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Industry Leadership

Life Sciences

Improving Global Health, one Breakthrough at a Time

Innovative lifesaving treatment protocols, pharmaceutical drug therapies and medical devices developed here contribute to Canada’s place as a world leader in health sciences. From creating the world’s first pacemaker to discovering stem cells used in lifesaving therapies, to combatting some of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, Canadian researchers forge a path toward a healthier world. Canada’s leadership in digital technology and robotics, is helping to change patient care through future-focused advancements in everything from medtech to medical manufacturing.

The world’s second-highest number of bio-tech companies are concentrated in Canada. The 10th largest market for pharmaceutical sales, it is Canada’s infrastructure, talent and ready access to key markets that helps draw the world’s largest Life Sciences companies here including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Gilead, Novartis, Johnson-Johnson and others conducting research, running clinical trials and manufacturing new drugs here. Canada is home to North America’s second largest life science corridor.  With hot spots for cancer research, radiation therapies, regenerative treatments, brain and vascular health from coast to coast, multinational organizations recognize that life-changing advancements in patient care are happening here.

Canada’s Key Life Sciences Centres

Life Science Map

Learn more about Canada’s Life Sciences sector

Economic Impact of Life Sciences in Canada


$15.5 Billion Annual Revenue: Pharma


$918.2 Million Total R&D by Patentees


4,258 Life Sciences & BioPharma Businesses

Life Sciences Centres of Excellence

Innovate Canada

In 2019, Innovate Canada was hosted in Toronto and featured Canada’s leading centres of excellence in Life Sciences. Download our case study to learn how this signature event helped attract international investment to Canada. 

Canadian Success Stories

U of SThe University of Saskatchewanʼs Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization–International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) was the first to develop a swine model for the study of Zika virus infection.


U of ARobert Burrell, a University of Alberta engineering professor, invented Acticoat, a nanotech silver-coated wound dressing that creates an optimal antimicrobial environment and is remarkably effective with burn patients.


ShireDuring the 1980s, McGill University grad and renowned chemist Dr. Bernard Belleau discovered an anti-AIDS molecule that ultimately led to the commercialization of 3TC with Montréal company Biochem Pharma. Today, 3TC is included in most HIV drug treatments.



Toronto-based eSight has created the only clinically validated electronic eyeglasses that restore functional sight to the visually impaired.



AbbottAbbott Point of Care has pioneered portable handheld technology for rapid blood analysis. A boon in multiple scenarios—emergency care, operating rooms, hospital bedside or physician office—the i-STAT System delivers lab-quality results within minutes.


ChelationChelation Partners, Halifax, is testing a new chemical compound that acts like a magnet to break down the defences of antibiotic-resistant superbugs by depriving them of iron. With the help of researchers at Dalhousie and Cape Breton Universities, the iron-binding polymer, named DIBI, is now in clinical trials.


The team at Destination Canada Business Events helps global organizations meet with purpose in Canada. Contact our team for:

  • Specific information regarding Canada's sector expertise
  • Recommendations on destinations based on their sector strengths
  • Introductions to industry leaders, academia, and economic development agencies
  • Recommendations of expert speakers to augment events
  • Assistance in sourcing RFPs for conference placement