Canada has a vibrant life sciences industry, which is composed of companies developing and manufacturing innovative medicines, generic pharmaceuticals, and over the counter (OTC) drug products, as well as medical devices. The sector is made up of five distinct groups of companies that service different market segments and include brand-name pharmaceuticals companies, generic drug firms, biopharmaceutical small and medium sized enterprises (biopharmaceutical SMEs), contract service providers (CSPs) and medical devices firms.
There is considerable activity performed by the pharmaceutical sector in other value-added areas including wholesale, distribution, research and development and regulatory compliance. The sector plays a key role in the commercialization of science and work closely with the research community. Canadian innovators are internationally recognized for research and product development excellence in genomics, proteomics, vaccine development, medical devices, regenerative medicine (stem cells), protein engineering, immunotherapies and drug delivery systems.
In addition to the academic and scientific excellence, Canada has strength in the generation of intellectual property and in clinical development capabilities, which is demonstrated by the significant number of biopharmaceutical products in the pipeline. Canada has one of the highest number of biotechnology companies in the world, with the majority focused on human health, giving Canada a strong record of achievement in biopharmaceuticals. Canada has been rated the best country in the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations for cost-effective clinical trials and medical product testing (KPMG, Competitive Alternative 2016). Canada has been one of the leaders in the vaccine industry with global mandates, and more recently becoming one of the centres of activity for developing HIV vaccines and related technologies.