries. Greater Montreal serves as a talent incubator where a critical mass of entrepreneurs, researchers, and investors converge to develop the treatments and technologies of tomorrow. 

Several themes stand out in Montreal as centers of excellence: 



IND1: KPMG for Montreal InVivo (2023) Economic Value of the Quebec LSHT Innovation Chain 

IND2: KPMG for Montreal InVivo (2024) Performance and Attractiveness Indicators of the LSHT Sector 


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